Lawmakers eye budget matters as session nears a close

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A special legislative session is not out of the realm of possibilities facing Louisiana lawmakers after the Senate approved its version of the state budget Saturday, with hundreds of amendments to the House's original plan.

"We certainly understand they needed to fix issues and do their own input on document and we respect that but we believe it came back outside of the comfort zone for us at least at this time," said Representative Brett Geymann.

"I can tell you the budget as sent back from the senate has no chance of passing the house right now," added Representative Jon Bel Edwards of Amite.

Edwards, who serves as the House Democratic Chair, says along with using millions of dollars of one time money or non recurring funds that may exceed the amount requiring a two thirds vote, the Senate budget has big flaws when it comes to public education as well.

"A tremendous concern for some of us in the house is they're growing the voucher program while they're trying to stand still with MFP for the fifth consecutive year, that's going to be very difficult for people in the house to vote for," said Edwards.

Both Edwards and Geymann agree the back and forth is part of the process and believe there is plenty of time remaining to reach a deal.

"We're going to have start ironing those issues out one by one to see if we can get to a point that enough members are comfortable that we can get the majority of people to vote budget out of here without going into a special session," said Geymann.

The Senate's version of the budget will now be discussed in conference meetings with leaders from both the Senate and the House with changes expected to be made before it hits the House floor for debate later next week.

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