The first special legislative session of 2020 is in the books. In the final day, state lawmakers passed bills that would shield schools from civil liability during the coronavirus pandemic, expand business tax breaks, and enact “historic” tort reform legislation.
And most importantly, they finalized the state’s $34 billion operating budget about seven hours before it had to take effect. Republican legislative leaders are hailing the session as a great success. The budget minimizes cuts to state agencies by using hundreds of millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief money. And the tort reform and tax breaks have been on their legislative to-do list for years. But Gov. John Bel Edwards says he’s concerned about the long-term effects those tax cuts will have on the state’s coffers. And the extensive use of one-time money to cover recurring expenses could be a problem if the economy doesn’t rebound as quickly as everyone hopes. Lawmakers expect to address those issues in another special session this fall.