Updated 4.17.17, 5:15 p.m.

Valuing Louisiana Families

  • Equal Pay: Louisiana has the highest gender wage gap in the country, with the average Louisiana woman making only $0.66 for every $1 a man makes to do the same job. Proposed legislation would eliminate pay secrecy by prohibiting employers from taking actions against employees for inquiring about, discussing or disclosing their wages or another employee’s wages.
    HB 222 by Rep. Helena Moreno, SB 2 by Sen. J.P. Morrell

  • Minimum Wage: Louisiana is one of only five states that have not adopted a state minimum wage. Forty percent of Louisiana working families do not earn enough to cover basic monthly expenses. Proposed legislation would provide for a modest, but meaningful increase to the minimum wage – up to $8.50 over a two year period.
    SB 153 by Sen. Troy Carter

  • Children's Cabinet: Proposed legislation would extend the sunset of the Children’s Cabinet to August 15, 2022 and expand the duties of the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board to focus on child poverty prevention initiatives.
    SB 66 by Sen. Regina Barrow

 

Tackling the Opioid Epidemic

  • Prescription Limits: Opioid abuse and addiction, including prescription drug abuse, is a national epidemic and Louisiana ranks among one of the highest states for opioid prescribing. Proposed legislation would limit first-time prescriptions of opioids for acute pain to a seven-day supply, and all acute pain opioid prescriptions for children to seven days. The bill would not apply to prescribing for chronic pain, cancer, or palliative care and would allow for individual exemptions for acute pain when medically appropriate, with a note in the patient’s record indicating that a non-opioid alternative was not appropriate.
    HB 192 by Rep. Helena Moreno and Rep. Kirk Talbot

  • Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP): Louisiana’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)—a database of controlled substances dispensed by pharmacists—is a useful tool for prescribers that can help improve patient care and reduce prescription drug abuse. Proposed legislation would strengthen the PMP by requiring that prescribers check the system upon initial prescription of a Schedule II drug, including opioids, with exceptions for cancer and hospice. The legislation would also require three hours of continuing medical education for prescribers every three years.
    SB 55 by Sen. Fred Mills

  • Creates the Advisory Council on Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education: 
    Coordinating parish-level data on opioid overdoses and usage of overdose-reversal medication as current and accurate statewide data is critical in educating both those involved in policy development and the citizens of this state. HB 490 requires the Drug Policy Board within the Office of the Governor to establish an Advisory Council on Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education to coordinate resources and expertise to assist in a statewide response.
    HB 490 by Walt Leger

Making Louisiana Smart on Crime While Improving Public Safety

  • Implement a Felony Class System: Adopt a felony class system which sets standard sentences, hard labor requirements, and jury sizes across crime types of similar severity levels. Establish intent language that encourages future legislatures to classify newly created crimes or penalty enhancements within the felony class system, ensuring that it remains a clear and consistent organizing structure for sentencing in Louisiana. Consolidate parole eligibility by class and prior offenses (excluding Class F). This will eliminate the inconsistencies that exist in sentencing and release of offenders.
    SB 220 by Sen. President John Alario

  • Back-end Release Mechanism for Nonviolent Offenses: By increasing equity, our goal is to apply back-end release mechanisms for those currently incarcerated for nonviolent offenses.
    SB 139 by Sen. Danny Martiny

  • Improve and Streamline Victim Notification Process: Simplify the victim registration and notification process with electronic forms centralized with a single registration point. Create an opportunity, when notified about a prisoner’s upcoming release, for the victim to provide a statement requesting measures that they believe should be put in place for their protection.
    HB 116 by Rep. Stephen Dwight

  • Expand Alternatives to Incarceration: (1) Expand access to evidence-based prison alternatives for those who can be safely supervised in the community, extend probation eligibility to certain third-time nonviolent offenses, and first- and second-time violent Class D and E felonies that are not related to domestic violence. (2) Match eligibility for the Substance Abuse Probation program with Drug Court eligibility. Additionally, expand eligibility for Drug Court and Substance Abuse Probation to include those with lower-level violent offenses (first- and second-time Class D and E violent offenses that are not related to domestic violence) as well as those with prior violent or sex offenses.
    SB 139 by Sen. Danny Martiny

  • Revise Drug Penalties to Target Higher-level Drug Offenses: Narrow sentence ranges for lower-level possession offenses, and reclassify possession above certain weight thresholds as commercial drug activity. Establish presumptive probation sentences (rebuttable presumption if found by court as significant public risk) for first-time possession offenses that fall into the lowest weight threshold. Scale penalties for distribution, manufacturing and other commercial drug offenses to distinguish larger-quantity from smaller-quantity commercial activity.
    SB 220 by Sen. President John Alario

  • Consolidate Laws on Property Crimes and Raise the Value Threshold for Felony Charges: Raise the felony theft threshold to $1,500 for value-adjusted property crimes and reduce the maximum sentence to 2 years for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Merge specialty theft crimes under the theft statute and consolidate two forms of aggravated burglary crimes as Class C offense.
    SB 220 by Sen. President John Alario

