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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's lawmakers are trudging back to work for a special deficit-closing session that many of them didn't want to have.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has called them back to the Capitol to close a $304 million deficit.

The session opens at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

It will have little of the festive air that normally marks lawmakers' return to Baton Rouge.

Instead, they're gathering for an unlikeable chore, rebalancing the state's $27 billion operating budget and making spending cut decisions.

House Republican leaders questioned the need for the session, saying the Democratic governor and the Legislature's joint budget committee had the authority to make cuts on their own. But Edwards said that authority was too limited and the full Legislature could broaden the impact of the reductions to lessen the pain.

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