Thursday, June 11, 2015

Game 7 at the La Legislature

The Legislative session is coming down to the wire today.  Here's what they're still dealing with. It's the same problem they started with.
Failure to reach a budget deal before adjournment would be nearly unprecedented for the Legislature and, in a worst-case scenario, would lead to a state government shutdown after July 1 when the new fiscal year starts.

“I guess we’ll see what happens about 2 p.m. tomorrow when the walls and windows in the Capitol seem to start closing in,” state Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, said in an interview Wednesday night.

Even if legislators reach a deal, Gov. Bobby Jindal has promised to veto the budget and the tax measures that fund it if he deems that the budget would cause a net increase in taxes.

At stake Thursday is state spending for hundreds of public institutions and programs, including LSU, Southern University, the University of New Orleans, Baton Rouge Community College, the soon-to-open New Orleans hospital, Our Lady of the Lake, Lafayette General Hospital, health insurance for 56,000 working poor people in New Orleans and the LSU medical schools in Shreveport and New Orleans.

Legislators are proposing to raise $600 million to $700 million to fund these programs, but exactly who would face a higher burden is part of the last-minute dispute.
Much of the attention is focused on the so-called SAVE fund maneuver which.. kind of..create a tax credit that offsets student fees which may or may not exist unless you clap loudly.. or something.  It's necessary to satisfy Acting Governor Norquist's dictum of revenue neutrality during a revenue crisis.

Here's how that's going.

I think, in this case, they're disappointing Bobby Jindal who, in a manner of speaking, is still technically the Governor even though everybody hates him.  In fact Bobby has managed such an historic state of being hated by everybody that he may have actually broken the Governor's office itself.
The Louisiana Senate on Wednesday voted in dramatic fashion to select its own leadership by secret ballot, a move that seeks to diminish the traditional role the governor has played in selecting the Senate President and President Pro Tempore.

In many ways, the 34-4 vote shows how frustrated lawmakers have become with the power Gov. Bobby Jindal has wielded over this legislative session. Casting secret votes will provide cover for Senators from executive retribution if they decide to reject the governor's pick for Senate President, a powerful position that controls how much of the legislation is brought to the floor.

In past terms, the Governor announces selections for leadership in both houses. Each chamber then votes publicly to confirm the governor's selection.

It's impossible to tell whether the Senate's changes to its rules will make the body more independent from the governor because the secret ballots won't be cast until the new term begins in January. But there was every indication on Wednesday that as both the Senate and the House wrap up this year's spring session, members are hungry for changes that will give them more opportunities to act independently.

That's pretty strong leadership, Bobby. You should run for President. 

No comments: