The stream has ended.
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Gov. John Bel Edwards made his final appearance as the head of the state before the Press Club of Baton Rouge at noon on Monday, May 1.
When Edwards delivered his final State of the State, he said he wanted to raise teacher pay and the minimum wage. He also mentioned that the legislature should repeal the death penalty and invest in paid family leave.
He started out by thanking the media for keeping everyone informed.
“That is certainly the case here in Louisiana. By keeping them informed on a daily basis so that they can be better citizens but most importantly, and in too many cases that I’ve been governor, the information that you provide has actually helped people stay alive whether it’s because of a hurricane or severe weather or COVID,” he said.
Edwards discussed his legislative goals including what he plans for this year’s fiscal session, higher education and the minimum wage.
The 2023 Fiscal Session
“It is a fiscal session for this last regularly scheduled session and my second term as governor. I hope there will not see an unscheduled special session,” he said. “We’ve had enough of those as well.”
Edwards said he feels good about the budget that’s been presented to the legislature.
“That’s primarily House Bill 1 which is next year’s operating budget, but also the supplemental budget for the current year,” he said. “And House Bill Two which is the capital construction budget, because of the increased investments that we’re able to make this year as reflected in the budget, I believe it is truly transformational and it continues to progress and build momentum on things that I think we all believed to be a priority. And it’s such a far cry from where we were the first year that I became governor.”
He said that where the state is today compared to 2016 is impressive.
“We’ve allocated nearly five and a half billion dollars to more than 2000 infrastructure projects, including 7000 miles of road in Louisiana that’s set to receive approximately $1 billion a year just on the bridge program,” he said.
Internet access across the state
The governor said he is committed to closing the digital divide.
“Making sure that every address in the state of Louisiana, residential and business, has access to high-speed internet,” he said.
“If we want to change education, we want to have better outcomes, it has to start in Early childhood education,” he said.
He said that the state doesn’t have enough teachers or enough students entering the education field to go into the classroom.
“And then you look at what our neighboring states have done over the last few years with very large pay raises,” he said. “And that’s why I believe that we need to have a raise for teachers in the budget.”