Louisiana State Senate

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Louisiana State Senate
Louisiana State Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
3 terms (12 years)
New session started
April 25, 2011
John A. Alario, Jr. (R)
since January 9, 2012
Sharon Weston Broome (D)
since January 14, 2008
Danny Martiny (R)
since January 14, 2008
Danny Martiny (R)
since March, 2012
Seats 39
Senate diagram 2014 State of Louisiana.svg
Political groups

Governing party

Opposition party

Length of term
4 years
Authority Article III, Section 3, Louisiana Constitution
Salary $15,362/year
Last election
November 19, 2011
(39 seats)
Next election
November 2015
(39 seats)
Redistricting Legislative Control
Meeting place
Louisiana State Senate.jpg
State Senate Chamber
Louisiana State Capitol
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State Senate

The Louisiana State Senate (French: Sénat de Louisiane) is the upper house of the state legislature of Louisiana. All senators serve four-year terms and are assigned multiple committees to work on. The Republicans gained control of the chamber in 2011 after a special election in District 26 brought victory to their nominee, Jonathan W. Perry. Previously the Democratic Party held a majority in the Senate. The Senate President is a Democrat-turned-Republican, John Alario from Westwego.


The Louisiana State Senate is composed of 39 senators elected from single-member districts from across the state of Louisiana by the electors thereof. Senators must be a qualified elector (registered voter), be at least eighteen years of age, be domiciled in their district for at least one year, and must have been a resident of the state for at least two years. The senate is the judge of its members' qualifications and elections. All candidates for a senate seat in a district run in nonpartisan blanket primary and in a runoff if necessary. Elections to the Senate occur every four years and senators are limited three four-year terms (12 years). If a seat is vacated early during a term then it will be filled in a special election. Senate sessions occur every year, along with the Louisiana House of Representatives. The Senate convenes for sixty legislative days in general session in even-numbered years, and for forty-five years in appropriations session in odd-numbered years. The Senate is the upper legislative chamber of the Louisiana State Legislature and, along with the Louisiana House of Representatives, is the legislative power of the State of Louisiana. In addition it tries officials impeached by the House of Representatives and confirms or rejects officials nominated by the Governor of Louisiana.

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Vacant
End of previous legislature 22 17 39 0
Begin 24 15 39 0
May 31, 2013[1] 25 14
July 16, 2013[2] 26 13
Latest voting share 66.7% 33.3%

Current membership[edit]

District Name Party District Office First elected
1 A.G. Crowe Rep Slidell 2007
2 Troy Brown Dem Napoleonville 2011
3 J.P. Morrell Dem New Orleans 2008†
4 Ed Murray Dem New Orleans 2005†
5 Karen Carter Peterson Dem New Orleans 2010†
6 Bodi White Rep Baton Rouge 2011
7 David Heitmeier Dem New Orleans 2007
8 John Alario Rep Westwego 2007
9 Conrad Appel Rep Metairie 2008†
10 Daniel Martiny Rep Metairie 2007
11 Jack Donahue Rep Mandeville 2007
12 Ben Nevers Dem Bogalusa 2003
13 Dale M. Erdey Rep Livingston 2007
14 Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb Dem Baton Rouge 2007
15 Sharon Weston Broome Dem Baton Rouge 2004†
16 Dan Claitor Rep Baton Rouge 2009†
17 Rick Ward, III Rep Port Allen 2011
18 Jody Amedee Rep Gonzales 2003
19 Gary Smith, Jr. Dem Norco 2011
20 Norby Chabert Rep Houma 2009†
21 Bret Allain Rep Franklin 2011
22 Fred H. Mills, Jr. Rep New Iberia 2011†
23 Page Cortez Rep Lafayette 2011
24 Elbert Guillory Rep Opelousas 2009†
25 Dan "Blade" Morrish Rep Jennings 2007
26 Jonathan Perry Rep Kaplan 2011†
27 Ronnie Johns Rep Lake Charles 2011
28 Eric LaFleur Dem Ville Platte 2007
29 Rick Gallot Dem Ruston 2011
30 John R. Smith Rep Leesville 2007
31 Gerald Long Rep Winnfield 2007
32 Neil Riser Rep Columbia 2007
33 Mike Walsworth Rep West Monroe 2007
34 Francis C. Thompson Dem Delhi 2007
35 Robert Kostelka Rep Monroe 2003
36 Robert Adley Rep Benton 2003
37 Barrow Peacock Rep Bossier 2011
38 Sherri Smith Buffington Rep Keithville 2003
39 Gregory Tarver Dem Shreveport 2011
†First elected in a special election

Senate Committees[edit]

The Louisiana State Senate currently has over fifteen different committees in which the senators sit. These committees address a wide range of issues such as environmental quality, education, labor relations and more . A full list of the committees can be found at the senate committees page. Likewise, a full list of committee assignments (by member) can be found at the committee assignments page.

