Louisiana session reaches final hours with budget unresolved

    The 30-day Louisiana special session called in the middle of the pandemic to assist businesses is going down to the wire this afternoon, with a multibillion-dollar state budget awaiting passage but millions of dollars in tax breaks largely complete.

    The House and Senate were working on a $34 billion spending plan to keep programs and services operating in the budget year that begins Wednesday. The proposal uses federal virus aid to stop deep cuts but sets Louisiana up for future financial problems if state tax collections don’t rebound from the virus outbreak.

    The special session must end by 6 p.m. 

    Also under negotiation was a proposal to shield K-12 schools and colleges from most civil lawsuits if a student or teacher contracts COVID-19. And lawmakers hadn’t reached a final agreement on the business lobby’s top priority, an effort to rework civil litigation rules to lessen the damage claims that can be awarded in car accident lawsuits.

    The special session began June 1, immediately after lawmakers adjourned a regular session shortened by the coronavirus outbreak. The majority-Republican House and Senate crafted the agenda for the special session themselves, only the second time in Louisiana history that lawmakers called themselves into session rather than letting a governor dictate the plans. Read the full story. 

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