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2014 Louisiana Legislative Session Opens

2014 Louisiana Legislative Session Opens

Marijuana, Common Core, raising the state's Minimum Wage and undoing the governor's 2012 Education Laws - those are just some of the issues facing lawmakers as the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session gets underway.

Gov. Bobby Jindal says Louisiana's biggest challenge is making sure it has enough skilled workers to fill the jobs his administration has helped attract to the state.

Jindal described the challenge as he told lawmakers that his top priority for their annual legislative session is boosting job skills training for high school and college students.

The Republican governor's speech came as the Legislature opened its 85-day session, which runs until June.

Associated Press Political Reporter Melinda Deslatte, who covers the Legislature, says this year's session is "wide open with all kinds of issues on the table". The only restriction is that lawmakers cannot take up any tax bills.

"You see anything on the list from abortion to proposals to cap the TOPS program to issues of whether to lessen penalties for non-violent criminal offenses," Deslatte said.

Deslatte says putting together a budget for next fiscal year is among the big issues, as it is every year.

"The other big issue that has shaped up so far this year seems to be on educational standards and whether or not the state should be using the Common Core educational standards in public schools."

"The two main issues we're seeing with marijuana this session involve the legalization of medical marijuana that's been proposed and also the lessening of penalties for marijuana possession."

"There's also going to be a discussion about whether or not Louisiana should reintroduce use of the electric chair as a means of execution because the state has had such difficulty in getting some of the lethal injection drugs."

"Another big push that is going to get some attention, and it's definitely a focal point for Democrats in the session, is the attempt to raise the minimum wage in Louisiana."

"There are some efforts in the Legislature to undo some of his (Governor Jindal's) education laws from years past, and those are laws that he really supports as part of his legacy, so he's gonna be playing defense on a lot of those kind of issues," Deslatte said.

The Legislature must adjourn no later than 6pm on Monday, June 2, 2014.




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