Louisiana’s latest legislative session moves past pandemic

Louisiana Politics

FILE – In this Jan. 19, 2021 file photo, House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, left, asks questions during a meeting of Louisiana’s income forecasting panel, the Revenue Estimating Conference, while Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, listens in Baton Rouge, La. Louisiana lawmakers return Monday, April 12 to the state Capitol for their first full-length regular session since the pandemic began and with far more topics than the coronavirus on the agenda. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Legislature is opening a regular session that seems more like those of pre-pandemic times.

Debates are planned on taxes, sports betting, transgender rights and other issues far beyond the coronavirus’ aftermath.

Lawmakers will haggle over some COVID-19 topics, such as whether to curb the governor’s emergency response authority and possible bans on vaccination mandates.

They’ll also try to decide how to divvy up more than $3 billion in new federal coronavirus aid heading to Louisiana. But the agenda for the two-month gathering that begins Monday is broad.

Lawmakers who saw session plans last year disrupted by the pandemic have a long list of bills they want to debate.

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