BRAC’s 2020 Legislative Priorities
Each year, BRAC sets priorities for which it will advocate during the legislative session. For the 2020 regular legislative session, BRAC has set its sights on the following priorities.
With legislators across the state having run on a platform of fixing Louisiana’s hostile legal climate, we all expect some intense movement on the issue of tort reform. A wide variety of legislative objects on the topic have been filed. An additional bill, developed by BRAC investors and authored by Rep. Paula Davis, will be filed shortly. The bills all attempt to remove Louisiana from the American Tort Reform Association’s Top Five list of Judicial Hellholes, and in doing so, aim to lower the high costs of litigation and insurance premiums for people and businesses across the state.
Employee Identity Protection
Other BRAC-led bills include Senate Bill 191 by Sen. Bodi White, which aims to protect employee salary, social security, and address information submitted to the Louisiana Economic Development Department, as required by law, from being subject to public records requests. These protections are already in place for information submitted to the Louisiana Workforce Commission or Department of Revenue, and this bill will extend them equally to fully ensure this private data remains secure.
Career and Technical Education Accountability
With authorship by Rep. Scott McKnight, BRAC is leading on House Bill 611 to facilitate greater accountability of Jump Start, the state’s career and technical education program. Jump Start is a nationally recognized model for delivering career and technical education. While the Department of Education has reported some extremely promising outcomes, current law bars analyses of the greatest judge of the program’s success: whether students training in any particular occupation in high school actually enter the workforce in that particular occupation. The bill will require the Louisiana Workforce Commission to compare high school graduate information to employment information, so the state can finally make this key judgement and ensure that career training truly leads to high-growth, high-wage jobs.
Transportation Infrastructure Funding
BRAC will also lead on a number of legislative resolutions. Chief among these is one tasking the legislature with developing a solution to the state’s transportation infrastructure funding crisis. This year’s session is not a fiscal one, so revenue raising in the form of a gas tax or otherwise is not possible, but in advance of next year’s fiscal session, BRAC aims to bring legislators together to lead on a solution.
BRAC will hold firm defending the education reforms that have allowed our state to achieve the highest graduation rates, AP test passage rates, and college-going ACT scores we’ve ever had. We’ll also be supporting efforts to expand high-quality early childhood education, a critical workforce development tool, both for our future and current employees.
Finally, as always, you can expect BRAC to be staunchly protecting the state’s economic development toolkit, to ensure that we can complete our mission of growing and diversifying the Baton Rouge Area economy.
View BRAC’s complete 2020 legislative agenda at brac.org.
Written by Liz Smith
As BRAC’s senior vice president of economic competitiveness, Liz leads the organization’s public policy advocacy, strategy, research, and reform activities aimed at advancing the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the Baton Rouge Region.