BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State senators are trying to trim the costs of a legislative agency that spends thousands of dollars each year on meetings at a swanky New Orleans hotel.

The Louisiana State Law Institute, which studies legal issues for the Legislature, regularly holds meetings of its decision-making council at the Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans.

A financial tally of expenses for seven meetings within the last nine months show they have cost nearly $175,000.

Port Allen Sen. Rick Ward wants two-thirds of law institute meetings to be held in Baton Rouge, where he says free Capitol meeting space likely could be provided.

William Crawford, law institute director, disagreed with the savings projections. But a Senate judiciary committee backed Ward's bill Tuesday, sending it to the Senate floor.

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