Capitol Views: Senate focus turns to safeguarding budget

With the House-passed budget bill now navigating the Legislature’s upper chamber, Senate leaders are vowing to protect the 2017-2018 spending plan from changes so it can receive final approval and be sent directly to Gov. John Bel Edwards. Should senators amend the state budget inside House Bill 1 it would require concurrence from the House, which could also reject the Senate changes and send the debate behind closed doors in a conference committee process.

The path of least resistance is preferable to the Senate leadership, which, like the rest of the Legislature, has suffered through three legislative sessions this year—not to mention a record number of consecutive days spent in session in 2016.

When the Senate Finance Committee approved the budget earlier today—without changes—some lawmakers did take care to explain that their shared sense of urgency was driven by a sense of responsibility to make sure the budget uses all of the forecasted revenue for next fiscal year rather than the special session’s compressed timeline…


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