Louisiana State Senate
|Louisiana State Senate|
|Term limits:||3 terms (12 years)|
|2015 session start:||April 13, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||John Alario (R)|
Democratic Party (13)
Republican Party (26)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art III, Section 3, Louisiana Constitution|
|Last Election:||November 19, 2011 (39 seats)|
|Next election:||November 3, 2015 (39 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Louisiana legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Senators
- 6 Standing Senate Committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
As of March 2015, Louisiana is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.
Article III of the Louisiana Constitution establishes when the Louisiana State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 2 of Article III states that, in even-numbered years, the Legislature shall convene on the last Monday in March and meet for no more than sixty legislative days during a period of eighty-five calendar days. In odd-numbered years, the Legislature is to convene on the last Monday in April and meet for no more than forty-five legislative days during a period of sixty calendar days. During regular sessions in odd-numbered years, the Legislature can only consider measures regarding the state budget, revenues, and appropriations.
Section 2 of Article III also allows the Legislature to be called into a special session by the Governor of Louisiana or by a majority of the members of each legislative house. During special sessions, the Legislature can only legislate on matters related to the proclaimed purposes of the session.
Section 2 of Article III also authorizes the Governor of Louisiana to call an emergency session without prior notice in the event of a public emergency.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Senate was in session from March 10 through June 3.
Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included Common Core, education funding, Medicaid expansion, the coastal erosion lawsuit filed by the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East and the legalization of medical marijuana.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Senate was in session from April 8 through June 6.
Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included the state budget, an overhaul of public education, increasing the retirement age of public workers, gun control and abortion.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in session from March 12 through June 4.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the Senate was in session from March 29 to June 21.
Role in state budget
- See also: Louisiana state budget and finances
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in September.
- State agencies submit their budget requests in November.
- Agency hearings are held in January and February.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature 45 days prior to the regular session of the legislature (for a newly elected governor, this deadline is extended to 30 days prior to the regular session of the legislature).
- The legislature typically adopts a budget in June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Louisiana was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Louisiana received a grade of B+ and a numerical score of 88, indicating that Louisiana was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Louisiana was given a grade of D in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Louisiana is one of only four states that hold state elections in odd-numbered years. Clerk of the Louisiana House Alfred "Butch" Speer explains why:
For scores of years we conducted our party primaries in the winter of the odd numbered years, with any necessary 2d primary held in January. Because Republican voter registration was so miniscule from 1877 until 1980, the general elections were mere irritants to the Democrat primary victor. Once we scrapped the partisan primary system  we set the entire system up to run in the fall of the odd numbered year, our traditional election season.
- See also: Louisiana State Senate elections, 2011
During the 2011 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $13,611,411. The top 10 contributors were:
|2011 Donors, Louisiana State Senate|
|Peacock, R Barrow||$315,000|
|Smith Jr, Gary L||$300,000|
|Allain II, Robert L (Bret)||$265,500|
|Brown, Troy E||$198,275|
|Senate Democratic Campaign Cmte Of Louisiana||$193,811|
|Louisiana Republican Party||$191,448|
|Republican Legislative Delegation Campaign Cmte Of Louisiana||$175,000|
|Louisiana Democratic Party||$151,756|
- See also: Louisiana State Senate elections, 2007
Following the 2000 Census, each of Louisiana's 39 state senators represented an average population of 114,589 people. In 2007, Senate candidates raised a total of $18,266,324 in campaign contributions.
|Year||Number of candidates||Total contributions|
The top 10 donors were:
|2007 Donors, Louisiana State Senate|
|Leach Jr., Claude (Buddy)||$293,669|
|Senate Democratic Campaign Cmte of Louisiana||$249,598|
|Leach, Claude Buddy||$237,000|
|Louisiana Republican Party||$230,380|
|Quinn, Patrick & Julie||$230,000|
|John A. Alario, Jr.||$200,000|
|Louisiana Republican Legislative Delegation Campaign Cmte||$185,000|
|Louisiana Association of Business & Industry||$174,344|
- See also: Louisiana State Senate elections, 2003
Elections for the office of Louisiana State Senate consisted of a primary election on October 4, 2003, and a general election on November 15, 2003.