Name Chairman Vice Chairman
Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development Francis Thompson R. L. "Bret" Allain
Commerce, Consumer Protection, and International Affairs Danny Martiny Rick Gallot
Education Conrad Appel Eric LaFleur
Eviromental Quality Mike Walsworth Troy E. Brown
Finance Jack Donahue Norby Chabert
Health and Welfare David Heitmeier Fred H. Mills
Insurance Blade Morrish Gary Smith
Judiciary A Ben Nevers Dan Claitor
Judiciary B J. P. Morrell Ronnie Johns
Judiciary C Bob Kostelka Jonathan Perry
Labor and Industrial Relations A. G. Crowe Ed Murray
Local and Municipal Affairs Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb Gregory Tarver
Natural Resources Gerald Long Rick Ward
Retirement Elbert Guillory Page Cortez
Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Neil Riser Dale Erdey
Senate and Governmental Affairs Jody Amedee Mike Walsworth
Transportation, Highways, and Public Works Robert Adley Sherri Smith Buffington

President of the Senate[edit]

The President of the Louisiana State Senate is the presiding officer of the Louisiana State Senate and the highest-ranking state senator. The President is elected the members of the state senate. Although not mandated by law or the Louisiana Constitution the Governor usually chooses the president, who in turn is usually elected by a near-unanimous, if not unanimous, vote. The president is usually chosen from the majority party, even if it is not the Governor's party. Although this is not always the case. One example of this is when Republican Governor Mike Foster chose Republican State Senator John Hainkel to serve as senate president even though the Democrats had a large majority. One factor that allows for this is that the Governor usually has support on both sides of the aisle when he first enters office so his appointees, including the senate president, are usually confirmed easily.

The President is fifth in the line of succession to the Governorship after the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and State Treasurer.


Early years[edit]

The Louisiana Constitution of 1812 did not provide for a lieutenant governor to succeed to the governorship in case of the governor's death, resignation or removal from office, neither would there be a lieutenant governor to preside over the state senate, instead it provided that the President would serve as the state senate's presiding officer and become acting governor until the seating of an elected governor. The first senate president to succeed to the governorship was Henry S. Thibodaux, who succeeded to the position in 1824 after the resignation of Governor Thomas B. Robertson. Thibodaux served for one month before the Governor-elect, Henry Johnson, took office. In 1829 Governor Pierre Derbigny died in a carriage accident, allowing for Senate President Armand Beauvais to become acting governor. Beauvais resigned after only three months in 1830 to run in the special election to fill the post. The new senate president, Jacques Dupré, became the new acting Governor until he resigned in 1831 and was replaced by governor-elect André B. Roman.

Lieutenant Governor as President[edit]

In the Louisiana Constitution of 1846 the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana assumed the functions of the senate presidency. This arrangement lasted until 1976. The first lieutenant governor to preside over the Senate was Trasimond Landry who served from 1846 until 1850. During the Civil War there were two lieutenant governors, one union, and one confederate, as there were two separate state governments. During the Reconstruction the post was held by Republicans, thereafter the chair was held by Democrats for over a hundred years.

Democratic Domination (1877-1976)[edit]

From the end of the Reconstruction in 1877 until the appointment of John Hainkel in 2000, the senate chair was held by Democrats. During this time most lieutenant governors were allies of the Governor, with notable exceptions. During this time several senate presidents pro tempore became acting lieutenant governor due to the premature vacating of the office of lieutenant governor. On at least two occasions it was due the ascension the lieutenant governor to the governorship, in the case of the others it was because of the death, resignation or removal of the lieutenant governor. When the seat was vacated the president pro tempore became acting lieutenant governor in accordance with the constitution, and on two occasions the president pro tempore became governor. In 1976 with implementation of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 the lieutenant governor assumed executive duties and the gavel once again passed to a senate elected President.

Two-party system (1976-present)[edit]

The reinstatement of the elected senate presidency and a the installation of a new constitution brought with it something Louisiana had not seen since the 1850s; a two-party system. Also new to the presidency the practicing of appointing of the president by the Governor. This practice had been applied to the state House Speakership for years. In 1980 something that had not happened since the Reconstruction became a reality; a Republican governor was in office. David Treen was elected in 1979, and with him came more Republican legislators, although only an enlarged minority, and in 2000, although still in the minority, Republican John Hainkel was appointed by Republican Governor Murphy J. Foster, Jr. to be senate president, the first Republican in over a century. In 2011 the Republicans obtained a majority in the senate, a Republican John Alario was appointed senate president by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.


