- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Latest on the budget-rebalancing special legislative session (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Senators have started advancing legislation that would use Louisiana’s “rainy day” fund to help close the state’s $304 million budget deficit.

The Senate Finance Committee moved the proposal Tuesday to the full Senate for debate without action, meaning committee members didn’t vote in support or opposition of the idea.

Whether to tap into the fund - and how much to use - is the central disagreement of the budget-rebalancing debate.



Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to use the full one-third available, nearly $120 million. Senate leaders support that approach. But House Republicans are reticent to tap the savings account.

After two closed-door negotiating sessions between lawmakers and the governor Tuesday, no agreement was reached on a budget deal. Another meeting was planned Wednesday.

___

10 a.m.

Opening day formalities behind them, lawmakers and Gov. John Bel Edwards are trying to negotiate a deal to close Louisiana’s $304 million deficit.

The Democratic governor met Tuesday morning with top House and Senate leaders in closed-door talks, on the second day of a budget-rebalancing special session.

The central point of contention is whether to use Louisiana’s “rainy day” fund to help close the gap and if so, how much.

Edwards wants to use the full one-third available, nearly $120 million. Senate leaders support that approach. But House Republicans are reticent to tap the savings account.

Use of the rainy day fund requires a two-thirds legislative vote.

In the afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee considers the rainy day fund legislation, while the House Appropriations Committee starts sifting through cut proposals.

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