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Louisiana Legislature adjourns second special session

Louisiana Capitol building
Posted at 1:14 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 14:14:36-04

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana legislature adjourned its 2020 Second Extraordinary Session on Friday about five days earlier than expected.

The third law-making session of the year was called by leadership in September to address the state’s unemployment trust fund, Hurricanes Laura and Delta recovery and the ongoing issues relative to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a release from the state senate, Senate President Page Cortez said that he and his colleagues were able to work together to come up with solutions to some of the most dire issues facing the state.

The release states that the legislature’s first priority was getting funding to aid in hurricane recovery and relief. Lawmakers approved $1.4 million in funding for local governments in Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis Parishes.

Another $20 million in funding was secured for the construction, repair and restoration of buildings on the McNeese State University and SOWELA Technical Community College campuses.

The release states that the legislature approved a bill that ensures K-12 schools remain whole in the Minimum Foundation Program formula, as well as another that modifies TOPS eligibility requirements for impacted students.

The legislature also worked on stabilizing the state’s unemployment trust fund, the release states. In March 2020, t

The state’s unemployment trust fund, which contained over $1 billion in March 2020, was quickly drained as businesses were forced to close and workers were left jobless because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the release, this forced the state to seek assistance from the federal government to meet the demand for unemployment benefits.

The depletion of the trust fund would have required employers to pay more taxes and program participants would have seen a reduction in their benefits, the release states.

The legislature states that it agreed on a package of bills that suspends such impacts through the 2021 calendar year.

The legislature says it also addressed the on-going issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic including how emergency declarations are handled and whether the legislature should have any input.

According to the release, legislators agreed on a bill that outlines a procedure the legislature can follow to revoke individual sections of a renewed executive order under certain circumstances.

That bill has been sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards to either sign or veto.

Cortez released the following statement on the end of the second special session:

We did what we came here to do. We secured funding for those areas most heavily impacted by the recent hurricanes. We agreed on a package of bills to protect businesses and the unemployed. And, we passed several measures critical to the state’s response to COVID-19, including a compromise on how emergency declarations are handled. I want to thank my fellow Senators as well as our colleagues in the House of Representatives for their efforts. It has been a tough year for Louisiana, but we are resilient and we will continue to come together as we recover and rebuild.

On Friday, Louisiana House Republicans announced they are planning to file a petition aimed at revoking Edwards' coronavirus restrictions for one week.

You can read the proclamation for the second special session below:

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