BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - After a long year, lawmakers at the capitol have had all the time they need to formulate bills to address what they believe are the most important issues of our state.
The state’s budget is expected to be one of the topics at the forefront of discussion.
With the massive amount of money given to us by the federal government, Louisiana has more money in its pocket than usual. Ideally, lawmakers will want to keep some of it around for next year to avoid a tighter budget. But that money won’t last forever, and each lawmaker is going to want to take home their piece of the pie.
“But the Louisiana legislature always finds a way to veer off into some of these hot button issues and have hot debates”, said WAFB political analyst Jim Engster.
One of those hot button issues is likely to be Representative Mandie Landry’s bill to decriminalize prostitution for those eighteen and up. An idea that will have a tough time up against a conservative legislature but is generating buzz none-the-less.
“A lot of it comes down to consensual behavior between adults. If something happens between two people over the age of 18, why is the government involved”, said Landry.
Another would be gambling after Louisianians voted to legalize sports betting back in November. It’s now up to lawmakers to decide how that would look in our state.
“Where can sports betting occur, how will it occur, what types of events that bets can be placed on, all those things have to be worked out”, said Mike Noel who sits as the Chairman on the Gaming Control Board.
You also have legalization of recreational marijuana, a move that’s been tried in the past but has managed to fall short of success each time. But with a recent poll showing 67% of Louisiana voters in favor of the idea and bipartisan support at the capitol, many are wondering if this could be the year for it to happen.
“This one is moving in the direction of legalization. Polls have indicated that two-thirds of the people in the state think it should be legalized and the fact that other states have done it and the world hasn’t fallen apart indicates that probably at some point it’ll happen in Louisiana”, said Engster.
And of course, with the presidents’ new executive orders on gun laws, it goes without question that the states conservative legislature will be talking about what can be done to avoid any infringement on our states current gun laws.
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