- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The latest developments from Inauguration Day in Louisiana:

12:27 p.m.

John Bel Edwards has been sworn in as the 56th governor of the state of Louisiana.

Edwards is promising that he will not be a “business-as-usual governor,” as he takes office.

Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South after an improbable election victory.

He follows term-limited Republican Bobby Jindal into office, inheriting a budget mess that will require the Democratic leader to work with a majority GOP Legislature.

Six other statewide elected officials were also sworn into office Monday with Edwards.


12:11 p.m.

Six statewide elected officials have been sworn into office, ahead of the inauguration of Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Four are returning for another term: Secretary of State Tom Schedler, Treasurer John Kennedy, Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.

Two are newly-selected: Former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser took office as lieutenant governor, and former congressman Jeff Landry as attorney general.

The men, all Republicans, took their oaths of office Monday on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol at Edwards’ inauguration ceremony.


11:22 a.m.

The Louisiana House has rejected incoming Gov. John Bel Edwards’ pick to be its speaker.

Instead, the majority Republican chamber voted Monday for Rep. Taylor Barras, a Republican from New Iberia, to lead the House, asserting its independence against the Democratic governor.

Barras was a last-minute surprise candidate in the race who emerged in the final hours before the vote. Edwards wanted Democratic Rep. Walt Leger of New Orleans in the role. But GOP leaders and conservative groups pushed back, urging Republican House members to select a speaker from their own party.

Barras received 56 votes, while Leger got support from 49 members.

House Clerk Alfred “Butch” Speer says the last contested speaker’s election was in 1984.

The Senate maintained its current president, Republican John Alario, but used a new secret ballot process to cast votes.


11:04 a.m.

The Louisiana Senate has re-elected John Alario to his second four-year term as Senate president, using a secret ballot in a break from tradition.

Senators unanimously voted to re-elect Alario, a Westwego Republican, shortly before the state’s incoming governor, John Bel Edwards, was scheduled to deliver his inaugural address. Electing Alario by secret ballot was ostensibly seen as a way to limit the governor’s customary role in picking the Senate president, but Edwards has said he didn’t object to Alario’s selection.

Sen. Gerald Long, a Natchitoches Republican, was elected President Pro Tempore - the Senate’s number two leadership position.

Eleven of the 39 senators who were sworn into office are Senate newcomers.


10:15 a.m.

Louisiana’s 144 state lawmakers have been sworn in for their new four-year terms, as the House and Senate held their organizational sessions.

Republicans have solid majorities in each chamber.

In the Senate, the GOP holds 25 seats, while Democrats have the remaining 14. Sixty-one of the House’s 105 seats are held by Republicans, while 42 lawmakers in the chamber are Democrats and two are unaffiliated with a political party.

The Senate has 11 new members out of 39 seats, and 29 new lawmakers were seated in the House. Four lawmakers who served in the House last term moved up to the Senate, which already was packed with ex-House members.

Lawmakers were also scheduled Monday to vote for their chamber’s leaders.


8:15 a.m.

Incoming Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, has started the day of his swearing-in ceremony with prayer.

Edwards, his family, friends and supporters on Monday morning attended a Catholic mass at a downtown Baton Rouge cathedral. The mass was by invitation only, closed to the public and media.

Edwards’ inauguration ceremony will be held a few hours later on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol, where he’ll take the oath of office as Louisiana’s 56th governor. He’s expected to call for bipartisanship and unity in his speech, a nod to his need to work with a majority Republican Legislature to fix the state’s financial problems.

Six other statewide elected officials also will take their oaths of office with Edwards. Louisiana’s 144 state lawmakers will be seated before the inauguration ceremony.

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