Business Ramps Up at the Capitol

by | Apr 24, 2023 | Legislative Advocacy

The Louisiana Legislature was in full swing in their second week of business, with packed committee schedules in both chambers. Several 1A priorities advanced through their initial committee hearings, including extension of two of Louisiana’s most impactful economic development incentives and measures to provide for more affordable property insurance in the state.

Economic Development Toolkit
1A supported several measures in committee last week to protect Louisiana’s economic development toolkit. Of particular interest this session is supporting extension of the Angel Investor Tax Credit, which encourages investment in early stage, small wealth-creating Louisiana businesses that are seeking startup and expansion capital, and the Research and Development Tax Credit, designed to encourage existing businesses with operating facilities in Louisiana to establish or continue research and development activities within the state.

Legislation to extend these programs cleared the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee with 1A’s support ­– SB 69 by Sen. Foil and SB 108 By Sen. Jimmy Harris. Both measures are scheduled for a vote in the full Senate on Monday afternoon, 4/24.

1A supported legislation to extend these programs on the House side as well – HB 408 by Rep. Willard and HB 429 by Rep. Pressly, which were heard in the House Ways and Means Committee. Legislators received testimony on these and several other measures pertaining to Louisiana’s tax credit programs, but decided to delay votes on any related bills until the Committee has time to review and evaluate their fiscal impacts to the state.

Insurance Market Stability
Legislators are eyeing solutions to stabilize Louisiana’s property insurance market. More than 30 related measures have been filed this session, and the House and Senate Insurance Committees met last week to dig into several of the proposals.

1A is supporting bills that increase availability, affordability, and reliability of property insurance, and help mitigate future storm damage. Several related measures cleared their respective House and Senate committees last week, including:

  • HB 110 by Rep. Firment – requires insurers to offer an endorsement to upgrade to a fortified roof in the event of roof damage that requires a replacement
  • HB 294 by Rep. Willard and SB 113 by Sen. Hewitt – require insurers to provide premium discounts to insureds who build or retrofit structures in compliance with fortified home or commercial standards

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
Last Thursday, House Natural Resources kicked off the session’s much-awaited carbon capture debate, considering HB 571 by Speaker Schexnayder. This legislation creates a comprehensive legal framework for carbon capture projects in Louisiana, including provisions for permitting, taxation, revenue sharing, public notice and reporting requirements, and more. The Committee reported the legislation favorably, as amended, without opposition.

HB 571 now moves to the full House of Representatives for debate and consideration.

Career and Technical Education
Last Thursday, the House Education Committee considered HCR 5 by Rep. Echols. This 1A-supported resolution would require the Board of Regents to study the State’s articulation and transfer process between 2-year institutions and 4-year institutions with respect to career and technical education courses. The goal for the study is to identify ways to streamline Louisiana’s articulation and transfer process so it is as seamless as possible for students to navigate.

HCR 5 was referred favorably by House Education and now awaits full House consideration.

Louisiana Watershed Initiative
SB 42 by Sen. Fred Mills was heard in the Senate Transportation, Highways, and Public Works Committee last week. This bill would establish a statutory framework for the Louisiana Watershed Initiative (LWI), launched by Governor Edwards in 2018 to coordinate floodplain management responsibilities across all levels of government and develop long-term solutions for sustainability and resilience. Since 2018, the program has been operating under an Executive Order. SB 42 would authorize LWI under state law as an entity within the Division of Administration, creating a permanent statutory framework to carry out program initiatives.

1A is supporting a related bill by Sen. Fred Mills, SB 102, which would establish the Acadiana Watershed District within the LWI, and provide for its governance authorities and duties. The legislation provides for the Acadiana Watershed District to lead efforts to promote drainage and flood-risk reduction within the bounds of its 15-parish region.

Both measures were reported favorably in committee – SB 42 by Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works, and SB 102 by Senate Local and Municipal Affairs – and now head to the full Senate.

Next week is once again host to full committee agendas. Expect another slate of lengthy hearings in multiple committees, including House Ways and Means and Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, the Legislature’s tax-writing committees. Ways and Means will focus on several proposals related to sales and use and income tax, including whether Louisiana should move to a flat personal income tax rate. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs will focus on legislation dealing with the corporate franchise tax, inventory tax, the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), and more.

1A is monitoring these proposals and will prioritize supporting measures that improve Louisiana’s tax environment with lower rates and less complexity, and that protect and strengthen Louisiana’s economic development toolkit.

Check out 1A’s 2023 Legislative Priorities, which cover the following issue areas, at this link:

  • Tax competitiveness
  • Industry growth
  • Insurance market stability
  • Infrastructure investment
  • Talent development

Be on the lookout for 1A legislative updates on these issues, and more, every Monday morning during the session.