Louisiana Lawmakers Pass Budget and Adjourn the 2023 Legislative Session
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) In the final half an hour of Louisiana's legislative session, lawmakers on Thursday hastily passed an approximately $45 billion budget plan but were given little explanation for budget amendments crafted behind closed doors by a six-member committee.
The approved budget included spending a chunk of the state's estimated $2.2 billion in extra revenue on temporary $2,000 teacher pay raises, paying down retirement debt, infrastructure projects and offsetting expiring federal pandemic relief funds used for early childhood education access.
With the clock ticking down, the rushed vote was met with an outcry from House conservatives who argued they didn't have enough time to read the new budget proposal and accused Republican Speaker Clay Schexnayder of not following floor rules.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and members of the Senate said they were blindsided and confused by a $100-million funding reduction to the Louisiana Department of Health from a previously proposed budget draft.