A group of Republican lawmakers called the second special session of the year, which started Monday. House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, who led the group in calling the session, gets to decide what topics the lawmakers will discuss.
“We called the special session about relief and helping small businesses.," he said. "I think that’s the biggest part of what I’m looking forward to. We have a lot of small businesses out there struggling, we have a lot of families out there struggling, whether it’s from COVID or from the storm.”
The agenda for the session also includes addressing the Governor’s executive powers when dealing with emergencies, such as the recent Hurricane Laura and coronavirus pandemic, which has caused some controversy among Democratic and Republican state leaders.
“I think trying to curtail the Governor’s emergency powers in the middle of an emergency and hurricane season is stupid,” said Mandie Landry, Democratic House member.
“I think it just shows the lack of judgment of some people and power-driven motives. It’s a bad idea, it’s never been done before, I think it’s partisan and I don’t see any good coming from this,” she continued.
Another issue on the 70-item agenda is addressing the dwindling unemployment fund which is currently the source of benefits for more than 250,000 out-of-work Louisianans.
“If we want to talk about adjusting the budget or re-appropriating some of the money from the CARES act earlier this year, we can do that through the joint budget committee through a BA-7," said Democractic House Representative Matthew Willard.
"So I really think that this special session is unnecessary, were still under a pandemic, so I’m not really supportive of being here right now,” he said.
Schnexnayder hopes that despite the tension between political parties, the session will be successful.
“I think no matter what session you come up here for there’s always poking from the left and poking from the right,” Schexnayder said.
“That’s something that you’ll always have no matter what state you’re in, but I think generally down the middle this is about helping people and helping the people of the state of Louisiana and that’s why we’re here.”
The session began Monday, Sep 28 and must adjourn by Oct 27.