  • Distinguish Penalties Relative to Weapon Offenses and Severity of Underlying Crime: Tier penalties for possession of a weapon by a felon by the severity of the predicate offense. Classify penalties for carrying of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities according to the severity of the underlying crime.
    SB 220 by Sen. President John Alario

  • Focus Habitual Offender Penalties on More Serious Crimes: Focus habitual offender penalty enhancements on more serious crimes and prohibit the lowest level offenses (Class D and E felony offenses) from being enhanced through the habitual offender statute. Class D and E felony offenses could still be used as predicates for the purposes of the habitual offender statute to enhance crimes in other felony classes.
    SB 221 by Sen. President John Alario

  • Reduce Cleansing Period for Certain Prior Crimes: To better focus the application of habitual offender penalty enhancements on those with serious priors, reduce the cleansing period for lower-level felonies —those that are under the felony class system would be categorized as Class C, D, and E felonies — to 5 years. The law would remain the same for priors that were higher-level felonies.
    SB 221 by Sen. President John Alario

  • Establish a Temporary Furlough Policy for Inmates with Serious Medical Needs: Create a medical furlough policy permitting the Department of Corrections, with approval by the Parole Board, to temporarily release inmates with serious medical needs to parole supervision in the community, where their treatment costs can be covered by Medicaid. All inmates besides those on death row would be eligible for the temporary furlough option if they have limited mobility and/or are unable to perform daily activities unassisted.
    SB 139 by Sen. Danny Martiny

  • Expand Incentives for Inmates to Participate in Recidivism Reduction Programming: Expand eligibility for the Certified Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (CTRP) credit to those convicted of violent offenses with one serious prior offense and those sentenced under the habitual offender penalty enhancements. Lift the statutory 90-day limit on how much a CTRP credit can be awarded for individual programs and expand the maximum amount of CTRP time that inmates can earn for participation in the Workforce Development Transitional Work Program.
    SB 139 by Sen. Danny Martiny

  • Streamline Parole Release: Establish an “on-time parole” policy authorizing and directing the Department of Corrections to release a person onto parole supervision, with notification to the Parole Board, if a prisoner has reached his or her parole eligibility date and complied with institutional rules and his or her case plan (if a case plan was created for the person). The Parole Board would provide timely notice to the victim and an opportunity to request a hearing.
    SB 139 by Sen. Danny Martiny

  • Focus Community Supervision on the Highest-Risk Period and Establish Earned Compliance Credit Incentive: Establish probation sentence ranges of 0-3 years instead of 1-5 years. Establish an earned compliance credit law that awards 30 days off of a probation or parole term for every full calendar month that the person complies with their supervision conditions. The law would authorize the sentencing judge or parole board to take away or reduce the 30-day credit each month for noncompliance.
    SB 139 by Sen. Danny Martiny

  • Address Gaps and Deficiencies in Swift, Certain and Proportional Sanctions: Direct the Department of Corrections to incorporate incentives into its administrative sanctions grid, eliminate jail sanctions for the lowest level violations of supervision conditions, and reduce administrative jail sanctions for the other categories of violations. Expand eligibility for administrative sanctions to include probationers and parolees who are arrested on charges that are not violent, sex, or related to domestic violence. Authorize Act 402 sanctions for all noncriminal violations and for all probationers and parolees regardless of their underlying offense, and reduce their length of stay. Resolve discrepancies for revocation and intermediate sanction policies as they apply to people on probation and those on parole supervision, and apply the same good time calculation for revocations as for newly sentenced prison admissions.
    SB 139 by Sen. Danny Martiny

  • Address Collateral Consequences of Felony Convictions That Create Barriers to Reentry: Eliminate the restriction for those with drug convictions from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits during their first year following release from prison. Improve the current licensing board requirements to require full professional licensure to qualified applicants rather than provisional licenses, to eliminate waiting periods for license applications, and to prohibit discrimination in licensure based on underlying violent or sex offenses, except where the profession is specifically relevant to the nature of the crime.
    HB 177 by Rep. Helena Moreno; HB 519 by Rep. Julie Emerson

  • Tailor Criminal Justice Financial Obligations to a Person's Ability to Pay: Establish that obligations in excess of what a defendant can reasonably pay undermine the primary purpose of the justice system to deter criminal behavior and encourage compliance with the law. Require the court at sentencing to determine whether payments in full would cause substantial financial hardship and mandate a waiver of obligations or a payment plan. Incentivize people to make regular payments by forgiving outstanding criminal justice debts after 12 months of consistent payments or half of a person’s supervision term, whichever is longer.
    HB 249 by Rep. Tanner Magee

