Louisiana Senate President John Alario Wants ‘Cards Laid Out On The Table’ In Special Session Debate
Thibodaux Representative Dee Richard's request for a special session of the state legislators is something that leaders in the Louisiana Senate and House are opposed to.
In a statement, Senate President John Alario and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley called a special session unnecessary. Alario says he's concerned a special session would result in proposals to raise taxes. Alario says Richard is not offering any alternative budget cutting moves:
What's being proposed now is simply to go and shut down any cuts that Bobby made but (they) don't have any way on recommending how to solve the financial problem. If they want to propose a special session, they ought to lay all of their cards on the table, give all of us an opportunity to see how they plan on solving it and then we can all respond.
But Richard says he is calling for a special session because he and a number of legislators are unhappy about Governor Jindal cutting them out of the budget process:
Since we left session I'm figuring there have been cuts to about the tune of a million dollars and they are all without our input. Not saying that the cuts are right or wrong but I would think we owe it to our constituents to know what is going on and to make sure that is what we need to do.
One example Alario points to on how to deal with budget cuts is the LSU hospital system. Deep cuts were made to the hospital system because federal government reduced Medicaid funding by $800,000,000.00 to Louisiana. Alario says LSU leaders are doing their best to make sure the uninsured population still gets the care they seek:
I think LSU is doing a good job of trying to form partnerships with local community hospitals and other providers within particular regions. I think we ought to give them an opportunity to solve that problem.
It would take a majority vote in both the House and Senate for legislators to return to Baton Rouge to discuss Governor Jindal's decision to close a close state prison and make large cuts in health care. If a session is called it could be held after Thanksgiving. Richard says he just wants what’s best for everyone:
The point is to do what’s best for the state of Louisiana and the people of this state. And I think the best thing we could do is meet in special session – which is our right to do that by the Constitution.
If Richard succeeds, it would be the first time in over 40 years the legislature has called itself into special session.