The President of the Senate serves as the presiding officer and head of the Senate. The President gives the senators their committee assignment although the assignments are already predetermined by the Governor and his office. During legislative sessions the President can play a key role in the passage or rejection of legislation in the legislature, due to the office's prestige, power, and influence. If a senator supports the Governor's agenda the president may promote them to more powerful committees, or even appoint them chairman or vice chairmanships. The president usually maintains a strong hold on the senate and legislation through his appointment of committee memberships and committee chairmen. The president has the power to rule on points of order recognize senators so they may speak and control the flow of legislation through the senate. The senate president is almost always an ally of the Governor, this allows the administration to pass their legislative agenda through easier and it allows them to kill opposition legislation easier too. The senate president is usually a powerful and influential senator before he is appointed senate president. If a senate seat falls vacant before the expiration f its term the senate president calls for an election, he sets the date, times, and places of voting. Upon the petition of a majprity of the members of the legislature the President along with the Speakers calls a special session. The senate president is fifth in the gubernatorial line of succession. If the president is ever absent the senate president pro tempore, who is also appointed by the governor, presides. Should the senate chair ever fall permanently vacant the senate president pro tempore presides until the election of a new president.

List of Presidents since 1880[edit]

Julien Poydras President of the Senate 1812–1813 Republican (Creole) William C. C. Claiborne (A)

Fulwar Skipwith President of the Senate 1814–1815 Republican (American) William C. C. Claiborne (A)

Nathaniel Meriam President of the Senate 1816–1819 Republican (American) Jacques Villeré (C)

Julien Poydras President of the Senate 1820–1821 Republican (Creole) Thomas B. Robertson (A)

Bernard Xavier Phillippe Marigny de Mandeville President of the Senate 1822 Republican (Creole) Thomas B. Robertson (A)

Henry Schuyler Thibodaux President of the Senate 1823–1826 National Republican (Creole) Thomas B. Robertson (A), Henry Johnson (NR)

Arnaud Beauvais President of the Senate 1827–1829 National Republican (Creole) Henry Johnson (NR), Pierre Derbigny (NR)

Isaac A. Smith President of the Senate 1830–1831 National Republican Jacques Dupré (NR)

Charles Derbigny President of the Senate 1832–1837 Whig Andre B. Roman (NR), Edward Douglass White (W)

Joseph E. Johnston President of the Senate 1838 Whig Edward Douglass White (W)

Jacques Dupré President of the Senate 1838 Whig Edward Douglass White (W)

Felix Garcia President of the Senate 1839–1845 Whig André B. Roman (W), Alexandre Mouton (D)

Trasimond Landry Lieutenant Governor 1846–1850 Whig Isaac Johnson (D)

Jean Baptiste Plauché Lieutenant Governor 1850–1853 Democratic Joseph M. Walker (D)

William Wood Farmer Lieutenant Governor 1853–1854 Democratic Paul O. Hébert (D)

Robert Charles Wickliffe President pro tempore 1854–1856 Democratic Paul O. Hébert (D)

Charles Homere Mouton Lieutenant Governor 1856 Democratic Robert C. Wickliffe (D)

William F. Griffin President pro tempore 1856–1860 Democratic Robert C. Wickliffe (D)

Henry M. Hyams Lieutenant Governor 1860–1864 Democratic Thomas O. Moore (D)

Benjamin W. Pearce Lieutenant Governor 1864–1865 Democratic Henry Watkins Allen (D)

James Madison Wells Lieutenant Governor 1864 Union Democratic Michael Hahn (R)

Charles Smith President pro tempore 1864 Republican Michael Hahn (R)

Charles W. Boyce President pro tempore 1864 Republican Michael Hahn (R)

Louis Gastinel President pro tempore 1864 Republican Michael Hahn

Victor Burthe President pro tempore 1865 Republican James Madison Wells (UD)

Albert Voorhies Lieutenant Governor 1866–1868 Republican James Madison Wells (UD)

Oscar James Dunn Lieutenant Governor 1868–1871 Republican Henry Clay Warmoth (R)

P. B. S. Pinchback President pro tempore 1871–1872 Republican Henry Clay Warmoth (R)

Caesar Carpetier Antoine Lieutenant Governor 1873–1877 Republican William Pitt Kellogg (R)

