Special Session At Halfway Mark

by | Jun 14, 2020 | Legislative Advocacy

The Legislature is halfway through the Special Session, which started June 1 and must adjourn by June 30. Bills have been moving quickly through the legislative process, and 1A continues to advocate on issues in line with our standing positions.

Here is some of the priority legislation 1A is engaged on:

Digital Media Tax Credit Modernization

    • HB 52 by Rep. Jean-Paul Coussan – This bill adjusts eligibility for the State’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Tax Credit to include high-paying IT services jobs in cybersecurity, cloud engineering, and data analytics. It also supports strengthening diversity in the IT workforce by adding a new training incentive for women, minorities, and veterans. 1A’s President & CEO Troy Wayman testified in support of this bill in the House Ways & Means Committee last week, where it was reported favorably without opposition.
  • Due to technical concerns – including the need for clearer definitions of cybersecurity, cloud engineering, and data analytics – the bill will likely be deferred until a possible Second Special Session this fall or the Regular Session next year.

Tort Reform to Lower Auto Insurance Rates

    • On Friday, the Governor vetoed SB 418 by Sen. Kirk Talbot, an omnibus tort reform bill aimed at lowering auto insurance rates in our state, which passed by strong majorities in both chambers during the Regular Session. The Legislature is already moving two replacement measures that would accomplish the same goals:
  • HB 44 by Rep. Ray Garofalo – This bill replicates most of the provisions of SB 418, with a few modifications.
    • Lowers Louisiana’s jury trial threshold from $50,000 to $5,000 for personal injury cases; cases between $5,000 and $35,000 in damages would go before a six-person jury
    • Reforms the collateral source rule
    • Reforms the direct action statute
    • Extends the prescription period for tort actions from one year to two years for motor vehicle accidents
    • Repeals the seat belt gag rule
    • Requires a mandatory 10% rate reduction for both personal and commercial auto insurance
  • HB 57 by Speaker Clay Schexnayder – This bill would address select components of SB 418 and HB 44.
    • Allows all evidence of medical expenses to be shown to a judge or jury, including both medical bills paid and billed
    • Reduces the jury trial threshold from $50,000 to $10,000
    • Repeals the seat belt gag rule
    • These bills are both up for debate on the House floor today (Monday). Join 1A in responding to LABI’s call to action.
  • Take action now >>

COVID-19 Workforce Training Response

    • HCR 12 by Rep. Ray Garofalo – This joint resolution directs the Workforce Investment Council and relevant state agencies to compile information on workforce training funds and programs available to support Louisiana workers unemployed due to COVID-19. The study is due to the Legislature by September 30, 2020 and requires at least three public meetings to solicit ideas and suggestions from employers, agency personnel, educators and trainers, economic development organizations, and other stakeholders.
  • SB 15 by Sen. Mike Reese – This bill requires a short-term COVID-19 occupational forecast be produced and approved by September 30, 2020 to identify time-sensitive workforce training and education needs. 1A and other regional economic development organizations would provide input, along with quantitative data from various sources and surveys and information from the La. Workforce Commission and LED.

State Historic Tax Credit Extension

  • HB 4 by Rep. Tanner Magee – Louisiana’s State Commercial Tax Credit helps encourage the redevelopment of income-producing historic buildings in Downtown Development Districts and Cultural Districts. The program is set to sunset on December 31, 2021. 1A is supporting this bill to extend the sunset to December 31, 2027, in line with our urban revitalization & development goals.

Centralized Sales Tax Collection

  • HB 14 by Speaker Clay Schexnayder – Louisiana is one of only two states without a centralized sales tax collection system. Currently, Louisiana’s Constitution gives the authority over collection of sales and use taxes to local governmental subdivisions. HB 14 is a Constitutional Amendment that would ask voters to give the Legislature the authority to work with stakeholders to pass laws that would govern a statewide centralized sales tax collection system, similar to 48 other states.