Louisiana lawmakers call for a special session

Chris Miller
May 23, 2020 - 5:54 pm

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Louisiana legislators called for a special session to begin the moment the regular session ends June 1, to address 41 items dealing with the budget and other fiscal matters.

Lawmakers returned to Baton Rouge earlier this month on a compressed schedule, after weeks off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says the additional time may give them a clearer picture of the state’s finance.

“The big reason is the unknown factored called the Revenue Estimating Conference and they had no idea what the eventual revenue and deficits will be,” said Pinsonat.

The special session could run the entirety of June, and lawmakers have until July 1 to pass a balanced budget.

While the agenda currently only pertains to fiscal items Pinsonat says it could be used as an opportunity to override a potential gubernatorial veto of items like tort reform aimed at lowering auto insurance rates.

“If he does, then they can bring up the issue again, possibly a compromise, and possibly not have compromise and they just try to override his veto,” saids Pinsonat.

Tort reform is held up in the House as lawmakers reportedly are pushing to pass it with a two-thirds vote. Another item that could be vetoed, if passed, is a bill blocking local governments from suing oil and gas companies for coastal damage.

The budget will be the focus, but Pinsonat says because special sessions have no limitations on tax issues, lawmakers will also consider some tax credits and exemptions.

“They are going to give business owners to have a chance to come and testify before these committees to talk about how bad their business has been devastated and what kind of help can the legislature give them,” said Pinsonat.

The final step for fantasy sports legalization; taxation, will also be considered.

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