Waiting on HB2

Louisiana’s annual construction bill is expected to be read into the House later today, kicking off a process that is just as riddled with unanswered questions as the state’s operating budget. Drafted by the Edwards Administration, hopes for new brick-and-mortar projects are being kept in check.

Still, lawmakers are tracking local projects that have been navigating the capital outlay process over the past few years. But as of this afternoon, most legislators had no idea what was going to be included in HB 2, the instrument traditional used to carry construction efforts found across the state.

"Nothing in it yet," said Rep. Jim Morris when asked about the progress this morning. Morris is the vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which gets first crack at the legislation.

Making his way around the ground floor of the Capitol around the same time, Rep. Ted James remarked, "I haven’t seen anything with capital outlay yet."

Not that anyone is expected a big bump in construction projects. Administration officials contend that the shortfall for the 2018-19 fiscal year — somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion, depending on who you ask — has played into their drafting of the proposal. "This is a very austere bill," said Richard Carbo, the governor’s deputy chief of staff. "We are limited in what we can do."

With the state’s ongoing budgetary problems, pickings have become slim in recent sessions for lawmakers looking to bring new construction projects back to their districts. This legislative year is unlikely to be the exception.

"I don’t know if we are going to be able to fund many more new projects," said Rep. Barry Ivey, adding that the backlog of projects approved in recent sessions has restricted what the Legislature can do to address current priorities. "The ongoing nature of these projects take up the majority of the funding."

Ivey maintained, from his perspective, that the Comite River diversion project is still the top priority for the Baton Rouge region in the capital outlay process. "Everything else pales in comparison," he said.

Officials with the Edwards Administration say that while they have included some funding for the Comite diversion in this year’s bill, they hope to also address the matter through other means of revenue as well.

The House Versus the Senate

“Every year we send a lean thoroughbred race horse to the Senate in the form of a budget, and they send back a dairy cow. Full of milk and a

Stuff Jeremy Didn’t Know Yesterday Morning…

Between a book project on the 1973 constitutional convention, a series of history segments produced by LaPolitics, committee meetings and

Rabalais’ Political History: Mayor Maestri’s Lunch With Franklin Roosevelt

While this week marks the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans, it is also the annual commemoration of a less heralded event in

Alford’s Opinion Column: At Sixes & Sevens

Here it comes — the Legislature’s sixth special session since being sworn in 29 months ago. And you know what? Don’t bet against a seventh

Political Chatter: Macron, Mulvaney & Girl Scouts

— Gov. John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards are in Washington, D.C. That’s our governor in the picture above, standing on the

Gamard’s Beltway Beat: French Folks, Beltway Cajuns & Pompeo

French Folks, Beltway Cajuns & Pompeo The governor isn’t the only one getting face-time with French President Emmanuel Macron tonight.

#HBD TRACKERS!

— Tuesday 04/24: Rep. Malinda Brumfield-White, Ian Paul Auzenne and Darren Gauthier — Wednesday 04/25: Sen. Neil Riser, Miss Eva Kemp,

#LA: Data Security and Craft Brewing with Cary Koch

  Episode 4 of the Hashtag Louisiana podcast has it all - geniuses, politicians, lobbyists and all us regular folks trying to keep our

WEEKLY: They Said It

“If we as legislators ever had a place to print money, it’s in capital outlay.” —Ways and Means Vice Chair Jim Morris, in The Advocate  

WEEKLY: Constitutional Coalition Has Partners

It was reported in the March 22 issue of LaPolitics Weekly that businessman and donor Lane Grigsby was forming Constitutional Coalition 2020

WEEKLY: Constitutional Convention Poll & CABL

The LaPolitics office at the Capitol received an unidentified robo poll that focused largely on the need to hold a constitutional convention

LOWDOWN: Julie Emerson On The Meaning Of Place

This episode of The LaPolitics Lowdown continues with a four-part series we produced with Covalent Logic and the Public Affairs Research

SPONSORED: Festival International 2018 Is Here

  Next week is the start of the largest international music and arts festival in the United States: Festival

#HBD TRACKERS!

— Tuesday 04/17: Shelly Dupre — Wednesday 04/18: Rep. Sam Jones, Rep. Jerome “Nature Boy” Zeringue, former Rep. Roy Burrell, Carl Redman

GAMARD’S BELTWAY BEAT: From Raids & Airstrikes To Sanctions & ‘Slimeballs’

Former FBI Director James Comey’s reemergence may accrue the same headline-making exposure he achieved last summer. This time around he’s

POLITICAL CHATTER

— Constitutional Coalition 2020 has a website. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFO — Former Chesapeake executive Paul Pratt has launched a new

ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Cracking The Congressional Code

Louisiana voters will send six representatives to Congress during the November general elections and, if needed, the December runoffs. Those

RABALAIS’ POLITICAL HISTORY: Steve, JBJ & The Lanes To Leadership

Long before U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was thrust into the developing race for speaker, and prior to subsequently endorsing his

PLACE YOUR BETS! Handicapping HB 1 & Adjournment

Running The Numbers Since this regular session feels like a gamble anyway, and since there has been an avalanche of gaming bills

They Said It: Lucky Dogs & Ric Flair

"Do you make Lucky Dogs out of swine?" —Rep. Greg Cromer, to Rep. Kirk Talbot, who co-owns the company with his family and who was

WEEKLY: GOP Chair Targets Agency Heads

The last bill that House GOP Delegation Chair Lance Harris filed for the regular session seeks to add "new layers of transparency" to the

WEEKLY: Higgins Has Money, And A Posse

Congressman Clay Higgins has more than $211,000 in his campaign kitty after the first quarter of 2018, during which he collected $217,000 in

LOWDOWN: Ted James On Failure, Assumptions & Compassion

This episode of The LaPolitics Lowdown kicks off a four-part series we produced with Covalent Logic and the Public Affairs Research

SPONSORED: Building Homes And Providing Hope

  On Thursday, April 26, the annual Village of Hope Gala will to be held at Le Pavillon in Lafayette and includes a four-course

Election Trend: Voters Hate Tax Referendums  

Many political observers were surprised to see the defeat of several routine tax measures on the March 24 ballots, leaving some to wonder if