White discusses legislature’s future

Published 2:31 am Friday, January 22, 2016

Recently elected State Rep. Malinda White spoke to the Bogalusa Rotary Club on Tuesday, detailing the busy upcoming year in the state legislature.

White, a Democrat and former Bogalusa City Council member, won the race to succeed State Rep. Harold Ritchie in November. She represents District 75, which includes portions of Washington and St. Tammany parishes.

White said that the legislature is expected to meet in a special session starting Feb. 15, in order to address the state’s budget crisis. That special session will likely continue through March 4, and then there will be a short “nine to 10 day break” before the legislature reconvenes for its regular session.
The regular session is expected to conclude June 6.

Lawmakers will have to fix a budget shortfall that could be as high as $1.9 billion in the upcoming fiscal year. White said that all options are on the table.

“It’s not going to be resolved by politicians who are far to the left or far to the right,” she said. “Most of the issues we face are somewhere down the middle.”

White said that she shares a number of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ biggest concerns, including improving Louisiana’s health care system and hospitals. She also is very hopeful that the state will be able to move forward on the proposed four-lane Highway 3241.

“I talk with anybody I meet about (the highway), and I will continue to talk about it,” she said.

White also expressed her concerns that Louisiana’s prison system needs to be reformed.

“We are incarcerating a lot of people who really need to be in rehab programs and other facilities,” she said.

White said that she has been busy with a variety of meetings and other events in Baton Rouge, but has never felt overwhelmed because the legislature has good staff members in place to help new legislators.

Citizens who wish to reach White can call her at 985-730-2147 or email her at whitema@legia.la.gov. She also has a local legislative office in Bogalusa at 116 Georgia Ave., adjacent to White’s Business Machines.