- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - In addition to a $24.5 billion spending plan for next year, the Louisiana Senate approved Monday a package of corresponding bills that would finance construction projects, rebalance this year’s budget and pay for the legislative and judicial branches.

Other budget bills backed by the Senate on Monday would:

PAY FOR CONSTRUCTION WORK

The construction budget, known as the capital outlay bill, contains at least $375 million more in projects for the fiscal year that begins July 1 than the state has money to spend. That would leave the governor to decide which ones advance for lines of credit. A 35-2 Senate vote sent the measure back to the House for consideration of changes. (House Bill 2)

REBALANCE THIS YEAR’S BUDGET

The bill would close gaps in the K-12 public school financing formula, in the state’s Medicaid program and in payments to local sheriffs for housing state prisoners in their jails. The bill also involves complex financing maneuvers to use state surplus money and other piecemeal financing to help balance next year’s budget. The 36-0 Senate vote sent the proposal back to the House for consideration of changes. (House Bill 800)

FINANCE LEGISLATIVE AGENCIES

Lawmakers agreed to spend $98.4 million on a budget to finance the House, Senate and other legislative agencies in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The legislative budget will stay the same as this year. The bill is headed to the governor’s desk after receiving a 37-0 Senate vote. (House Bill 791)

SPEND MORE ON THE JUDICIARY

The Senate agreed to raise spending by $3.5 million for the budget that finances the Louisiana Supreme Court and other parts of the state judiciary for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Senators added the increase, after the House voted for a standstill $176 million budget. The proposal goes back to the House for consideration of the spending hike after a 38-0 Senate vote. (House Bill 801)

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