BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — (6/6/19) The Latest on the end of the Louisiana legislative session (all times local):
Louisiana’s latest legislative session has ended, with lawmakers completing their work on a $30 billion state operating budget, giving teachers a statewide pay raise and passing one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans.
The election-year session that ended Thursday saw fewer financial controversies than legislators faced in the other years of the four-year term. Gov. John Bel Edwards and lawmakers passed a seven-year tax compromise in 2018 that stabilized finances and ended debates over deep budget cuts.
Already signed into law from the session is a ban on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy. But it only takes effect if Mississippi’s law is upheld in federal court.
Lawmakers refused to abolish the death penalty, raise the minimum wage or legalize sports betting.
Louisiana lawmakers have approved a $30 billion state operating budget in the final minutes of their legislative session, wrapping up a plan that includes the first significant statewide teacher pay raise in a decade.
The budget for the financial year starting July 1 also will boost spending on colleges, health services, senior centers and public safety programs. The TOPS program will cover the full cost of tuition for eligible students. Foster care services will expand to cover more youth up to the age of 21.
Early learning programs will receive new dollars to cover children from birth to three years old.
K-12 public school teachers will get a $1,000 pay raise, support workers will get $500 salary increases and school districts will get new discretionary money for their operations.
Lawmakers were ready to put the finishing touches on Louisiana’s more than $30 billion budget for next year in the final hours of their legislative session.
But first, people had to reach the Capitol building.
Torrential rains flooded streets across Baton Rouge, forcing delays in starting action in the House and Senate.
The 60-day session must end by 6 p.m. Thursday.
The House and Senate were working through disagreements over small sums. But plans to boost spending on colleges, health services, foster care, senior centers and public safety programs were expected to remain intact.
The largest disagreement, over public school financing, was resolved days ago. K-12 teachers will get a $1,000 pay raise in the 2019-20 school year, and districts will get new discretionary money for their operations.