Governor optimistic about fate of Health Department; lays out plans for special session

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards asserted his support for the Louisiana Department of Health on Thursday, even though their fate is in question because of state budget concerns.

Edwards spoke at University Hospital and Clinics, a medical facility that's at risk of closing if the budget hole is not addressed. The House has approved a budget with deep cuts to LDH. It's still being reviewed in the Senate.


"The Senate, I suspect is going to try to move the money around," Edwards said. "But it will only further demonstrate the correctness of my assertion all along that there is not enough revenue to adequately fund state government, our critical priorities."

Edwards also laid out his plans for the current legislative session. He said he wants them to adjourn next Friday, then immediately call a special session, with the goal of ending on June 4, the scheduled date for the session to end.

"We'll have a month, or most of a month, to look at what the budget actually is," Edwards said. "And everybody will know, whether you're a parent with a kid on TOPS, or whether you're the resident of a nursing home and your eligibility is being questioned right now, or whether you're a resident and a medical student, whatever your situation is, you should know."

One percent of the state's sales tax is set to fall off the books starting July 1, leaving the budget gap. Democrats and Republicans have been battling over the cuts and new taxes to address the problem.

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