Regular Legislative Session begins in Baton Rouge - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Regular Legislative Session begins in Baton Rouge

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The regular legislative session is now underway, just one week after an unsuccessful special budget session ended early.

Lawmakers failed to fill the state's billion-dollar budget gap during that special session but said they're moving forward with a new mindset.

"I don't want the roadblocks of the special session to hamper us from what's most important, making life better for the people of this great state," said Gov. John Bel Edwards in his State of the State Address at the capitol on Monday.

Edwards started off his speech with a little encouragement and a little taste of reality.

"That is why we should have fixed the fiscal cliff when I gave you the opportunity a couple of weeks ago," said Edwards.

The governor laid out his plans to achieve pay equality. Louisiana has highest wage inequity in the country, with women making 66 cents to every dollar their male colleagues earn.

"She doesn't get charged less when she goes to buy groceries for her family. And she shouldn't get paid any less when she works the same job as a man," said Edwards.

Among the other items on the governor's to-do list for the legislature are things like protections for children and the elderly, hazing prevention and taking another look at TOPS and higher education.

"A model student right here in our state, he is leaning toward going to Alabama rather than LSU because of the uncertainty of his TOPS scholarship. That's the kind of story that we should all dread," said Edwards.

Lawmakers said they can't afford to idle during this session.

"The constituents, they expect us to do their business and they expect us to do something. There's no excuse for us to come spend time here and not do anything. The people are speaking. I hear 'em," said Representative Terry Landry.

The deadline to wrap up the regular session falls on June 4th.

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