The state Senate on Sunday passed House Bill 1, Louisiana’s $25 billion budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, restoring some cuts made in the House including $5.5 million for nonpublic early childhood programs.

With a deadline of 6 p.m. Thursday looming for the session to end, the bill now returns to the House for concurrence. If House members object to changes made in the Senate, a joint legislative committee will be appointed to iron out the differences.

Newly minted state Sen. Fred Mills of Breaux Bridge, who recently switched from Democrat to Republican before winning a special election, was unsuccessful in amending HB 1 to ensure $1.2 million in funding for the Louisiana Poison Control Center. According to an account in The Advocate, the appropriation could have meant an equal amount of funding being siphoned from the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, which raised the hackles of veteran GOP lawmaker Sen. Robert Adley of Benton.

According to The Advocate, Adley, emphasizing the geographic gap between Breaux Bridge — Mills’ turf — and Shreveport, asked Mills “what possessed him to think he knew how to manage money better than the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport.” Mills withdrew the amendment.

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