Senate president, House speaker oppose special session
A Thibodaux lawmaker seeking a November special legislative session to challenge Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget-cutting moves is encountering opposition from the governor's allies who lead the House and the Senate. Rep. Jerome "Dee" Richard, an independent, has only a few weeks to gather the support he'd need to hold the special session after the Thanksgiving holiday, an effort born of frustration that the governor has shuttered a state prison and made deep health care cuts without legislative input. Richard is circulating a petition to drum up support for the session. In the proposal outlined, he's asking lawmakers to consider enacting new restrictions on Jindal's ability to privatize or close state-run health care facilities and prisons, and he's suggesting lawmakers revisit cuts that have been made. Richard's long-shot bid for a special session has attracted vocal disapproval from Senate President John Alario and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, Republicans who won their leadership jobs with Jindal's support. Alario, R-Westwego, says Richard hasn't explained how he'd balance the budget differently if lawmakers reversed Jindal's cuts, the deepest of which have hit the LSU-run network of public hospitals and clinics that take care of the uninsured and train medical students. Jindal opposes the special session, which Richard proposes would start Nov. 26 and last up to 15 days. The full story is here.
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