BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Senate finally unveiled its plan for the state budget. While they plan to put back a teacher pay raise, they have had to yank funds from construction projects to stay below the constitutional spending cap.

Several members of the conservative caucuses in the House and Senate do not want to vote to raise the cap in order to make those investments. They are trying to join national Republicans who have been fighting to raise the debt ceiling and trying to cut spending.

The governor and some state leadership members urge lawmakers to make these one-time investments while the state has the money. The legislature has until June 8 to pass a final budget and get approval from the governor.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and other state parish officials announced a lawsuit against FEMA. Jasmine Dean from our sister station in Lafayette has more with a look at Louisiana’s fight to protect homeowners and businesses from increasing flood insurance rates.

Louisiana’s version of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill cleared another committee on Friday and nears a final debate. Capitol Reporter Shannon Heckt brings the details of the debate.

Advocates are calling for the governor to veto those measures if they pass. They rallied at the state capitol to voice their concerns. Other bills legislators are looking to pass include a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth and discussions of gender identity and orientation in schools, which organizers say is targeting a vulnerable population.

The Louisiana legislature is also advancing a bill that would allow people 21 and older to conceal and carry a firearm without a permit. As of now, in order to conceal carry a gun, a person needs training in order to get a permit. Many against the bill are pushing the need for training so people are more responsible with their firearms. The bill’s author, Rep. Danny McCormick, said the permits hinder law-abiding citizens.

Lawmakers want a second look at the state’s criminal justice initiatives. This comes after concerns over the rise in crime after the pandemic in Louisiana. A resolution was proposed that would create a task force to study why crime has increased in the state. But some object to the makeup of the proposed panel. Many want more groups that work with victims and incarcerated people to have a voice.

A bill that would make it a crime to approach a police officer in certain situations is getting closer to the governor’s desk. Bystanders would have to be 25 feet away when officers say get back. Violators could be fined 500 dollars or go to jail for 60 days. The bill’s author, Rep. Mike Johnson, said it’s meant to protect officers. Opponents say it’s unconstitutional and are worried that if passed the rule would keep people from taking videos of officers, preventing transparency and accountability.

Gov. John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is leading the nation in coastal restoration efforts. During the “State of the Coast” conference, the governor spoke about how bringing the best minds together in environmental science is the best way to repair coastal erosion.
State lawmakers recently passed the $50 billion coastal master plan.

That and more on Your Local Election Headquarters.