BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Governor John Bel Edwards discusses the 2022 Legislative Session in an afternoon press conference at the Louisiana State Capitol.

The $45.2 billion state budget passed the full House earlier this afternoon.

Gov. Edwards starts the presser by discussing the state’s current low COVID-19 rates. He said things are “much, much better” although COVID is still circulating.

He said he’s happy to see the teacher pay raise remain in the budget and asks for it to be increased to $2,000 per teacher after the REC meeting in May.

Gov. Edwards expressed his disappointment in the lack of supplemental funding for law enforcement and firefighters.

“I have a hard time believing that the House of Representatives doesn’t support law enforcement officers and firefighters,” said Gov. Edwards. “So, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on there but I’ll be looking for the opportunity to work with the Senate to restore that funding.”

But as for infrastructure, he said the Mississippi River Bridge is the most important infrastructure project in the state.

“Look, this is the best budget maybe ever for infrastructure in Louisiana, and that’s for a lot of reasons,” said Gov. Edwards.

He touches on the importance of the Baton Rouge to New Orleans passenger rail. Residents would be able to have an easier commute to and from work or travel for recreational activities in either city. A total of $12.5 million has been allocated for the passenger rail. On Wednesday, the governor and DOTD tested the passenger rail out for themselves.

The governor also touched on state minimum wage and pay gaps, stating it is “beyond offensive” that the state has the highest pay gap between men and women when they have similar qualifications.

Overall, the governor said he is satisfied with the bills in the legislative package and how the session is going.