With Third Special Session On The Horizon, Stalemate Between Governor And House Leadership Continues

Jun 6, 2018

For the second time this year, lawmakers in the House were unable to reach a tax compromise, collapsing the special session that ended late Monday night. 

At a press conference afterwards, Gov. John Bel Edwards laid the blame with leaders of the House Republicans.

“I am extremely disappointed in what was just a disaster that played out in the House of Representatives that is attributable to a minority of the House members and to leadership that is anything but,” he said.

The contentious relationship between the Governor and the House has contributed to a legislative logjam.

“Clearly the Legislature and the Governor are combative.  There’s lack of good will," says Pearson Cross, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at UL Lafayette.

While the Legislature did pass a budget Monday night, Edwards says it won’t be used to operate the state starting July 1st.  The Governor said the same thing of the Legislature’s first attempt at a spending plan, which he vetoed in May.

“The ante was amped up when the Governor vetoed the budget, that was seen as a very unfriendly act,” says Cross.

Governor Edwards said he intends to call the Legislature into a third special session by the end of the month, because even though they passed a budget, Legislators can’t agree on whether to fund it by raising state sales tax by a third or half a penny.

“At some point wiser heads would have to prevail," explains Cross, "and say ‘can we please just pass some compromise between those two and get us out of here.’”

But the success of this special session has more riding on it than just funding the government.

"If the Governor is thinking about getting re-elected, just like everybody else," says Cross, "will it serve his purposes to have a stalemate with the legislature that leaves vital services underfunded?”