BRAC Legislative Agenda Scores Wins in 2024 Session 

With the completion of the 2024 session of the legislature, BRAC is highlighting several wins from its legislative agenda aimed at bolstering the state’s economic competitiveness, creating innovative reforms to increase business friendliness, and boosting talent development, attraction, and retention. During this session, while tracking and following over 2,000 pieces of legislation originating from both chambers, BRAC passed several bills of its own and supported many pieces of legislation that align with its priorities.  

Here’s a look at how BRAC’s efforts to bolster the Capital Region’s economic competitiveness fared during the session. 

Build pathways to high-wage employment 

A key objective for BRAC in this session was to enhance pathways to high-wage employment. BRAC successfully accomplished this by supporting the passage of HB728, introduced by Rep. Davis. This legislation lowers the eligibility age for Louisiana residents to qualify for MJ Foster Promise Program funds, which cover the costs of two-year degree and credential programs. This measure effectively removes barriers to education and advances BRAC’s mission of fostering economic growth through improved access to higher-paying job opportunities. 

Eliminate impediments to employment 

BRAC championed the removal of employment barriers by supporting HB566, authored by Rep. McMakin. This legislation eliminates the requirement of a baccalaureate degree for entry-level state jobs. Given that over a million residents lack a degree, this change will open new opportunities for many Louisianians. This legislation and HB728 mentioned above are poised to significantly expand the employment base in the Capital Region. 

Significantly improve K-12 student attendance and outcomes 

High rates of truancy plague Louisiana’s public schools, and Louisiana is the only state whose chronic absenteeism rates grew after the pandemic. To address this issue, BRAC passed HCR72 by Rep. LaFleur to create a study group with the Department of Education and other stakeholder groups to study the potential impacts of delaying high school start times. Research shows that later start times correlate with higher attendance, higher GPAs and standardized test scores, lower disciplinary issues, and higher overall adolescent well-being. BRAC will work with this study group over the next year to research and present its findings to the House and Senate Education Committees by February 1, 2025.   

Support the reorganization of LED and best practices for economic development 

BRAC collaborated closely with Louisiana Economic Development (LED) and other regional economic development organizations throughout the state to help pass SB494 by Rep. Mizell. This crucial legislation serves as the blueprint for restructuring LED. Through the reorganization process, BRAC’s goal remains to support a reimagined LED that fosters a business-first, customer-centric environment to ensure Louisiana stands out in the global marketplace. 

The Budget 

This year’s budget funded several significant Capital Region projects. HB2 by Rep. Emerson and the supplemental legislation, HB782 by Rep. McFarland, provided funding for: 

  • Over $85 million for regional transportation infrastructure projects  
  • $12.9 million for East Baton Rouge Flood Risk Reduction Project 
  • $34 million for the refurbishment of the LSU Lakes 
  • $21.5 million for the Baton Rouge Community College Allied Health Facility  
  • $5 million for the Inspiration Center at Howell Park 
  • $500,000 reauthorization of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport incentive to attract additional direct flights 

BRAC is thankful for the legislature’s efforts this session. The progress made will benefit the region’s future. BRAC looks forward to continuing its role as an advocate for effective governance and smart policy, while exploring new opportunities to build on this year’s success, fostering a brighter future for the Baton Rouge Area. 

Scroll to Top