Special session collapses in dramatic final minutes

Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, refused to yield for a final vote on a revenue measure Monday night at the end of the special session. (Photo: Sarah Gamard)

Paul Braun, Tryfon Boukouvidis and Drew White

The Legislature passed a budget late Monday with deep cuts to TOPS and higher education minutes before the tense end of a special session, and House Republicans rejected attempts to raise revenue to soften the cuts.

The final budget bill would slash funding for TOPS scholarships by 30 percent, cut spending on public universities by $96 million and impose across-the-board cuts on other state agencies.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said he would consider vetoing the bill. He blamed some of the House Republicans, referring to them as “that extreme caucus of no standing in the way of the state of Louisiana.” He added that he would call legislators back later this month for a third special session to try again to raise more revenue.

Democrats in both chambers and some Republicans were shocked and angry when Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, seized the microphone at 11:59 p.m. to prevent a second vote on a bill that would have raised $540 million to avert most of the cuts.

Read the story in WWL-TV.

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