BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Thursday’s Sine Die adjournment was the last for more Louisiana lawmakers than any other session since 2008.
Thanks to 12-year term limits, nearly 50 lawmakers will not be able to seek re-election to their old seat, though some are expected to flip chambers. All 144 members of the legislature are up for re-election in the fall.
“That gives us a great opportunity to move forward and actually have people who bring new ideas and new ways of solving challenges,” Governor John Bel Edwards said in his end-of-session press conference, joking that all of his friends would be re-elected.
Edwards is also up for re-election, challenged by U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and Baton Rouge businessman, Eddie Rispone.
Westwego Republican and Senate President John Alario, first elected to the legislature in 1972, is term-limited, though it’s unclear if he’ll flip chambers. Chairpersons for 12 of the Senate’s 17 committees are barred from running for re-election as well.
But some of the House’s most powerful legislators are expected to fill some of those Senate seats, taking loads of institutional knowledge with them to the upper chamber. That leaves the House green, ripe for new leadership and dramatic change.
“The learning curve is immense because there are so many committees and the intricacies are such that you just can’t go in there and start day one gung-ho. You’ve got to have some help," WAFB political analyst, Jim Engster, said. “Usually, the help comes from lawmakers, but in this case, it may come from elsewhere.”
Engster says that means people “on the fringe," including lobbyists and journalists, could have more say in legislative decisions.
Election day is in October. After the governor is inaugurated, lawmakers will convene in January of 2020 for an organizational session.
The 2020 Regular Legislative Session begins in March.