The 2019 legislative session gets underway at noon on Monday. It was very contentious at the State Capitol last year as lawmakers struggled to pass a budget, because of a huge deficit. This year the budget is in better shape, but political analyst Bernie Pinsonat doesn’t expect the process of approving a new budget will go smoothly.

“The legislature is pretty much controlled by Republicans especially in the House, so there will be some battles and it will primarily come from the budget and spending and what in the budget should be cut,” said Pinsonat.

Legislators can file up to five non-fiscal bills in this session and Pinsonat says legalizing sports betting and a proposal to extend Harrah’s New Orleans Casino’s land license for another 30 years will be hotly debated.

“A lot of legislators in Louisiana shy away from gambling, especially in these Republican-controlled districts,” said Pinsonat.

This session will feature another effort to raise the state’s gasoline tax, but Pinsonat says the proposal by Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter will start the legislative process in the lower chamber.

“Means that it’s unlikely to pass, but there will be a big effort, it will be controversial, but can get it out of the House, if it can get out of the House, it could probably pass the Senate too,” said Pinsonat.

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