Legislators Entering Final Stretch of Session

by | May 28, 2024 | Legislative Advocacy

Home » Legislators Entering Final Stretch of Session

As we enter the final full week of the 2024 Regular Session, there is chatter at the Capitol that the Legislature may choose to head home early if they can make it through their remaining agenda before their scheduled adjournment on June 3. Senate committees took up the state operating and construction budget bills the House sent to them last month, making progress on two of the key remaining priorities to be addressed before legislators leave Baton Rouge. Several 1A-supported measures advanced at the Capitol as the House and Senate worked to pare down their dockets, including legislation to revamp Louisiana Economic Development.





Money, Money, Money
A month after the House sent them to the upper chamber, Senate committees finally met last week to consider the highly anticipated “money bills.” Stakeholders were eagerly awaiting the Senate hearings, as state economists recently painted a better-than-expected picture of tax collections, projecting a $197 million increase in general funds in the current budget year and an $89 million increase for next year, meaning Senate lawmakers were able to fund additional priorities over and above what House members included in their version of the budget.

  • HB 1, the state’s annual operating budget, is slated to fund major priorities across the state, including the M.J. Foster Promise Program, the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program, early childhood care and education, coastal protection initiatives, and more

HB 1 was reported favorably as amended by Senate Finance on 5/22

  • HB 2, the state’s annual construction budget, also known as the capital outlay bill, stands to provide near-term funding for a variety of infrastructure investments across Acadiana, including I-49 South

HB 2 was reported favorably by Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs on 5/21, and promptly approved by Senate Finance on 5/23, with both committees making amendments

Both bills now head to the Senate floor.

Senators also kept the other budget bills moving, including funds for judicial expenses (HB 781), legislative expenses (HB 843) and supplemental appropriations (HB 782) for FY 24-25. Stay tuned for final budget updates as lawmakers aim to agree on a budget in the coming days.


Bills at the Finish Line
As the House and Senate work to clear their calendars in preparation for Sine Die, 1A-supported measures are nearing the finish line. Once the House and Senate approve the same version of a measure, they must be signed by both the Senate President and House Speaker, then bills make their final stop at the Governor’s desk, while resolutions seek final approval from the Secretary of State. 1A-supported measures at various stages of final approval include:

  • Direct ActionHB 337 by Rep. McFarland addresses “direct action” against insurers, aligning Louisiana with 47 other states by requiring that lawsuits be brought against the insured, rather than the insurer, except in special circumstances, thereby limiting the likelihood of inflated judgements against insurance companies (Sent to Governor)
  • Collateral SourceHB 423 by Rep. Melerine revises Louisiana’s collateral source rule to allow both amounts billed and paid to be admissible as evidence, providing greater transparency and fairness in our legal system (Adopted in House concurrence)
  • Occupational LicensingHB 716 by Rep. Charles Owen, the “Welcome Home Act,” provides for a process that would grant an occupational license or certification to an individual moving to Louisiana if certain criteria are met, including that the individual is in good standing with the state they’re coming from (Adopted in House concurrence)
  • Workforce Readiness SB 293 by Senator Edmonds seeks to address Louisiana’s critical talent shortage by strategically aligning state workforce development programs and funding under a single point of contact, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, ensuring the state’s workforce strategies are best positioned to foster economic success for our citizens and industries (Signed by the Speaker and President)
  • Corporate Charter SchoolsHB 78 by Rep. Carver authorizes the initial proposal for a charter school with a corporate partner to be made to BESE as a Type 2 charter school proposal, without first being proposed to a local school board (Sent to Governor)
  • Coastal PlanHCR 25 by Rep. Bourriaque approves the annual state integrated coastal protection plan for Fiscal Year 2025, as adopted by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board (Sent to Secretary of State)
  • Clean HydrogenHCR 64 by Rep. Orgeron creates the Clean Hydrogen Task Force to study and make recommendations related to the growing hydrogen production industry in Louisiana (Signed by the Speaker and President)


LED Restructure
1A is supporting Senate Commerce Chair Beth Mizell’s legislation – SB 494 – to implement a reorganization of Louisiana Economic Development (LED), with the goal of strengthening the department as a business-first, best-in-class economic development agency.

