Louisiana lawmakers load up budget with $22M in pet projects

Louisiana News

Reps. Jean-Paul Coussan, R-Lafayette, left; Stephen Dwight, R-Lake Charles, center; and Jerome “Zee” Zeringue, R-Houma, speak on the House floor on the final day of the regular legislative session on Monday, June 1, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana legislative leaders are proposing to steer $22 million in state cash to local pet projects through a list crafted behind closed doors that received little public discussion and followed no specific vetting process.

The spending plans are being considered in a special session called to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The earmarks could come up for final passage Thursday in the House and Senate.

But a first attempt to pass them ran into criticism Wednesday night from rank-and-file lawmakers in the House.

Republicans and Democrats questioned why the state was spending money on municipal sports and park facilities when its unemployment trust fund is bankrupt and borrowing federal money.

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