Session Kicks Into Gear In Week Two

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Legislative Advocacy


Legislators got down to business with full committee schedules in week two, including lengthy hearings in the House and Senate Insurance Committees on legislation to improve Louisiana’s highest-in-the-nation insurance costs. House Education also moved forward with 1A-supported legislation to boost literacy and numeracy among Louisiana’s students.

Read on for a recap of week two and a look ahead at week three.




Insurance Reform
Last week, House and Senate Insurance, and House Civil Law and Procedure began consideration of a hefty list of legislation to address Louisiana’s highest-in-the-nation insurance costs, including a number of bills backed by Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple and a package supported by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI). Legislators advanced bills to renew the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program, streamline claims processes, and address another issue exacerbating Louisiana’s insurance crisis – our litigious environment.

The following 1A-supported bills advanced through committee last week:

  • 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. It will sunset in June 2025 unless extended by the Legislature. HB 120 was reported favorably by House Insurance and now heads to the full House.
  • HB 337 by Rep. McFarland and SB 250 by Sen. Allain – these bills repeal Louisiana’s direct action statute, which allows plaintiffs to sue an insurance company directly when someone the company insures is a defendant in a lawsuit. Louisiana is an outlier on this policy, as one of only three states that allows for direct action against an insurer. HB 337 and SB 250 prevent this practice except under very limited circumstances. Both bills cleared their initial committee hearings last week and now move on to their respective chambers for consideration.
  • HB 423 by Rep. Melerine – would implement much-needed reform of Louisiana’s collateral source rule, which currently prevents evidence of medical expenses from being presented in court. HB 423 would allow judges and juries to review what a plaintiff actually paid for medical expenses, not just the “sticker price” of services, and limit the amount of medical expenses the plaintiff may recover to the amount actually paid rather than the amount billed. HB 423 was reported favorably by House Civil Law & Procedure on 3/20 and now heads to the full House for consideration.
  • SB 323 by Sen. Talbot – Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple has put forth 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 for clear rights and timelines for both the insured and the insurer, encouraging swift claims resolutions and reducing the possibility of litigation. SB 323 was reported favorably as amended by Senate Insurance on 3/20 and now heads to the full Senate.

Dozens of additional bills have been filed related to insurance rates, policies, market participation, and more. 1A is monitoring these measures and will prioritize supporting bills that increase availability, affordability, and reliability of property insurance and bring Louisiana’s legal environment more in line with other states.


Literacy and Numeracy
House Education approved two measures seeking to boost reading and math competency among K-12 students, HB 244 by Rep. Hughes and HB 267 by Rep. Carver. The authors testified as a team in support of their bills, which build on the success of the Steve Carter Literacy Tutoring Program and place a renewed focus on numeracy skills among Louisiana’s students.

 HB 244 renames the Steve Carter Literacy Tutoring Program to the “Steve Carter Education Program,” and expands services provided to include math tutoring. The bill also extends the availability of the program, originally only open to students in grades K-5, to students through grade 12, and increases the per-student funding available from $1,000 to $1,500.

 Under the expanded program, public school students whose reading or math skills are below grade level, who are at risk for reading or math difficulties, or who meet certain criteria identified by their educators or state assessments would be eligible for support services.

 HB 267 requires the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) to develop or select and provide screeners in order to measure the foundational numeracy of public school students in grades K-3. Public schools would administer DOE’s screeners three times during the school year and provide interventions and support to students identified as having numeracy skills below grade level.

1A supports both measures, which now head to the full House for consideration.




Occupational Licensing
One of 1A’s priority measures this session, HB 716 by Rep. Owen, is being considered by House Commerce today, 3/25. Entitled the “Welcome Home Act,” HB 716 would provide for universal recognition of occupational licenses for individuals moving into our state from elsewhere in the country. HB 716 provides for a recognition 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.

The Institute for Justice reports that nearly one in five American workers are affected by occupational licensing and 20 other states have enacted universal license recognition, including neighboring Mississippi. 1A supports HB 716 to reduce barriers to employment and make it easier for professionals to relocate to Louisiana or for those who have left to come back home.


Computer Science Education
Another 1A priority measure up for consideration this week is HB 264 by Rep. Hughes, which would make computer science a high school graduation requirement, as well as a qualification requirement for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), to be fully implemented by the graduating class of 2030. Computer science is changing every industry, and computing jobs are among the highest-wage and highest-demand careers nationally. Louisiana currently lags behind our southern neighbors with only 35% of our high schools offering computer science courses, compared to 78% in Mississippi, 95% in Alabama, and 99% in Arkansas.

HB 264 will better align Louisiana’s high school curricula with our peers and set students up for success in high-wage, high-demand computing occupations.

Check out more state-specific computer science education statistics at


Education Savings Accounts
House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Julie Emerson has introduced legislation, HB 745, to create the LA GATOR Scholarship Program, a universal education scholarship account (ESA) program for K-12 students. HB 745 creates state-supervised savings accounts that allow parents to direct state per-pupil funding to a variety of educational services, including tutoring, private school tuition, online programs, and more. Parents participating in the program must agree to provide instruction in English language arts, math, social studies, and science, at minimum. The bill also specifies that higher amounts of funding be directed toward low-income families.

HB 745 is scheduled for consideration in House Education on Tuesday, 3/26.


Big Ticket Items Still on Horizon
Stakeholders across the state are still awaiting legislation, expected to be introduced this week, to implement a reorganization of Louisiana Economic Development (LED) and to call for a Constitutional Convention to simplify Louisiana’s overly complex state governing document. Any remaining legislation to be considered this session must be filed by Tuesday, April 2.

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.