By Friday's end, Louisiana should know whether the state Legislature will meet in another budget-crunching special session this month.
And if all goes according to Gov. John Bel Edwards and legislative leaders' plans, the Legislature will be back in Baton Rouge to try to sort out its finances ahead of the looming shortfall the state faces when temporary tax measures expire July 1.
Edwards, a Democrat, is scheduled to meet with House Speaker Taylor Barras and Senate President John Alario, both Republicans, one more time this week on Friday to try to feel out whether a special session will be fruitful, before making the final call whether a special session should begin Feb. 19. State law requires the governor is required to give a week notice when he calls a special session.
Encouraged by ongoing negotiations but not confident enough in the details, Edwards has already previously pushed back his decision deadline. But he says this week is the ultimate cut-off point because of the March 12 start of the regular session, during which lawmakers can't take up most revenue raising measures.