The regular session kicks off Monday, and Governor John Bel Edwards is hoping the legislature gets more accomplished than the special session that ended without a clear solution to the fiscal cliff. The special session was notable for its stark partisan divides, which Edwards says were the worst he’s seen in a decade.
“The level of acrimony and distrust is beyond anything I’ve seen in the ten years I’ve been in state government. “
Legislators are not allowed to address revenue issues in this regular session, so the fiscal cliff will have to wait for another special session to be called afterwards.
Despite the tension, Edwards says he’s optimistic that the legislature will put aside their differences and come together for a productive regular session.
“I actually believe we will get it done, because I am reminded how hard it was to get it done two years ago.”
Edwards says he and House Speaker Taylor Barras had a framework for a fiscal cliff deal in place, only to see the speaker back away from the plan early into the special session. Edwards says going forward, legislators need to place more trust in each other’s good intentions.
“We need to make sure that we are civil, that we are earnest in our efforts, and that everyone believes we are in good faith regardless of whether they agree with what it is they are trying to do.”
To kick off the regular session, the governor released his legislative agenda to advance the well-being of Louisiana children and seniors, that includes legislation addressing teacher tenure, and abuse of individuals with infirmities.