‘$25 billion budget bill sent to governor’

The Louisiana House of Representatives sent a $25 billion operating budget to Governor Bobby Jindal for his signature, the Advocate reported Wednesday. The bill strips out measures to reduce state employees’ pay and selling state prisons.

By agreeing to the Senate’s changes to House Bill 1 on a 101-0 vote, the House avoided a behind-the-scenes showdown to strike a compromise in the final days of the legislative session.

Budget approval without opposition with two days to spare is a rare occurrence in the state.

HB1 funds state government operations in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

“We have an instrument today that meets our needs (and) does not meet our wants,” said state Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, the budget bill’s sponsor.

Later in the day, Gov. Bobby Jindal praised the legislation as a budget that protects critical services such as health care and higher education. “The end result is a great budget for Louisiana,” the governor said.

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