Louisiana State Legislature

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Louisiana State Legislature

Seal of Louisiana.png
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   April 8, 2013
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   John Alario (R)
House Speaker:  Charles Kleckley (R)
Members:  39 (Senate), 105 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 4 years (House)
Authority:   Art III, Louisiana Constitution
Salary:   $66,800/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 19, 2011
39 seats (Senate)
105 seats (House)
Next election:  November 2015
39 seats (Senate)
105 seats (House)
Redistricting:  Louisiana Legislature has control
The Louisiana State Legislature is the state legislature of Louisiana. It is a bicameral body, comprising the lower house, the Louisiana House of Representatives, and the upper house, the Louisiana State Senate.

The legislature meets in Louisiana's state capital, Baton Rouge.

The powers and privileges of the legislature are laid out in Article III of the Constitution of Louisiana.

Section 3 of Article III says that the number of members of each chamber of the legislature is set by state law, which means the number of senators and representatives can be changed over time, but in no case can there be more than 39 senators or 105 representatives.

The boundaries of legislative districts must be re-drawn every ten years in order to maintain proportional representation in each of the districts. Re-apportionment must take place by the end of the year following the year in which the state's population is reported to the president of the United States for each decennial federal census. The next such re-apportionment must take place before December 31, 2011.

As of May 2013, Louisiana is one of 24 Republican state government trifectas.


Article III of the Louisiana Constitution establishes when the Legislature 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.

Bills may be prefiled at any time, except between when the legislature adjourns for an election and when the election results are certified.[1]


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from April 8 to June 6.


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from March 12 through June 4.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from April 25 through June 23. The Legislature was in a special session regarding the census and redistricting from March 20-April 15. [2]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from March 29th to June 21st.[3]


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.[4][5] 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.[6]

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 get 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 new state House of Representatives map added two new majority-minority seats, which was one less than some lawmakers wanted. many feared that the justice department would reject the plan without another majority-minority seat, but their fears were unrealized as the Justice Department accepted Louisiana's first map for the first time since the VRA came into enforcement. Three more seats were allocated to the Baton Rouge area, and the legislators who voted against the new map came primarily from the New Orleans suburbs or were African American Democrats, many of whom were from New Orleans. The general loss of population in that area compounded with a sense that their requests were not addressed led these two groups to vote against the map.

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 has 11 majority-minority districts.



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.[7]


Louisiana does not provide pensions for legislators who took office after 1996.[8]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Louisiana legislators assume office at noon on the second Monday in January after their election.


The Louisiana Senate is the upper house of the state legislature of Louisiana. Each member represents an average of 116,240 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[9] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 114,589.[10]

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 13
     Republican Party 26
Total 39

House of Representatives

The Louisiana House of Representatives is the lower house in the Louisiana State Legislature. The House is composed of 105 Representatives. Each member represents an average of 43,175 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[11] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 42,562.[12] Members serve four-year terms with a term limit of three terms (twelve years). The House is one of the five state legislative lower houses that has a four-year term, as opposed to the more common two-year term.

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 44
     Republican Party 58
     Independent 2
     Vacancy 1
Total 105

Leadership of the House

The Speaker of the House presides over the House of Representatives. The Speaker is elected by the full House. In addition to presiding over the body, the Speaker is also the chief leadership position, and controls the flow of legislation and committee assignments. The House of Representatives also elects a Speaker pro tempore to preside in the absence of the Speaker.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Louisiana
Partisan breakdown of the Louisiana legislature from 1992-2013

Louisiana State Senate: 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 was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. The final three years of the study depicted a shift in the Louisiana senate with all three years being Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Louisiana State House of Representatives: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Louisiana State House of Representatives for the first 19 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last three years. The Louisiana State House of Representatives is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Louisiana was under Republican trifectas for the final three years of the study period.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives 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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Louisiana, the Louisiana State Senate and the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Louisiana state government(1992-2013).PNG

Joint Legislative Committees

External links