On Tuesday at 1 p.m., instead of addressing a joint session of the legislature to launch the 2018 Second Special Legislative Session, Gov. John Bel Edwards will deliver a message titled “Our Louisiana,” from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus.
His choice of location is meant to highlight Louisiana’s public institutions of higher education, which will have their funding gutted if the state doesn’t pass a new budget during the next session.
Much of Edwards’ agenda was jettisoned during the legislative session, including his minimum wage hike and equal pay bills, a bid to block public schools from penalizing students who owe lunch money and an effort to end Louisiana’s licensing requirement for florists.
Instead, lawmakers passed a $28.5 billion state operating budget, nicknamed the “pretend budget” because it would never have been signed by the governor. The budget was crafted in the Senate that would slash spending across most agencies, cut the TOPS college tuition program by 30%, eliminate food stamps and reduce spending on colleges and public safety programs.
Edwards issued a call for the special session last week with a 30 item list goals for the special session with the goal of closing the $648 million gap in the state’s general fund. The second special session, a race to balance the budget, will start on Tuesday and wrap on June 4.