Lawmakers Call An Early End To Special Session

Mar 6, 2018

Lawmakers ended the special session early, failing to raise any revenue to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, clearly frustrated, says the session failed because of a lack of leadership in the House. 

“Not a single bill to address the cliff moved out of the House of Representatives for consideration by the Senate,” he said Monday. 

Credit Wallis Watkins

The Governor wanted an agreement with House and Senate leaders on how they’d go about raising revenue before calling the special session. According to Edwards, Speaker of the House Taylor Barras agreed to deliver the Republican votes.

“Unfortunately," Edwards claimed, "the session started two weeks ago and it didn’t take long for the Speaker to go back on his word — the very first day."

The House has been divided on how to raise revenue — or whether to do it at all — since the session began. Only a couple of bills that would bring in money ever made it to the floor, but none were able to get enough bipartisan support.

Legislators will be back in regular session Monday to begin creating the budget for next fiscal year, but because they haven’t raised revenue, they’ll need to cut nearly a billion dollars.

“This will be the opportunity for those in the Legislature who insist that the state of Louisiana can simply cut its way to solving the cliff, they get a chance starting next week to show us how they would do that,” said the Governor.

Edwards says a budget with such massive cuts won’t get enough support to pass in the Legislature. So he has already asked Speaker Barras and Senate President John Alario to adjourn the regular session early. That makes room for a second special session, giving legislators one last chance to try and raise money, “so that state agencies, higher education and all of the people across Louisiana will know what to expect come July first.”