The regular session kicks off today, 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.
Edwards says, "The level of acrimony and distrust is beyond anything that I've seen in the ten years that I've been involved 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.
Edwards says that he believes that the legislature can move past differing ideologies to resolve issues. He asks that others "join in prayers" for a productive state government.
Edwards says he and House Speaker Taylor Barras had the 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.
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.