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Louisiana lawmakers start their latest session

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BATON ROUGE (AP) -  Louisiana lawmakers have opened their annual legislative session, their 11th session of the four-year term.

This latest, 60-day session that started Monday doesn't feature the threat of deep budget cuts or the heated budget-balancing tax debates of the prior three years. But the financial disagreements haven't entirely disappeared. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and House Republican leaders are at odds about how much the state should spend in the budget year starting July 1.

Despite the squabbling, both sides agree on giving teachers a pay raise. Beyond finances, lawmakers will debate bills about the death penalty, abortion, sports betting and marijuana.

The session comes only months ahead of an October election, when the governorship, six other statewide elected jobs, and all 144 legislative seats will be on the ballot.


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