During the 2003 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $13,648,458. The top 10 contributors were:
|2003 Donors, Louisiana State Senate|
|Boasso, Walter J||$450,000|
|Evans, John M||$299,518|
|Landry, Wayne J||$255,000|
|B&W Farms Inc||$224,420|
|Senate Democratic Campaign Cmte Of Louisiana||$189,150|
|Amedee III, Lee (Jody)||$175,000|
|Louisiana Association Of Business & Industry||$159,978|
Elections for the office of Louisiana State Senate consisted of a general election on October 23, 1999.
During the 1999 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $12,374,378. The top 10 contributors were:
|1999 Donors, Louisiana State Senate|
|Louisiana Association Of Business & Industry||$227,244|
|Cade, Herbert A||$167,500|
|Johnson & Johnson Commodities||$140,500|
|Andry IV, Gilbert V||$94,000|
|Senate Democratic Campaign Cmte Of Louisiana||$73,059|
|Barham, Robert J||$70,742|
|Louisiana Medical Association||$66,882|
In order to run for office, the following qualifications are in place for candidates:
- Must be 18 years of age or older.
- Must be a resident of the district they seek to hold office to for a minimum of two years.
- Must not have served more than two and one half terms previously in office. This is for any candidate who has held office in the past after January 8, 1996.
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense.
- Have no outstanding fines with the Louisiana Ethics Administration Program.
- Pay a $225 filing fee with the Clerk of Court in the parish they reside in or collect 400 signatures.
- If running as a Republican or Democrat, pay an additional $112.50 filing fee with the state and/or parish executive committee of their party.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the senate, the vacant seat must be filled by a special election. An election is required if there is six months or more left in the unexpired term. The Senate President must call for an election no later than 10 days after the vacancy happened. The Senate President must determine the dates for the election along with all filing deadlines. The person elected to the seat serves for the remainder of the unexpired term.
- See also: State legislatures with term limits
The Louisiana legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Of the 15 states, it is the only state where term limits were imposed by the state's legislators, rather than through the ballot initiative process. Under Louisiana's term limits, state senators can serve no more than three 4-year terms in the senate.
The state's term limits law was enacted in 1995. The first year that the term limits enacted in 1995 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office was in 2007.
- See also: Redistricting in Louisiana
In Louisiana, the state legislature has control over the redistricting process. The redistricted maps are introduced as bills in the Senate and the House, and can be vetoed by the governor for any reason. Louisiana faces special scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act as a state with a history of using district lines as tools of racial discrimination, so all maps must be reviewed and preapproved by the U.S. Department of Justice before use.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Louisiana had the third-slowest growth rate of any state in the nation between 2000 and 2010. Only Rhode Island and Michigan experienced smaller positive population gains during this time period (notably, Michigan experienced an overall decrease in population). Louisiana grew 1.4 percent from 2000 to 2010, with a total population rise from 4.47 million in 2000 to 4.53 million in 2010. Notably, the South as a region experienced overall growth of 14.29 percent. Hurricane Katrina's impact caused enough people to move out of state to cost Louisiana a Congressional District. The population shifts also substantially affected state legislative districts, including the largely African-American city of New Orleans.
During the redistricting process, Louisiana legislators faced a compressed timeline compared to other states. The odd year elections meant that the 2011 elections in the fall would need districts soon enough to gain clearance from the Department of Justice per the Voting Rights Act, allow candidates to file in the appropriate districts, and leave time for the Blanket primary and the general election to happen in early November 2011.
The state Senate added two new majority-minority district for the 2011 elections, but took away seats from the New Orleans area overall, reflecting the loss of population in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The new Senate map included 11 majority-minority districts.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of March 2015|
The President and President Pro Tempore of the Senate are elected by the full body, needing at least 20 votes for confirmation. The President is the presiding officer of the body, whose duties include preserving order, calling votes, appointing/removing members of each Senate and conference committee, and approving all expenditures of the Senate. In the absence of the President, the President Pro Tempore assumes all duties of the position.
|Current Leadership, Louisiana State Senate|
|President of the Senate||John Alario||Republican|
|President Pro Tempore||Sharon Weston Broome||Democratic|
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Louisiana legislature are paid $16,800/year. Additionally, legislators receive $6,000/year for expenses and $149/day per diem tied to the federal rate.
