State passes budget, OLA should be OK

Published 6:31 am Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Louisiana legislature’s special session — the second of the year — wrapped at midnight, Thursday.

With the close of the special session, the budget for the next fiscal year was set. While Gov. John Bel Edwards’ budget requests for higher education and the safety net hospitals were met, State Sen. Beth Mizell said the numbers could be “a bit shaky” yet.

“I’m still hoping that Our Lady of the Angels gets what it needs to finish out this year,” she said. “I believe it’ll be alright for the coming year, but I hope it’ll be able to finish out this year.”

Our Lady of the Angels CEO Rene Ragas could not comment on the budget allocations on Friday, because the final numbers had not yet been reported to him. However, he expected to have a clearer picture next week.

Mizell said legislators worked until the midnight deadline, passing bills back and forth between houses until they were reconciled.

“There was a lot of money being moved around at the last minute without much discussion, and that was frustrating,” she said.

On Friday, with the session wrapped up and with no plans for another special session, Mizell was spending time with her grandson and family.

“I’m glad to be out of there,” she said.

Her grandson has leukemia and the parish hosted a blood drive for him in Franklinton recently. She thanked everyone who participated.

“We appreciate the people who came out,” she said. “I don’t know the final number of donors, but I know it’s a sacrifice to put a needle in your arm so I appreciate that.”

Beyond family matters, Mizell said she’s looking forward to spending more time in the parish with constituents to tackle local issues.

The senator is planning another meet-and-greet with her constituents, although she has not picked a date. Mizell said that event will likely happen in Tangipahoa Parish.