BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana legislature is in session. State lawmakers will handle the people’s business for the next three months in Baton Rouge.
Gov. Bobby Jindal told lawmakers the biggest challenge now facing the state is training enough workers to fill the new jobs his administration has attracted to the state over the past six years.
Lawmakers also plan to tackle a wide range of topics, from education reform to attempts to raise the minimum wage.
Jindal received a cordial welcome as he entered the House chambers to lay out his legislative agenda.
He told members of the House and Senate his administration wants to up the ante when it comes to higher education, to the tune of $140 million.
“We must educate our children our people with the skills they need to thrive in this modern economy,” Jindal said.
Jindal asked lawmakers to support his proposals to crack down on the scourge of human trafficking in the state.
He also wants to make it tougher for people to file frivolous lawsuits.
“To make sure Louisiana has got a predictable and a fair legal environment,” Jindal said.
There was no mention of the heated debate looming over whether to scrap tough new educational standards known as Common Core.
“I think it makes good business sense for our kids to be prepared, not just for New Orleans and Louisiana, but being prepared to compete against the entire world,” said state Rep. Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans.
State Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Jefferson, said, “I think we’re going to spend a lot of time looking at the specific details of it and hopefully we’ll make some strong changes.”
There are also bills filed to expand Medicaid and raise the minimum wage.
“I’ve always been a free market guy and I think that the market determines the wages,” said state Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie.
State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, said, “The bottom line is the basic issue of fairness and equity and what people need to sustain themselves.”