The special session of the Louisiana Legislature just wrapped up. It wrapped up short of its goal of closing the gap in our states tremendous budget shortfall. We got close but this is government, not horse shoes.  That special session is now history. Now comes the business of closing the real gap. The $800 million budget gap that is staring our state right in the face at the beginning of the regular session of the legislature.

Governor John Bel Edwards spoke to legislators about the budget and about some of his key projects for the session. One of those projects is the expansion of Medicare throughout the state. According to Edwards his plan would make it possible for more Louisiana residents to receive better health care and save the state $100 million in the process.

We will save money, promote individual responsibility, and achieve better health outcomes.

Edwards also suggested that legislators should consider making changes in the state's public schools. In particular the state's voucher program. 

I believe we should redesign the voucher eligibility so that only students that attend or would attend “D” or “F” schools would qualify. “C” schools by definition are not failing.

The Governor in his remarks also addressed changes in the way teachers and students are evaluated for their performance in the classroom.

The state's minimum wage was also addressed by the Governor in his opening remarks, as reported by the Louisiana Radio Network. Edwards suggested that the current minimum wage does not give Louisiana's working core a chance to actually better themselves.

$7.25 simply put, is not a living wage in 2016. Therefore I am proposing a modest increase in the state’s minimum wage so that we can give folks a fair shot.

The Governor is in support of a minimum wage increase to $8.00 per hour. He says under the current minimum wage 40% of Louisiana residents aren't earning enough to cover their basic living expenses.

All of these items and more will be up for debate and discussion as the regular session of the legislature is now underway in Baton Rouge.