Pressure mounting on lawmakers in special session

Pressure mounting on lawmakers in special session

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The days in the special session are dwindling and the pressure is mounting on the Louisiana House of Representatives.

"Hopefully they will get bills moving early this week to get through the process," said Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne.

On Tuesday, all eyes will be on the House Ways and Means Committee, which is expected to start voting on a number of tax bills after more than a week of testimony. The seemingly slow movement on the committee's part has drawn concern from some.

Speaker of the House Taylor Barras said it's not surprising considering what's at stake.

"When you're dealing with 100 bills and that complex of a subject matter. I just told my chairman to take their time and walk through and making sure the author of the bill got to present timely and that the members got to ask the appropriate questions," said Barras.

According to Barras, the committee has been able to dwindle down the list of bills that include increasing taxes on tobacco and sales, and reducing some tax credits. He expects the committee to send around 30 to the House Floor on Tuesday. He hopes narrowing it down will enable things to move more quickly through the Senate.

Whether or not the tax changes will survive a vote is yet to be seen. With lawmakers approaching the half way point on the special session, the clock is ticking on the special session.

"I think there is always concern over the clock running out when you have a special session with a very big agenda, particularly with the one that we have right now," said Dardenne.

Dardenne said in a worst case scenario, if lawmakers do not come up with a solution before March 9, the current deficit would be added on to the next fiscal year. In that case, Dardenne believes Governor John Bel Edwards would try to call a second special session.

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