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State Legislature Sees Little Turnover

Louisiana Office of Tourism

By the time you cast your ballot in the October 24th election, many of the legislative races were already decided.

Sixty-nine of the 144 members of the legislature ran without contest, and didn't even appear on the ballot. Of those, only two were not incumbents. Even though 19 legislative races remain to be decided in a runoff election, that won't make much of a dent.

Robert Travis Scott, president of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, says many lawmakers moved between the House and the Senate. "You have a legislature that's going to look very similar to the one this year, despite the elections." That means there are going to be many familiar faces when the legislature convenes next year.

"There was a lot of talk after the last session in the spring that there was going to be voter retribution against a lot of these House and Senate members who passed all these measures reducing tax credits and exemptions and raising the cigarette tax and so on," Scott says. "There appears to be very little to no impact or retribution on those House and Senate members."

Still, things won't necessarily stay exactly the same. "As we all know in Louisiana," Scott says, "the Governor has a very strong influence on the legislature, sometimes even naming who the legislative leaders are going to be."

And, Scott says, there's a big shift coming.

"The really big change that you're going to see, that's been brought about by term limits, will be in the 2020 term, in other words four years from now, where you have about 16 of the Senators who are going to be term limited. And on the House side, you'll have as many as 45."