NewsCovering Louisiana


2023 Legislative session officially underway

Louisiana State Capitol
Posted at 10:39 PM, Apr 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-10 23:40:32-04

BATON ROUGE, L.a. — The 2023 Legislative Session is now underway at the State Capitol, kicking off Monday with the eighth and final State of the State address from Gov. John Bel Edwards, now in his final term.

In his speech, Edwards took time to discuss progress made throughout his term as governor and where things could improve starting now during session.

"We will start next fiscal year with more than $2 billion available for future shortfalls and emergencies, think about that, we came in facing a $2 billion deficit, and we will be leaving more than $2 billion in the bank for the next governor and legislature," he said. "We are leaving the state in a much better posture than when I came into office. That is a promise I made, and a promise we've kept."

In the meantime with this surplus, however, lawmakers at the State Capitol will have to decide whether or not to raise the state's spending limit to address a slew of issues. Edwards in his speech cited that he supports doing this, and hopes to address the issue of education first and foremost, specifically when it comes to teacher pay raises.

"One of the most important things I’m going to ask of you this session is to give our teachers a $3,000 pay raise, as well as $1,500 for support workers," Edwards told the joint legislature Monday. "We’ve been taking small bites of the apple for the past five years, with teacher pay raises totaling $3,300, and because of the hard work we have all put in, we can nearly double that now."

Edwards mentioned the current teacher shortage and lack of students enrolled in colleges of education throughout the state.

"We are in fierce competition with neighboring states to keep the teachers we have," he said.

Sen. Fred Mills, a Republican representing Acadiana's District 22, told KATC he agrees but understands why some constituents and legislators may hesitate.

"I think people want to make sure that if we do increase teacher pay, that it's sustainable," Mills said. "We want to make sure that we can do it, just not now, but in years to come, so I think the debate is 'Can we afford it?' and we should afford it."

But Acadiana's lawmakers recognize there are many issues voters in the region value too.

"For Acadiana, I want to see healthcare strengthened, infrastructure strengthened, and if there is a surplus that we get our fair share of them and we spend it wisely," Mills said.

Session must adjourn by no later than Thursday, June 8, at 6 p.m. For updates as it progresses, you can visit or download the new "LA Lege" app.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Subscribe to our Youtube channel