TOPS is safe, no nursing home eviction notices are in the mail, safety net hospitals are open for treatment and LSU football will field a team as lawmakers enter this year’s Legislative Session.
For the first time in four years, USA Today reports, legislators will be walking into their chambers without facing a budget crisis.
Though no major cuts to programs are expected, there will be a battle on how to spend the estimated $30 billion in revenue in next year’s budget that begins July 1. And the Revenue Estimating Conference has yet to agree on how much revenue can be allocated, leading to dueling spending proposals from Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Cameron Henry, R-Metairie.
Another issue generating rare bipartisan support—and headlines—is pay raises for teachers and school support workers. Edwards is proposing a $1,000 raise for teachers and a $500 raise for support workers with the promise to seek more money next year, although that would depend on his reelection.
Republicans generally agree on the raises, but Henry’s plan doesn’t include Edwards’ accompanying request to increase public school funding by $39 million.
The death penalty is also on deck, with more than one lawmaker filing a bill to abolish the practice in Louisiana. Read the full story for the rest of this year’s big bills.