BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — A Louisiana Legislature filled with dozens of newcomers will start an 85-day legislative session Monday, following remarks from the state’s newly re-elected governor.
Gov. John Bel Edwards addressed a joint session of the state House and Senate. His remarks outlined second-term priorities: greater investment in early childhood, K-12 and higher education, as well as efforts to slim gender wage gaps and establish a minimum wage higher than the $7.25 federal rate. To watch the full address, click on the video below.
Edwards, who defeated Republican challenger Eddie Rispone this past November, will also seek a $500 salary hike for public educators.
Legislators are lodging their own hopes, drafting more than 1,100 bills. Republican lawmakers will present bills to limit damages awarded in car crash lawsuits, claiming such measures could help lower car insurance rates statewide. Democrats will suggest laws preventing insurers from calculating gender, age and marital status into premiums.
Other bills will seek to expand the state’s medical marijuana program, centralize sales tax collections, establish a bill of rights for foster children and prevent transgender students from playing sports aligned with their gender identities.
Term limits will cause this session to include more new faces than previous ones. Forty-five of the state’s 105 House members — and 20 of 39 senators — will be new to their chambers.
The legislative session must end by June 1 at 6 p.m.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.