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Legislative Session at Mid-Point but State Budget Woes Continue

May 08, 2018 11:19AM ● By Camille Mosley

(LA Radio Network) - The regular legislative session is at the halfway point, with issues like TOPS reform, gun control, and gambling expansion mostly dead, while new sexual harassment policies, tougher hazing laws, and medical marijuana expansions have received broad support. Political Analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the session has been bogged down by one issue

“This is a really interesting session… a lot of moving parts, but most of those moving parts need revenue and we have no idea what kind of revenue we’re going to have or what kind of budget we’re going to have.”

The yearly attempt at altering TOPS hit a brick wall on the house floor, and Pinsonat says at this point legislators should just give up trying to change the universally popular program.

“Everybody has an idea how of fix TOPS and there’s lots of legislation every year and you sit there and you wonder why these people put these bills up… virtually none of them ever pass.”

Governor John Bel Edwards and Democratic lawmakers are calling on the legislature to abandon efforts to craft a budget that includes a 648 million dollar budget gap, but Pinsonat says entering a special session without a Senate approved budget would be unprecedented.

“You risk going into a special session trying to pass a budget and trying to raise revenue or pass taxes.  You know, I don’t know if that’s ever been or tried.”

Lawmakers have until June 4th to wrap up the regular session.