BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Who is set to be the next Louisiana Speaker of the House and Senate President has all but been decided. Those leaders will have a lot of the new governor’s goals to accomplish.
The Senate President and Speaker of the House play a critical role in what bills make it through the process – and how much of a governor’s priority list can be passed.
Even before the official vote that is set to take place on Jan. 8, lawmakers are coalescing behind a close ally of governor-elect Jeff Landry, state Sen. Cameron Henry, a Metairie Republican.
“In the Senate leadership, you’re going to find a very friendly audience for President Trump and his priorities as well as for Governor-elect Jeff Landry,” said Jeremy Alford of LAPolitics.com.
The Senate race came down to two Republicans. Sen. Mike Reese of Leesville was also in the running, but is now backing Henry.
Over on the House side, a number of Republicans were vying for Speaker, but all dropped out to support state Rep. Phillip Devillier of Eunice.
“Devillier came into the legislature as a pro-business, pro-industry vote very closely aligned, especially to some utilities,” Alford said.
The new governor has set out to kick off his administration with ambitious goals of hosting a special session to tackle the crime issue. He also vowed to take on the redistricting order from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which could let a new set of lawmakers take a swing at drawing congressional boundaries.
“I think there’s going to be a strong push early in the first year, especially in the first months of that first year, to get a lot done,” Alford said.
The past speaker struggled to get all the factions of Republicans to work together at times in the last session. Alford believes with the overwhelming support for Landry at the polls, he could have a better chance of unifying them.
“Can he remain as strong and as dominant as he is right now? History tells us no. At some point there will be a downturn. There will be a change of opinion. There will be a change in leadership. But right now, it is certainly in Jeff Landry’s time,” Alford said.
Looking at the first months of his administration, Landry and his team will have to sort their priorities of issues they think warrant a special session between redistricting, crime, and insurance, and any other topics he may want to tackle as early as possible. It being an odd number year no tax bills can be proposed in the regular session.
“I think at some point cooler heads may prevail and be like, well, we can do one or both of these in the regular session,” Alford said.
The official vote for legislative leadership will be Jan. 8 with all members of the House and Senate.
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