Louisiana does not provide pensions for legislators who took office after 1996.
When sworn in
Louisiana legislators assume office at noon on the second Monday in January after their election.
Standing Senate Committees
There are 17 standing committees in the Louisiana Senate. These committees are comprised of seven members with the exception of two committees, the Finance Committee and the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, which have 11 each. It is under the discretion of the Senate President to appoint and remove members of a committee.
- Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development
- Commerce, Consumer Protection, and International Affairs
- Environmental Quality
- Health & Welfare
- Judiciary A
- Judiciary B
- Judiciary C
- Labor & Industrial Relations
- Local & Municipal Affairs
- Natural Resources
- Revenue & Fiscal Affairs
- Senate & Governmental Affairs
- Transportation, Highways & Public Works
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Louisiana State Senate for 19 years while the Republicans were the majority for three years. The Louisiana State Senate is one of 16 state senates that were Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992 and 2013. The final three years of the study depicted a shift in the Louisiana Senate with all three years showing Republican trifectas.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state Senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Kentucky state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Louisiana has had three periods of trifectas, two Democratic trifectas (1992-1995 and 2004-2007) and one Republican trifecta (2011-2013). Louisiana had its longest period of divided government between 1996 and 2003. For all but two years of the study, Louisiana has ranked in the bottom 10 in the SQLI ranking and only left the bottom 10 in the last two years of the study, 2011 and 2012. The state’s lowest ranking came in 1993 and 1994 under a Democratic trifecta. Its highest ranking (36th) came in 2012 under a Republican trifecta.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 46.25
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 38.00
- SQLI average with divided government: 45.73
- Louisiana House of Representatives
- Governor of Louisiana
- Louisiana State Legislature
- Louisiana Constitution
- Official website of the Louisiana State Senate
- Official list of Louisiana State Senators
- Louisiana State Senate on Wikipedia
- legis.la.gov, "About the Legislature," accessed December 16, 2013
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," April 2011
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
- Associated Press, "Jindal pushes worker training as legislative session opens," March 10, 2014
- American Press, "Education, lawsuit key issues," March 9, 2014
- wwltv.com, "A look at major issues at session's halfway point," April 24, 2013(dead link)
- Louisiana State Senate, "2011 Regular Session," accessed July 10, 2014
- Louisiana State Senate, "2011 1st Extraordinary Session," accessed July 10, 2014
- Louisiana State Senate, "2010 Regular Session," accessed July 10, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- The Thicket, "Why do Four States Have Odd-Year Elections?," August 25, 2011
- Follow the Money, "Louisiana 2011 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Louisiana 2007 Candidates," accessed July 10, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Louisiana 2003 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Louisiana 1999 Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "Qualify for an Election," accessed December 16, 2013
- Louisiana Legislature, "Louisiana Election Code," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Statute 18:601, Louisiana Statutes)
- Ruston Daily Leader, "Loss of one congressional seat a result of low population growth in state," accessed December 31, 2010
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change," March 2011
- New Orleans Times Picayune, "Redistricting is expected to cost New Orleans three districts in the Louisiana House of Representatives," January 19, 2011
- Louisiana State Senate, "Rules of Order - Chapter 3: Officers," accessed July 10, 2014
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- USA Today, "State-by-state: Benefits available to state legislators," September 23, 2011
State of Louisiana
Baton Rouge (capital)
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | State Treasurer | Superintendent of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry | Secretary of Natural Resources | Executive Director of the Workforce Commission | Chairman of Public Service Commission |
Louisiana Supreme Court | Circuit Court of Appeals | District Courts | Family Court | Juvenile Courts | Parish Courts | Justice of the Peace Courts | City Courts | Mayor's Courts | Magistrate Courts | Traffic Courts | Judicial selection in Louisiana |