State Capitol

A full slate of proposals await legislators today at the State Capitol. The 2019 legislative session continues through June 6.

Republicans will chair 12 of the 17 standing committees in the Louisiana state Senate for the 2020-2024 term, including the two committees that have the most control of taxpayer dollars.

Sen. Mach “Bodi” White, R-Central, will chair the Senate Finance Committee, which handles the state budget. Sen. R.L. “Bret” Allain, R-Franklin, will be chairman of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, which oversees tax policy.

Democrat J.P. Morrell chaired Revenue and Fiscal Affairs last year. That committee doomed an early rollback of a temporary 0.45 cent sales tax and legislation that would have limited government spending to 98 percent of the official revenue projection.

Senate Finance, chaired by Democratic Sen. Eric LaFleur, also at times was a firewall for bills passed by the more conservative House. The committee last year shot down several bills that would have reduced state revenue but were not paid for by corresponding spending reductions.

Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, will chair Senate and Governmental Affairs, which also will be closely watched because it will play a key role in redistricting.

Republicans hold 27 of the Senate’s 39 seats. But new Senate President Page Cortez, like his predecessor John Alario, nonetheless tapped Democrats for leadership roles.

Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, will lead Local and Municipal Affairs. Peterson is the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party.

Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, will chair the Education Committee. Though a liberal Democrat on most issues, Fields is more supportive of charter schools than many of his party colleagues. In the last election, Fields defeated former Rep. Pat Smith, a Democrat aligned with teachers’ unions, with help from business-oriented Republicans.

Democrats also will lead the committees focused on labor and retirement, along with one of the three Judiciary committees.

Sen. Fred Mills was appointed Senate Parliamentarian.

See the full list of committee assignments here.

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