Regional EDO’s legislative agenda outlines critical economic development issues

Baton Rouge, La. (March 05, 2020) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced the priorities for which it will advocate during the 2020 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature. BRAC’s agenda seeks to drive progress on key issues effecting the Capital Region’s economic development. Tort reform, transportation, employee data protection, and career and technical education are at the top of the priority list.

“Our region’s ability to compete for economic development projects, both home-grown and external, hinges on the strength of our regulatory environment and workforce,” said Nial Patel, chair of BRAC’s Legislative Committee and principal with Cornerstone Government Affairs. “This session offers an important opportunity to advance priorities that support economic growth.”

Led by its Legislative Committee, BRAC will meet with the Capital Region Legislative Delegation, the Governor and his administration staff, and leadership of the House and Senate to advocate for the region’s economic development priorities.

BRAC’s legislative priorities are to:

Lower the costs of insurance and expenses due to litigation

BRAC supports the Omnibus Premium Reduction Act of 2020 (HB 9). In addition, BRAC will lead effort on a tort reform bill that will allow reversionary trusts to pay medical costs and that will break up the special relationships between medical witnesses and plaintiffs’ attorneys. BRAC will strongly support tort reform efforts, not only to reduce the costs of operating a business in the state, but also to make the state more attractive to talent.

Address the Capital Region’s transportation crisis

As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing traffic congestion and infrastructure inadequacies in the Capital Region, BRAC will advocate to increase statewide funding available for transportation infrastructure. The organization will advocate strongly for securing a new Mississippi River bridge and fully funding the Baton Rouge I-10 widening.

Protect employee salaries, identities, and personal information

BRAC will lead a bill that offers the same confidentiality provisions over employee data disclosed to the Louisiana Department of Economic Development as are offered to employee data disclosed to the Louisiana Department of Revenue (DOR) and Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC). Employee data such as partial social security numbers, salaries, and addresses are often disclosed as required by LED contracts, and like similar disclosures required by DOR and LWC, the data should be protected from public records requests.

Ensure that career and technical education training is effective

BRAC will lead a bill to direct the Louisiana Workforce Commission to receive and analyze information from Louisiana high schools and the Board of Regents to determine whether graduating students earning an industry-based credential enter the workforce in the occupation for which they trained. This change will increase the Department of Education’s level of accountability for the program’s successful implementation.

Protect Louisiana’s economic development toolkit and economic competitiveness

Louisiana’s economic development toolkit has been under attack in recent years. BRAC will stand steadfast in protecting that toolkit from further cuts. The organization will fight efforts to place more burdensome mandates on employers and job creators. BRAC will support efforts to weaken onerous barriers to employment such as Louisiana’s uniquely oppressive occupational licensing requirements.

Promote expansion of high-quality early childhood education and protect K-12 educational reforms

BRAC will support expanded access to affordable, reliable, high-quality early childcare, including the appropriation of additional revenues to this critical area of education. BRAC will oppose efforts that would weaken or dismantle school choice, high academic achievement standards, and the state’s teacher and school performance accountability system.

Prioritize funding for critical Capital Region economic competitiveness projects

  • General Fund: early childhood education expansion and expansion of air service destinations from the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport
  • Capital Outlay: expansion of BRCC’s nursing program and the completion of the LSU/City Park Lakes project

BRAC regularly supports other bills for which it already has a public position in favor and will support study resolutions for issues such as transportation funding, college graduate retention, and effective maintenance of Louisiana’s public spaces.

The 2020 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature begins at noon on March 9 and runs through 6 p.m. on June 1, 2020. BRAC investors can sign up to receive weekly legislative updates and to participate in its legislative committee.

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at brac.org.

###