Louis Alfred Wiltz Lieutenant Governor 1877–1880 Democratic Francis T. Nicholls (D)

Samuel Douglas McEnery Lieutenant Governor 1880–1881 Democratic Louis A. Wiltz (D)

William Allen Robertson President pro tempore 1881 Democratic Samuel D. McEnery (D)

George L. Walton President pro tempore 1881–1884 Democratic Samuel D. McEnery (D)

Henry Clay Knobloch Lieutenant Governor 1884–1888 Democratic Samuel D. McEnery (D)

James Jeffries Lieutenant Governor 1888–1892 Democratic Francis T. Nicholls (D)

Charles Parlange Lieutenant Governor 1892–1894 Anti-Lottery Democratic Murphy J. Foster (D)

Hiram R. Lott President pro tempore 1894–1896 Democratic Murphy J. Foster (D)

Robert H. Snyder Lieutenant Governor 1896–1900 Democratic Murphy J. Foster (D)

Albert Estopinal, Sr. Lieutenant Governor 1900–1904 Democratic William Wright Heard (D)

Jared Young Sanders, Sr. Lieutenant Governor 1904–1908 Democratic Newton Crain Blanchard (D)

Paul M. Lambremont Lieutenant Governor 1908–1912 Democratic Jared Y. Sanders, Sr. (D)

Thomas C. Barrett Lieutenant Governor 1912–1916 Democratic Luther E. Hall (D)

Fernand Mouton Lieutenant Governor 1916–1920 Democratic Ruffin G. Pleasant (D)

Hewitt Leonadis Bouanchaud Lieutenant Governor 1920–1924 Democratic John M. Parker (D)

Delos R. Johnson President pro tempore 1924 Democratic John M. Parker (D)

Oramel Hinckley Simpson Lieutenant Governor 1924–1926 Democratic Henry Fuqua (D)

Philip H. Gilbert President pro tempore 1926–1928 Democratic Oramel H. Simpson (D)

Paul Narcisse Cyr Lieutenant Governor 1928–1931 Democratic Huey P. Long (D)

Alvin Olin King President pro tempore 1931–1932 Democratic Huey P. Long (D)

John Baptiste Fournet Lieutenant Governor 1932–1935 Democratic O. K. Allen (D)

Thomas C. Wingate President pro tempore 1935 Democratic O. K. Allen (D)

James Albert Noe, Sr. President pro tempore 1935–1936 Democratic O. K. Allen (D)

Earl Kemp Long Lieutenant Governor 1936–1939 Democratic Richard Leche (D)

Isaac Coleman Lindsey President pro tempore 1939–1940 Democratic Earl Kemp Long (D)

Marc M. Mouton Lieutenant Governor 1940–1944 Democratic Sam H. Jones (D)

J. Emile Verret Lieutenant Governor 1944–1948 Democratic Jimmie Davis (D)

William Joseph Dodd Lieutenant Governor 1948–1952 Democratic Earl Kemp Long (D)

Charles Emmett "Cap" Barham Lieutenant Governor 1952–1956 Democratic Bob Kennon (D)

Lether Edward Frazar Lieutenant Governor 1956–1960 Democratic Earl Kemp Long (D)

Clarence C. Aycock Lieutenant Governor 1960–1972 Democratic Jimmie Davis (D), John McKeithen (D)

James Edward Fitzmorris, Jr. Lieutenant Governor 1972–1976 Democratic Edwin Edwards (D)

Michael H. O'Keefe President of the Senate 1976–1983 Democratic Edwin Edwards (D), Dave Treen (R)

Samuel Bernard Nunez, Jr. President of the Senate 1983–1988 Democratic Dave Treen (R), Edwin Edwards (D)

Allen Ray Bares President of the Senate 1988–1990 Democratic Buddy Roemer (R)

Samuel Bernard Nunez, Jr. President of the Senate 1990–1996 Democratic Buddy Romer (R), Edwin Edwards (D)

Randy Lew Ewing President of the Senate 1996–2000 Democratic Mike Foster (R)

John Joseph Hainkel, Jr. President of the Senate 2000–2004 Republican Mike Foster (R)

Donald E. Hines President of the Senate 2004–2008 Democratic Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D)

Joel Thomas Chaisson, II President of the Senate 2008–2012 Democratic Bobby Jindal (R)

John A. Alario, Jr. President of the Senate 2012–2016 Republican Bobby Jindal (R)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Elbert Guillory (District 24) switched parties to Republican from Democratic.[1]
  2. ^ Rick Ward (District 17 switched parties to Republican from Democratic.

External links[edit]