Louisiana Supreme Court expansion proposal fails in House

Louisiana

Louisiana Supreme Court (Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana won’t be expanding the state Supreme Court, after House lawmakers Wednesday blocked debate on the proposal a day before the legislative session must end.

The bill, co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Patrick McMath and Democratic Sen. Jimmy Harris, would have added two new seats to the Louisiana Supreme Court, increasing the court from seven justices to nine starting in 2025.

The move was expected to create at least one new majority-minority district on the high court and require a redrawing of districts for the first time in decades.

But while the measure won overwhelming bipartisan Senate support, the legislation fell short of the two-thirds vote it needed in the House when it came up Monday. Supporters tried to bring it back for a vote Wednesday, but only 67 members agreed to debate the bill. It needed 70 votes both to discuss it — and then to pass it.

Some lawmakers raised concerns about the mechanics of the bill and the delayed implementation of the expansion, while others questioned the need for the expansion at all.

If lawmakers had approved the expansion measure, it also would have required backing from voters in a statewide election.

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The bill is filed as Senate Bill 163.

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