It was already a given I was going to support a special session of the Legislature in 2021 to attempt to override Governor Edwards decision. He had vetoed the Fairness In Women’s Sports Act (SB 156), STRIKE ONE! Then I received confirmation that the Governor had also vetoed the Constitutional Concealed Gun Carry Act (SB 118) STRIKE TWO! Now he also a package of Voting Protection Acts including my own SB 63, which simply clarifies how and when a requested mail in ballot may be hand delivered to the Registrar of Voters in their office or an early polling location during voting times, STRIKE THREE and bring on the Override Session!
The 2021 Legislative Session was successful despite Governor Edwards vetos and we might make it more successful later this month! We accomplished what we set out to do by passing a balanced budget. We tried to take care of the many pressing needs of our 4.6 million citizens and provide for government services to continue while respecting the freedoms and privacy of our citizens as best we could. We even figured a way to reduce general fund spending over time and dedicate that revenue towards building new roads and bridges while dedicating a portion to the huge backlog of repairs to existing bridges and roads.
Few people realize we have so many existing bridges in our area that are closed or severely weight limited…..33 bridges in Bossier Parish, 37 in Webster Parish, 32 in Bienville Parish and 17 in Claiborne Parish! These same bridges are required to bring timber to the lumber mill, cattle to the market, chickens to process, crude oil to refineries and people into town to work. We have ignored our rural roads and bridges for too long and I vow to fight for Senate District 36, a very large and rural Senate District. As information, I am a member of the Rural Legislators Caucus.
I also serve on the Senate Education Committee and very much enjoy that work. We championed a substantial pay raise for our teachers and support workers, and the committee intends to find even more money in the coming years for teacher pay. The legislature formed a task force to study Louisiana’s severe shortage of teachers and the lack of students going into the education field. Over 60% of our teachers change careers before completing 10 years of service! Under the leadership of Dr. Cade Brumley, Superintendent of Education, there is much attention being paid to early childhood education. As a part of that effort, I authored SB 116 requiring the training of our kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers in “Scientific Reading” which has shown to contribute dramatic improvements in reading and comprehension in a neighboring state. It is important that our youngest children learn to read so they can then read to learn in later years.
There is much more good news to tell you and I look forward to that in the near future. I’m honored to serve the citizens of Senate District 36 as State Senator and remind you that my Legislative Assistant is actually your assistant as well. Mrs. Brenda Autry and I are here to help, she is based in our Minden District office (318) 371-5200 and I am based in a satellite office in Bossier City (318) 798-3070. We both may be contacted by email at Sen36@legis.la.gov
State Senator Robert Mills, District 36