Legislators continued digging in to tax, insurance, and education proposals last week, with some committees meeting even after their respective chambers adjourned for the day. Several 1A priorities are moving swiftly, including efforts to provide for more affordable property insurance in the state, but lawmakers and spectators alike have a certain budget decision in the back of their minds that may affect the mood in the Legislature in the coming weeks.
Read on for a recap of week three and a look ahead at week four.
Economic Development Toolkit
1A is supporting several measures 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 the Research and Development Tax Credit – SB 69 by Sen. Foil – passed the Senate on 4/24 and now heads to the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration.
Legislation to extend the Angel Investor Tax Credit – SB 108 By Sen. Jimmy Harris – is pending consideration in the full Senate while Louisiana Economic Development (LED) works with the bill author on amendments. It could be considered as early as this afternoon, 5/1.
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 1A is supporting bills that increase availability, affordability, and reliability of property insurance, and help mitigate future storm damage. Several related bills continue to move through the Legislature with strong support:
- 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 (passed House 97-0)
- 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 (HB 294 passed House 97-1; SB 113 passed Senate 35-0)
HB 110 and HB 294 now head to the Senate and SB 113 heads to the House.
Simplifying Sales Tax Remittance
1A is also supporting HB 558 by Rep. Beaullieu, legislation intended to move the State one step closer to a more streamlined sales tax system for Louisiana’s brick and mortar businesses. HB 558 would transfer the management and supervision authority for the electronic local return and remittance system from the Department of Revenue to the Uniform Local Sales Tax Board (ULSTB) and require the ULSTB to design and implement a single remittance system. HB 558 was reported favorably by House Ways and Means last week and is scheduled to be considered in the full House today, 5/1.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
HB 571 by Speaker Schexnayder would create 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 House Committee on Natural Resources reported the legislation favorably, as amended, without opposition.
HB 571 must now clear the House Appropriations Committee, where it is scheduled to be heard this morning, 5/1.
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 passed the House without opposition and now heads to Senate Education.
Career Readiness Data Sharing
Another 1A-supported bill that advanced last week was SB 205 by Senate President Page Cortez. This legislation would create the Louisiana Foundational Integrated Research System for Transformation (LA FIRST) program, to be housed at the Blanco Public Policy Center at UL Lafayette. This legislation enables the Blanco Center to analyze and share data from several state agencies so that these programs can be evaluated for their effectiveness and return on public investment.
SB 205 was reported favorably, as amended, by Senate Education on 4/27 and now heads to Senate Finance.
Louisiana Watershed Initiative
SB 42 by Sen. Fred Mills was considered by the full Senate 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. SB 42 passed the Senate on 4/26 and now heads to the House.
1A is supporting related bills by Sen. Fred Mills, SB 102, and Rep. Ryan Bourriaque, HB 425, 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.
SB 102 passed the Senate and is awaiting House committee referral. HB 425 is pending consideration in the House Transportation, Highways, and Public Works Committee.
To Bust or not to Bust?
Last week, the Senate Finance Committee advanced SCR 3 by Senate President Cortez, which would allow the Legislature to exceed its constitutionally-mandated spending cap and infuse surplus funds on one-time investments including road and bridge projects. This measure requires a two-thirds vote of both chambers and could come up for a vote in the full Senate as early as this week. It’s currently unknown whether this effort will garner enough support to pass the House.
Click here to view 1A’s 2023 Legislative Priorities, which cover the following issue areas:
- 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.