higher education schools reopening covid

The Louisiana Legislature began its two-month meeting on Monday this week. The agenda includes crafting a budget, tackling tax changes and divvying up $3.2 billion in federal coronavirus aid.

First Branch News | Legislative Headlines, Week of April 12, 2021

By Gene Rose | April 16, 2021 | State Legislatures News |   Print

First Branch News is NCSL’s weekly roundup of legislative headlines from news sources across the country and throughout the territories.

This week, Louisiana opened its legislative session, several states worked to limit gubernatorial power and several new lawmakers won special elections.

Authority of Legislatures

The nationwide tension between legislatures and governors drew more national attention this week, this time from the Washington Post. The Indiana House and Senate agreed to override the governor’s veto of a bill giving the legislature more emergency powers, setting up a possible court fight. The Montana Legislature also overrode the governor’s veto of a bill that allows the body to repeal administration rules created when it is out of session. The Idaho House and Senate agreed on a measure to call the legislature into special session. The Texas Senate approved legislation to prevent the governor from shutting down or limiting business operations. The Wisconsin Supreme Court said the governor can’t limit business capacity. Voters in Pennsylvania will weigh in on disaster powers following measures approved by the legislature.

Legislative Operations

The Louisiana Legislature opened its 2021 session this week. The public now has limited access to the Nevada Statehouse.

Below: Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) wished Representative Eddie Mannis (R) a happy birthday.


Legislators and Staff in the News

Georgia’s lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan (R), is unlikely to run for a second term. The Florida Politics website handicapped the race to become that state’s new House speaker. Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R), Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D) and Wisconsin Senator Chris Larson (D) have tested positive for COVID-19. New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D), who is retiring next year, had a personal reaction to the death of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. The Kansas Senate removed Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop (R) from his position.

Below: Wisconsin House Speaker Robin Vos (R) welcomed new member Elijah Behnke (R) to the Assembly.


Bill Boyd (R) won a special election for a New Hampshire House seat that opened after the death of House Speaker Dick Hinch (R). Tony Scott (R) won a special election to fill the Connecticut House seat held by J.P. Sredzinski, who resigned. Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D) reflected on the end of her first term and looked ahead to the future. The Oklahoma Senate paid tribute to John McCoy (D), who retired from the body last year. Wisconsin Senator Julian Bradley (R) reflected on his first few months as the state’s first Black Republican senator. Following the Senate’s confirmation of Sabina Matos (D), Rhode Island swore her in as the state’s first Latina lieutenant governor. The Hawaii House voted to suspend pay raises for the legislature.

Below: Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch (D) announced that Jaclyn Driscoll will serve as his new press spokesperson.


Maine Representative Bill Pluecker (I) was appointed to serve on NCSL’s Agriculture Task Force. NCSL’s 2021 Legislative Summit will be held in Tampa, Nov. 3-5. Alabama will host the National Lieutenant Governors meeting this year.

This Week From NCSL’s State Legislatures News

Articles from news sources curated in First Branch News are provided for information purposes only and do not reflect NCSL views.

Gene Rose is NCSL’s communications director.

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