The bill modernizes LED’s organizational structure and operations to remove burdensome regulations constraining the department’s ability to keep pace with the business sector. One key provision creates the Louisiana Economic Development Partnership (LEDP), a 12-member board led by highly-qualified private-sector leaders representing Louisiana’s key industries. The bill requires LED to develop a long-range economic development plan and a comprehensive strategic plan with the advice and consultation of the LEDP.

SB 494 was reported favorably as amended by House Commerce on 5/20 and cleared the full House on 5/23. It now heads back to the Senate for concurrence with the House amendments.


Health Care Workforce
Rep. Brach Myers is leading 1A-supported legislation, HB 329, pertaining to the state’s Health Care Employment Reinvestment Opportunity (HERO) Fund, which focuses on meeting the demand for nursing and allied health professionals in Louisiana. HB 329 creates a public-private partnership within the HERO Fund to address critical healthcare workforce needs and broadens the programs able to be funded to include support for dual enrollment and pathway programs, strategies for healthcare organizations to increase career pathways and apprenticeships, and initiatives that raise awareness of a variety of healthcare occupations and reduce barriers to accessing related education programs.

HB 329 passed the full Senate unanimously on 5/20 with amendments and the bill is scheduled for House concurrence in the Senate amendments on 5/28.


Education Savings Accounts
Legislation creating the LA GATOR Scholarship Program, SB 313 by Senate Education Chair Rick Edmonds, was approved by House Education last week. LA GATOR is an education savings account (ESA) program for K-12 students that would function through savings accounts allowing parents to direct state per-pupil funding to certain educational services, including private, career, or technical school tuition, online programs, instructional materials, and more.

SB 313 authorizes the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to develop the LA GATOR program, subject to legislative appropriation, and requires BESE to make recommendations on transitioning students currently using vouchers to the new ESA program. Committee members adopted an amendment specifying that BESE will determine the amount of funds allocated to individual ESA accounts based on what is appropriated by the Legislature.

SB 313 was reported favorably by House Education on 5/21. Later in the week, legislators discharged the bill from House Appropriations, meaning it can now head straight to the House floor for a vote on final passage.





As we enter the final days of session, 1A is tracking progress on several remaining priority measures moving through the legislative process.

Some 1A-supported legislation is still awaiting action:

  • HB 244 by Rep. Hughes – expands services provided through the Steve Carter Literacy Tutoring Program to include math tutoring, extends the program to include students through grade 12, and increases the per-student funding available from $1,000 to $1,500 (pending Senate Finance)
  • HB 267 by Rep. Carver – requires the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) to provide screeners to measure the foundational numeracy of K-3 public school students and requires public schools to provide interventions and support to students identified as having numeracy skills below grade level (pending Senate Finance)
  • HB 461 by Rep. Jackson – provides for temporary confidentiality of documents related to local and parish economic development projects (pending Senate)
  • SB 459 by Sen. Seabaugh – clarifies obligations for all parties in legacy lawsuit cases and reserves the right to recover damages only in cases where clear and convincing evidence is provided (Subject to call in Senate)
  • SB 433 by Sen. Edmonds – requires the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) to establish an Early Childhood Education Data Dashboard to display certain data online (pending Senate Finance)
  • SCR 41 by Sen. Miguez – urges and requests the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to expedite the process to complete the Interstate 49 Lafayette connector (pending House)


Constitutional Convention
Senate and Governmental Affairs has yet to schedule a hearing on another 1A-supported bill – HB 800, House and Governmental Affairs Chairman Beau Beaullieu’s legislation calling for a limited Constitutional Convention – meaning it is increasingly unlikely there will be enough time on the legislative calendar for the measure to clear the full Senate before adjournment.

So far, HB 800 has been vetted through four committee meetings, which included numerous rounds of questions from committee members and testimony from the public and has cleared three favorable votes on the House side, including votes in House and Governmental Affairs, House Appropriations, and the full House of Representatives, where it passed on May 7.

HB 800 has also been amended several times throughout the legislative process, most notably to provide protections that would ensure the state’s homestead exemption and Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) would remain intact.

Stay tuned for future updates.



1A is tracking key legislation across three priority areas outlined in our 2024 Legislative Priorities:

  • Economic competitiveness
  • Talent development
  • Infrastructure investment

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