Money Bills Swap Chambers in Week Seven

by | Apr 29, 2024 | Legislative Advocacy

Home » Money Bills Swap Chambers in Week Seven

House legislators moved major bills last week, with the state’s annual budget (HB 1) and capital outlay measures (HB 2) clearing the House and heading to the Senate. Additionally, legislation calling for a limited constitutional convention was reported favorably by the House and Governmental Affairs Committee, and legislators continued advancing bills to address Louisiana’s insurance crisis, authorize the annual Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula, and provide for potential funding increases to the M.J. Foster Promise Program. Senate Education also held an initial hearing on legislation to provide ease of public access to early childhood care and education data across the state.

Legislators have until June 3 to handle business before adjournment. Read on for a recap of week seven and a look ahead at week eight.





Money, Money, Money
House legislators considered the always highly-anticipated annual “money bills” last week:

  • 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 House Appropriations on 4/23 and passed the House unanimously on 4/25. It now heads to Senate Finance.

  • 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 as amended by House Ways and Means on 4/23 and passed the House unanimously on 4/25. It now heads to Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs.

Legislators also moved several other budget bills through the House, including measures to fund judicial branch expenses (HB 781), legislative branch expenses (HB 843) and make supplemental appropriations (HB 782) for FY 24-25. These measures are now headed to the Senate. Stay tuned for future budget updates.



Insurance Reform

1A-supported bills seeking to address Louisiana’s property insurance crisis continued advancing at the Capitol last week, including:

  • HB 120 by Rep. Willard – would ensure continuation of the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program. The program authorizes the Commissioner of Insurance to make grants of up to $10,000 to homeowners to retrofit roofs to better withstand weather events, and will sunset in June 2025 unless extended by the Legislature. HB 120 passed the Senate unanimously on 4/24 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
  • SB 323 by Sen. Talbot – Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple is supporting legislation to promote good faith and fair dealing in the property insurance claims process in effort to make Louisiana a more attractive place for insurers to write policies. SB 323 would provide clear rights and timelines for both the insured and the insurer, encouraging swift claims resolutions and reducing the possibility of litigation. SB 323 passed the House unanimously on 4/24 and now heads back to the Senate for concurrence with the House amendments

 1A is monitoring dozens of additional bills related to insurance rates, policies, market participation, and more, and is supporting bills to increase availability, affordability, and reliability of property insurance and bring Louisiana’s legal environment more in line with other states.



M.J. Foster Promise Program Funding
1A is supporting legislation authored by Senate Education Chairman Sen. Rick Edmonds, SB 272, which would increase the annual funding cap for the M.J. Foster Promise Program. The program provides financial aid for Louisianans to earn credentials that align with high-demand jobs in industries like healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing. SB 272 would increase the annual funding cap for the program from $10.5 million to $40 million, providing increased capacity to serve Louisianans seeking training to enter the workforce.

SB 272 was reported favorably by House Education on 4/24 and now heads to the full House.



Minimum Foundation Program (MFP)
Louisiana’s Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), the mechanism through which the state provides funding to local school districts, continued its journey through the Legislature last week, where it was approved by House Appropriations on 4/23 and went on to clear the full House on 4/25.

This year’s formula includes the following:

  • $4,015 maintained as the base per-pupil amount provided to school systems
  • $30 million to support literacy and math tutoring
  • $25 million to continue the differentiated compensation for teacher pay
  • $14.3 million increase for rising operational costs for school districts
  • $2 million to provide school systems with support for apprenticeships and internships

House Education Chair Rep. Schlegel is carrying the measure to approve the FY 24-25 MFP formula, HCR 21. The resolution now heads to Senate Education.

For full details on FY 24-25 MFP formula, review BESE’s March 5 meeting minutes HERE.



Constitutional Convention
Last week, House and Governmental Affairs Chairman Rep. Beau Beaullieu presented his committee with details on his legislation, HB 800, to convene a Constitutional Convention to restructure Louisiana’s overly complex governing document.

HB 800 calls for a Convention of 171 delegates, comprised of the 144 members of the Legislature and 27 delegates appointed by the Governor, to convene on May 20, 2024. Delegates would frame a new constitution under the directive that they determine the provisions of the document that constitute the fundamental and foundational law of the state that should remain in the constitution and place any remaining provisions in statute.

House and Governmental Affairs held its third day of testimony on the bill last week, where committee members adopted new amendments to address concerns raised during last week’s set of hearings, including a provision clarifying that Articles I-IV of the Constitution would remain fully intact through the process of drafting the new document.

Louisiana’s constitution is one of the longest in the nation, clocking in at 17 times the length of the U.S. Constitution. Paring the document down by removing provisions that instead more appropriately fit in statute will provide flexibility for our elected representatives to respond to the ever-evolving needs of our state.

HB 800 was approved by House and Governmental Affairs by a vote of 9-5 on 4/24 and now heads to a hearing in House Appropriations today, 4/29.



Early Childhood Data

Senate Education Chairman Sen. Rick Edmonds has authored legislation, SB 433, to require the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) to establish an Early Childhood Education Data Dashboard to display certain data online. SB 433 requires the dashboard contain several data points, to be collected and updated on a quarterly basis, including but not limited to:

  • Number of children enrolled in each publicly funded early care and education program arranged by provider type, parish, age of children, and number of children on waitlists
  • Status of Child Care Assistance Program applications, including the number of applications approved and rejected with an explanation of each status
  • Number of children served in publicly funded early care and education programs compared to the number of estimated overall in-need population
  • Quality rating or performance profile data for each provider and aggregated to show parish-wide and statewide quality trends over time

The bill requires the dashboard to be fully implemented and publicly accessible by August 1, 2026. 1A supports SB 433 to provide the public with a clear picture of early care and education needs across the state. The bill was reported favorably by Senate Education on 4/24.





1A-supported legislation to revamp Louisiana Economic Development (LED), SB 494, is scheduled to be considered in Senate Finance today, 4/29.

Senate Commerce Chair Sen. Beth Mizell is authoring SB 494 and 1A is supporting the measure to strengthen LED as a business-first, best-in-class economic development agency. The bill makes key changes that modernize LED’s organizational structure and operations and remove burdensome regulations constraining the department’s ability to function proactively and keep pace with the business sector. Key provisions of SB 494 include:

  • Creating the Louisiana Economic Development Partnership (LEDP), a 12-member board led by highly-qualified private-sector members representing a cross-section of Louisiana’s key industries:
    • 9 gubernatorial appointments
    • 1 appointment by the Speaker of the House
    • 1 appointment by the President of the Senate
    • LED Secretary, as a non-voting member
  • Requiring LED to develop a long-range economic development plan and a comprehensive strategic plan with the advice and consultation of the LEDP
  • Allowing LED to establish a 501(c)3 corporation to support economic development
  • Redesigning membership of the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) board to add more economic development and business oversight
  • Requiring a plan to seek federal, private, and other grant funds to support economic growth

Additionally, stakeholders at the Capitol are still awaiting a rescheduled Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) meeting, where forecasters will provide their latest projections on the revenue the state will have available for appropriation in the current and next fiscal years.



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.