Tensions continue to flare at the La. capitol weeks after special session meltdown

Rep. Joseph Bouie, D-New Orleans (Source: WAFB)
Rep. Joseph Bouie, D-New Orleans (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Less than three weeks after the regular session collapsed, the tensions that fueled its collapse are popping up again at the Louisiana state capitol.

On Thursday, the latest flare-up happened in Senate committee. Two lawmakers got into a shouting match during a debate over a bill requiring audits of charter schools.

"You accused us of being racists," Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie yelled.

"I said 90 percent are African American, that's what I said, and that's true Senator Appel, whether you like it or not," Rep. Joseph Bouie, D-New Orleans shouted back.

Earlier in the week, lawmakers took jabs at each other on the House floor, leading to a plea from Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge.

"Members, can we calm down?" James asked from the House podium. "We got a lot of tension. Look, I'm smiling, it's not personal. Let's calm down, it's a new session."

The special session ended with lawmakers doing nothing to fill in the state's budget shortfall. Frustrations ran high as trust between lawmakers cratered. The governor blames partisanship, saying it's more pronounced now than ever before during his decade in Baton Rouge.

"We are not Washington, D.C., but its clearly obvious we're heading in that direction," Governor John Bel Edwards said during a Thursday press conference.

He said he hopes time will heal old wounds and they will be able to move forward. "It's supposed to be a collegial body, and it ought to be we're best served when they take that approach," he said.

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