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Speaker of the House Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, uses his left hand to gavel in the House for the two month legislative fiscal session Monday April 8, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La. Barras sustained an injurgy to his right arm recently.

Today in The Rundown: Session kicks off with Gov. John Bel Edwards' annual State of the State address; Harrah's tries again for an extension; Minimum wage debate resumes with a change; Fantasy sports debates on deck at Louisiana Legislature; and everything else you need to know in Louisiana politics today.

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The Countdown…

Days until the session must end: 59

Days until election day: 187

The News

State of the State: Gov. John Bel Edwards gave his annual session-opening address on Monday. Read the full text of the SOTS:

Minimum wage: In his latest push for a minimum wage hike in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards is aiming a little higher -- 50 cents to be exact:

Church fires: Gov. Edwards opened his speech with a nod to the "disturbing" recent fires that have struck four churches in Louisiana and the ongoing investigation into their causes.

Audits: The Louisiana Tax Commission recovered $15,288 paid to its former administrator for work when he was actually playing golf, running errands, visiting a spa and lunching at Hooters, according to a state audit released Monday.

LALege leadership: House Speaker Taylor Barras is presiding over the state House with his right arm in a sling after a fall from a ladder while doing yard work.

Harrah's: The state's only land-based casino in New Orleans is trying again to preemptively extend its license, five years before it expires, without the state putting it out for bid. Here's why its chances look better this time:

Gambling: A state lawmaker's recent disclosure that she is a gambling addict and was removed from a casino after adding herself to the state’s self-exclusion list has highlighted a program that — by design — is little known to the public.

Fantasy sports: After a majority of parishes agreed to legalize fantasy sports wagering last fall, a push is mounting in the Legislature to spell out rules for the games.

Fundraising: In the week leading up to the session's start, state lawmakers were in a frenzied push to bulk up their campaign coffers before hitting a black-out period when they are barred from raising money.

ICYMI: Some Republicans took issue with LSU coach Ed Orgeron's appearance at Gov. John Bel Edwards' recent fundraiser.

Happening today

At the Capitol

The House comes in at 4 p.m., and the Senate convenes at 5 p.m.

House Committee Meetings

  • Appropriations meets at 9 a.m. in Room 5.

Senate Committee Meetings

  • Finance meets at  a.m. in Room A-B.
  • Retirement meets at 9 a.m. in Room E.
  • Revenue and Fiscal Affairs meets at 9 a.m. in John J. Hainkel, Jr. Room.
  • Judiciary C meets at 11 a.m. in Room F.
  • Health and Welfare meets at 1 p.m. in John J. Hainkel, Jr. Room.

Joint Committee Meetings

  • Capital Area Road and Bridge District meets at 1 p.m. in the Claiborne Building.

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