- Associated Press - Sunday, June 5, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Latest on House and Senate action in the regular legislative session (all times local):

8:45 p.m.

Louisiana lawmakers have reached a deal on a $26 billion operating budget for next year that makes widespread cuts to close a $600 million shortfall.

The House and Senate both approved the compromise proposal Sunday.

The spending plan looks largely similar to the budget drafted by the Senate, with minor adjustments to pay for a few specific items sought by the House.

The TOPS college tuition program would be funded at 48 percent of what is needed to fully cover eligible students. Safety-net hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured would be short. College campuses and K-12 education would take hits.

But the budget is only a first draft. Gov. John Bel Edwards is calling lawmakers into special session Monday evening to consider tax hikes to lessen the cuts.


4:15 p.m.

As they wind down their work in the regular session, lawmakers have agreed to give public college management boards the ability to raise their own tuition and fees without needing legislative approval.

Voters would need to back the idea in the November election before legislative authority would be relinquished.

With a 36-1 vote Sunday, the Senate gave final passage to the constitutional amendment proposal.

Higher education leaders pushed for the change.

Senators also gave final legislative passage to a proposal raising the adult prosecution age in Louisiana by one year, to include 17-year-old offenders in the juvenile justice system.

District attorneys could still charge 17-year-olds as adults for serious crimes.

A 33-4 vote sent the “Raise the Age” measure to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who intends to sign it into law.


3:30 p.m.

While lawmakers continue to haggle over the budget, they are trying to resolve other issues as the clock winds down on the regular legislative session.

The House and Senate held rare Sunday debate time to sift through remaining bills, on topics ranging from juvenile justice reform to college tuition oversight.

The regular session must end by 6 p.m. Monday.

But that doesn’t mean lawmakers are going home.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has called a special session to begin 30 minutes after the current session ends, hoping to persuade lawmakers to raise taxes to help close a $600 million budget gap.

Legislative leaders are negotiating on a $26 billion operating budget proposal that makes the cuts. But whatever budget passes by Monday is expected to be rewritten in the special session.

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