Political analyst: The Governor is in absentia while lawmakers are at the Capitol

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Legislative session opens at noon on Monday. A variety of issues fill the 85-day calendar, and so far this year the Governor has been relatively quiet.

"The Governor's agenda is a little bit different now that he is gaining national attention. He spoke at CPAC and is really jockeying as one of the republican contenders (for President) for 2016 in a crowded field," says political analyst Clay Young.

"He's running for President so the Governor is in absentia while lawmakers are at the Capitol. And they are going to have a session and it's going to be potentially be a contentious session. So lawmakers may end up going in directions that we would not normally see them go because they are freelancing and we're going to be involved in issues such as marijuana, and capital punishment and sodomy," according to Jim Engster another political observer.

So with no clear cut gubernatorial agenda lawmakers will likely branch out on their own. "The death penalty, whether or not we bring back the electric chair, that can end up being a bigger issue than the budget, which is usually the overriding issue at the capitol," says Engster.

Long time lobbyist Jim Harris agrees this session will be special. Harris expects to see intense legislation efforts heading into the election year. "Legislators are going to try and get a lot of business through this year so they won't have to deal with it in an election year."

"It's going to be a very hard effort by some special interest groups in a lot of different areas and the debate is going to be quite noisy on a lot of these issues," Harris said.

"There's going to be social issues that will probably have an impact all the way through the session. We saw that members of the legislature that went to the metro council on an anti-sodomy initiative that the legislature is going to take up. And every year there is a lawmaker that takes up entitlements in one way or the other and how that impacts the state," adds Young.

But how long the will Jindal allow the leash to run? "The Governor is letting lawmakers do as they wish right now weather or not he will reign them in and get his way is yet to be seen. He does have to get a budget through the hoops and this time around the governor is offered some goodies that have not been there his first two terms. He's offered an increase in higher education, it won't bring funding close to where it was but at least it's an increase and it looks as if he's trying to mend some fences as his poll numbers have diminished over the years," says Engster.

Session starts Monday.

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