Louisiana governor vetoes cut-laden budget bill

Louisiana governor vetoes cut-laden budget bill

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Latest on Louisiana's regular legislative session (all times local):

9:05 p.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has vetoed a $28 billion-plus budget that would slash education, social services and public safety spending next year to account for expiring temporary taxes.

The Democratic governor says the cuts would devastate services. Instead, he wants lawmakers to craft a new spending plan as they consider taxes in the special session starting Tuesday.

Edwards announced his decision Friday, shortly after lawmakers had adjourned their regular session and left for a long weekend.

The budget was passed on the strength of Republican support, with Democrats largely in opposition.

Even those who backed the cuts-heavy document said they didn't want the reductions enacted. They said the proposal demonstrated the need to fill gaps by replacing some of the expiring taxes.

The new budget year starts July 1.

8:55 p.m.

Louisiana lawmakers have ended their regular session early, completing work two weeks before the deadline.

But they won't be gone for long.

The House and Senate wrapped up Friday so they could move into a special session on the budget and taxes that opens Tuesday.

During the regular session, lawmakers agreed to strike a Jim Crow-era law that allowed split juries to convict people of serious felony crimes, sending the final decision to voters in November. They enacted Louisiana's first government-wide policy against sexual harassment.

They toughened laws against hazing and approved a 15-week abortion ban, though it will only go into effect if a similar Mississippi law is upheld in federal court.

In the special session, lawmakers will decide whether to replace some expiring temporary taxes to avoid deep cuts in the budget that begins July 1.

7:30 a.m.

Louisiana lawmakers are winding down their regular session, a few days before they enter another special session to consider taxes to stave off deep budget cuts.

The House and Senate intend to adjourn sometime Friday, after 10 weeks of often break-neck speed to sift through more than 1,400 bills and wrap up early so they can move into the tax debate.

Still outstanding are bills to spend a state surplus, extend Harrah's casino operating contract and allow more prayer in public schools. It was unclear if those measures would be completed before lawmakers head home.

They'll return Tuesday to open the special session called by Gov. John Bel Edwards to determine if they'll pass up to $650 million in taxes to offset some temporary taxes that expire July 1.

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