Senate holds Saturday session to debate Louisiana’s budget

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana senators are debating a $29 billion state government operating budget for next year that would shield higher education programs, prisons and the child welfare agency from cuts.

The spending plans up for Senate debate Saturday use more money than the budget supported by the House.

House Republicans proposed to spend $206 million less than the state income forecast predicts will be available, as a cushion in case the forecast is too optimistic.

Senators are proposing to spend every dollar available, suggesting that without it, agencies would face unnecessary cuts that could damage critical services.

After the Senate puts the finishing touches on its proposal and passes it, that will set up final negotiations with the House in the hopes of striking a deal before the legislative session ends Thursday.

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