Mar 11, 2024 - Politics

Louisiana's 1st regular session under Gov. Jeff Landry begins

Illustration of the Louisiana State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Louisiana lawmakers are back in Baton Rouge Monday for the start of the regular legislative session.

Why it matters: It's Gov. Jeff Landry's first regular session, and with Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate, a lot can change by the end as lawmaking is expected to tilt further to the right.

State of play: If you're feeling like we just went through this, you're right.

  • This is legislators' third time in Baton Rouge this year following special sessions for redistricting and crime.
  • While Gov. Jeff Landry saw significant compromises on his key priorities in January's redistricting-focused session, February's crime session handed him several high-profile victories.
  • They included the expansion of legal execution methods, elimination of parole for people convicted after August, publicizing some juvenile criminal records, charging 17-year-olds as adults and decriminalizing the carrying of concealed handguns.

Between the lines: The crime bills sailed through to Landry's desk at a brisk pace, powered by Republicans' control of the Legislature .

  • Other conservative-backed bills will likely see a similar rally of support, while Democrats look for strategic moments to lend their votes in the hopes of earning compromises on issues they see as potentially winnable.
  • Plus, Landry wants to push lawmakers to call for a constitutional convention, which would be scheduled for later this summer in time for voters to have their say in November, according to The Illuminator.

What they're saying: "I think it's the greatest opportunity Louisiana's had in 100 years, and I don't think we should be shy," Sen. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, told | The Times-Picayune.

  • Former Gov. John Bel Edwards "and his people weren't shy about forcing some things down our throats just because they could. Now the shoe's on the other foot, and I don't see any reason we shouldn't try to undo every single thing that was done over the past eight years."

Driving the news: A handful of bills are already making headlines before legislators officially clock in today. They include bills to:

Meanwhile: Landry presented his first budget in February, but it will face debate before it's finalized late in the session.

  • The financial outlook is a bit of a mixed bag, with a sales tax expiring, short-term federal money disappearing and expense pressures from inflation, according to Public Affairs Research Council's Melinda Deslatte.
  • It's also not yet clear just how much Landry's recent crime bills will cost the state. At least 15 of them will grow spending, according to | The Times-Picayune.

Legislators must adjourn by June 3.


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