The budget, higher education and transportation get much attention so far in session

The budget, higher education and transportation get much attention so far in session

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - As week two of the 2015 Louisiana Legislative Session nears its end and lawmakers continue to try to figure out a solution to the budget crisis, Gov. Bobby Jindal's traveling plans are coming into focus.

The Senate Finance Committee will get started around 9 a.m. by taking a look at the 2016 budget proposal from the governor's office. A $1.6 billion deficit begs the question: When will the governor's office comment on the issue?

Jindal spoke on day one of the session to give his state of the state report and then he spoke privately with the media last week. So now, many are waiting on his next appearance and wonder when it might happen. Jindal had no out of state publicized appearances Wednesday and there aren't any Thursday. It is known he will be in Iowa over the weekend and he's actually going to be away most of the weekends remaining in the 2015 legislative session calendar.

There already was another rally this week on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol for higher education. It was similar to the one last week. The latest one was organized by students and staff from Southern University. Legislation on higher education is expected to move forward. Many believe it will pass out of the House committees and move to the House floor.

One piece of legislation is HB 152 by Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond. It gives universities and colleges the authority to raise and lower fees and tuitions on their own. The House Education Committee approved the bill Wednesday. It will next go before the full House for debate.

Legislation related to transportation is also expected to move forward. Some bills from Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Plaquemine, focus on infrastructure, like building 15 major projects across the state, including a new bridge over the Mississippi River. A date has not been set on when that issue will go before a committee. If it passes the committee, it then makes its way to a big vote on the House floor. One of her transportation bills has already passed out of committee. It is expected to head to the House floor next week.

Look for details about Thursday's happenings on 9News at 5 p.m.

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