As the regular session of the Louisiana Legislature nears the end of its second week, BRAC continues tracking bills that will help or hurt the state’s economic competitiveness. Below are the most recent Capitol updates, broken out by our 2018 legislative priorities.
Transportation & Infrastructure
- Secure funding to address the Capital Region’s transportation crisis – BRAC will support the creation of a regional transportation funding option, which would allow the Capital Region to leverage federal and toll funding should it become available.
- HB 178 – This constitutional amendment authored by Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, would remove the prohibition on local gas taxes. It is pending passage in the House Ways and Means Committee.
- SB 444 – This bill would dedicate the revenue from vehicle sales tax toward transportation rather than the state’s general fund. Proposed by Sen. Mack “Bodi” White, R-Baton Rouge, it would invest nearly $400 million per year in infrastructure. BRAC believes the bill is a best practice for transportation funding.
- Support a pro-growth and balanced approach to tax reform – BRAC supports and believes Louisiana needs a limited constitutional convention as a mechanism for providing long-term and comprehensive structural budget reforms.
- HB 500 – Last week, a BRAC-supported constitutional convention bill by Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, passed through the Government Affairs Committee before being recommitted to House Appropriations, making it the only active convention instrument.
Education & Workforce
- Defend and improve Louisiana’s economic development toolkit – BRAC will fight measures that would hurt the state’s critical economic development programs and incentives.
- HB 375 – This other Abramson-authored bill, which passed the House on Tuesday, would create a technical change to the Quality Jobs program (an important part of the economic development toolkit) to clarify eligibility for participating businesses. BRAC supports this change to provide additional transparency for the program.
- BRAC opposes several minimum wage and employer mandate bills that passed through the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee last week. These include: SB 162 and 252 by Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans; SB 149, 117 and 118 by Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans; and SB 158 and 234 by Sen. Yvonne Colomb, D-Baton Rouge. These kinds of mandates are particularly damaging to small businesses.
- Protect K-12 educational reforms and student achievement gains and promote expansion of high-quality early childhood education – BRAC supports expanded access to affordable, reliable, high-quality early childcare and opposes efforts that weaken or dismantle school choice, higher achievement standards, and Louisiana’s teacher and school performance accountability system.
- Bills to look out for: see here
- Increase standards for TOPS – BRAC supports measures to raise the GPA and ACT requirements for the TOPS award, as well as additional measures to track employment and placement of TOPS graduates.