Details emerging for second special session

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics

Those working in concert with Gov. John Bel Edwards on the possibility of a second special session say two options are on the table, including a start time of the evening of June 6, just moments after the ongoing regular session adjourns at 6 p.m.

That would allow for the initial reading in of bills as night falls on a revenue-raising session that would continue on for maybe two or three weeks.

The Legislature could also be reconvened several days following the June 6 adjournment of the regular session, which would give lawmakers time to return home and staffers an opportunity to work on the bills that will be needed.

What is likewise starting to be finalized is a draft of the special session call, with broad-stroke agenda items being put on paper by the administration.

While coming up with the revenue needed to close a $600 million hole for the next fiscal year is the anchor of the call, it may include another section of policy to address oversights and unintended consequences from the first special session held earlier this year.

That includes the mistake that accidentally yanked sales tax exemptions away from the New Orleans Saints and its NBA counterpart Pelicans. Also being discussed are the charities that got lumped into the changes made to the Louisiana sales tax code, like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, among others.

Corporate income taxes are on the draft call as well, along with itemized deductions for individual income taxes and exemptions, although none are specifically being named yet.

Even as all of this is coming together, there are still lobbyists, good government groups and many conservative lawmakers who aren’t convinced a second special session will be immediately needed. With some tax collections picking up and revenue acts from previous sessions kicking in, Republicans, especially, are still hoping enough new money materializes to convince the governor to wait.

Edwards, though, seems as determined as ever and is expected to reveal his policy proposals soon. He needs a special session because tax-related matters cannot be voted on by lawmakers in a regular session during even-numbered years.