2023 Regular Legislative Session gets underway with several proposals up for debate
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The 2023 Regular Legislative Session got underway on Monday, April 10.
Gov. John Bel Edwards delivered his final State of the State Address after the session convened at 12 p.m. He outlined his final legislative agenda and looked back on the progress he’s made while in office.
“You may remember back in my first inaugural address, I promised there was no challenge we would not meet,” Gov. Edwards said. “Little did we know how often that statement would be tested. It took a whole lot more gumbo and gumption than we expected, but we have met every challenge.”
Medicaid expansion is one of the issues that the governor said he is proud of.
“As you know, my first act as governor was to expand Medicaid to the working poor. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Easiest big decision I’ve made as governor,” Gov. Edwards said.
Medicaid expansion caused the uninsured rate among adults to fall to 9.4% in 2022, the governor said. He added that because of Medicaid expansion, Louisiana hasn’t had a single rural hospital closure.
The governor said he also has several hopes for the session.
The governor proposed a $3,000 pay raise for public school teachers and a $1,500 raise for school support workers. He said Louisiana has a shortage of teachers and is locked in a fierce competition to keep educators in the state.
Rep. Mandie Landry, a Democrat, said she’s with the governor on raises for teachers. However, she said lawmakers should also, yet again, try to raise the minimum wage.
“And we need to raise it considerably,” Rep. Landry said. “All those businesses that say they can’t find workers is because they’re not offering enough or they’re not offering any benefits,” said Rep. Landry.
“I can tell you, if you’re an experienced worker out there, you will find a job today and you’ll find it for much higher than minimum wage because businesses need those workers so bad right now,” said Rep. Blake Miguez, a Republican.
Another request from the governor brings lawmakers back to the topic of abortion. Even though he’s never shied away from his pro-life stance, he implored the legislature to consider adding rape and incest to the list of exceptions.
“I say this as someone who, as you know, has a very well-documented pro-life record. But I urge you to add rape and incest to the list of exceptions to our abortion ban here in Louisiana. This is overwhelmingly supported by the people across our state and people of deep faith everywhere,” the governor said.
In total, hundreds of proposed bills are on a list for lawmakers to consider.
For more information about bills up for debate during the 2023 Regular Session, click here.
The session must adjourn by 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 8.
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