Legislators pass budget bill with little fanfare
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It is the final Friday of the 2014 legislative session and House Bill One which is otherwise known as the budget is usually still up in the air. But not this year.
In legislative sessions past the budget bill, which is the blueprint for state government, is usually debated down to the wire. This year however the House decided to put that issue behind them.
"The reason we were able to do that is the Senate did work with the House in fixing some issues the House felt like were important to them. We've been able to help most agencies and most people across the state and we've not been able to do that in the past," says Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro.
The budget tops out at $24.6 billion and includes hikes to funding for higher education, public schools, and services for the disabled.
But not everyone is happy about the process.
"We argued this morning for an hour about a tiger and we pass a budget several billion dollars in three minutes," says Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia. "There's something wrong with that process."
Landry's referring to the Tony the Tiger debate at the truck stop in Gross Tete.
"It's a good budget compared to what we've had to deal with in the past three years," says Fannin.
"A lot of the state got a lot of money and benefited from it and there were some projects that each individual legislator were hoping would be in the budget," says Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans. "We're working through it now. It's going up to the governor for him to sign it."
The session wraps up on Monday. By law, they must adjourn by 6 p.m.
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