Like the first day of school, the opening day of the 2014 session of the Louisiana Legislature gives state representatives and senators an opportunity to catch up before the actual work begins.
The day revolves around the governor’s speech and quickly wraps up.
This year, legislators, their families, lobbyists, bloggers and news reporters packed the House chamber to hear from the governor. As he does every year, Jindal brought his wife, parents and in-laws.
Next year, he said, he may bring his three children for the final legislative address of his two terms as governor.
Advocates for the disabled handed out pies in Memorial Hall and asked legislators to be careful with the state’s fiscal pie. State Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond, corralled his wife and four daughters for a photo outside the Louisiana House chamber.
On the front steps, people opposed to Common Core held a short rally before heading home in the sunshine of a March day. “It’s morally wrong. It’s anti-government, anti-God. It’s turning kids into robots,” Slidell mother Brenda Granier said of Common Core.
State senators filed 554 bills and House representatives filed 1,023 measures for consideration. Each legislator may file up to five additional bills that deal with “general” issues after the start of the session.
The session must end by June 2.
Seven bills have been filed that would change penalties for simple possession of marijuana and expand use of the drug for medical purposes. A crowd gathered on the Capitol steps in support of the legislation.
Also, House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, used the proceedings to swear into office a new representative, Ebony Woodruff, D-Harvey.
Both chambers of the Legislature get started in earnest Tuesday with committee hearings.