  • Modify Penalties for Failure to Pay Criminal Justice Financial Obligations: Restrict incarceration and suspension of driver’s licenses as penalties for failure to pay criminal justice financial obligations to only those cases in which the court finds willful failure to pay, as opposed to inability to pay. Mandate proactive steps to address missed payments or hearings on criminal justice financial obligations before resorting to bench warrants. Eliminate interest on unpaid criminal justice financial obligations, and prohibit the extension of a person’s probation supervision for purposes of collecting unpaid criminal justice debts.
    HB 249 by Rep. Tanner Magee

  • Suspend Child Support During Incarcerations: To strengthen the transition from prison back to the workforce, and to avoid garnishment of full paychecks during the highest-risk period post-release, require courts to suspend child support payments and arrears if the payer is incarcerated longer than 30 days. Courts would be authorized to reactivate payments when the person is released from jail or prison, or if the person is placed in a Transitional Work Program while incarcerated.
    HB 426 by Rep. Joseph Marino

  • Reinvest More Than 50% of Savings from Reduction in State Prisoner Population: Require the Department of Corrections to calculate annual savings from reductions in the state prison population after the justice reinvestment reform package is adopted into law, and reinvest a significant portion of these savings into a reinvestment fund to be administered by the Department for incentive to expand evidence-backed prison alternatives, provide support to victims, and provide for targeted investments by the Department into reentry services and evidence-based practices.
    HB 489 by Rep. Walt Leger

  • Mandate Data Collection and Tracking of Performance Measures to Monitor Implementation and Outcomes of Justice Reinvestment Reforms: Mandate collection and reporting of data by the courts, Department of Corrections, and other entities relevant to sentencing, release, community supervision, criminal justice financial obligations, collateral consequences of felony convictions, and reinvestment of savings in order to measure success of the reforms.
    HB 489 by Rep. Walt Leger

  • Provide the Opportunity for Parole Consideration to Some of Louisiana's Longest-serving Inmates: Firstly, ensure that inmates sentenced to life imprisonment who have demonstrated substantial growth behind bars receive an opportunity for release by creating a parole valve for current and future inmates who have served 30 years behind bars and have reached the age of 50, excluding those sentenced for first-degree murder. Secondly, ensure that long-serving inmates not serving life sentences who have demonstrated substantial growth behind bars receive an opportunity for release by restoring eligibility for “old-timer” parole to current and future inmates convicted of sex and violent crimes. This policy change would authorize parole consideration at the discretion of the Parole Board after serving 20 years of a prison sentence and reaching the age of 45.
    SB 139 by Sen. Danny Martiny

  • Juvenile Life Without Parole: Bring Louisiana into compliance with the United States Supreme Court’s Montgomery decision by providing parole eligibility to certain inmates sentenced to life without parole as a juvenile. In Miller vs. Alabama, the United State Supreme Court ruled that a mandatory life sentence for a juvenile without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional.
    SB 16 by Sen. Dan Claitor

 

Strengthening Community Policing Standards

  • Enhanced Law Enforcement Training Requirements: Require the Council on Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) to develop and implement curriculum for de-escalation, bias policing recognition, sudden in-custody deaths, and crisis intervention training for law enforcement officers; further require the immediate revocation of P.O.S.T. certification of any full-time, part-time, or reserve, peace officer upon the conviction of any offense that results in the restriction of a peace officer's right to bear arms. 
    HBs 277 and 278 by Rep. Ted James, HB 481 by Rep. Katrina Jackson

  • Enhancing the Louisiana Uniform Law Enforcement Statewide Reporting Database: Require all law enforcement agencies and the P.O.S.T. Council report all P.O.S.T certifications and decertifications, disciplinary actions, officer investigations and resignations in lieu of termination or pending an investigation to Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice for inclusion in the Louisiana Uniform Law Enforcement Statewide Reporting Database. 
    HB 213 by Rep. Jimmy Harris and HB 481 by Rep. Katrina Jackson

 

Creating a Stable and Predictable State Budget

Individual Income Tax Proposals

  • Eliminate the Federal Income Tax deduction
    HBs 258 and 311 by Rep. Rob Shadoin

  • Cut taxes for 90% of individual tax filers by lowering the rates to 1% / 3% / 5%
    HB 284 by Rep. Rob Shadoin

Sales Tax Proposals

  • Remove the 5th penny: ($880 Million)*
    HB 275 by Rep. Katrina Jackson

  • Clean existing pennies: Replaces $180 Million in revenue
    HB 562 by Rep. Katrina Jackson

  • Expand sales tax to services: Replaces $200 Million in revenue
    HB 562 by Rep. Katrina Jackson

Corporate Tax Proposals

  • Eliminate the Federal Income Tax deduction and lower corporate income tax rates to 3% / 5% / 7%: Replaces $66 Million in revenue
    HBs 95 and 102 by Rep. Walt Leger; HBs 258, 285 and 311 by Rep. Rob Shadoin

  • Implement a Commercial Activity Tax (C-A-T) for corporations and limited liability entities: Replaces $800-900 Million in revenue
    Click here for a summary of the C-A-T.
    HB 628 by Rep. Sam Jones

  • Phase out Corporate Franchise Tax over 10 years
    HB 433 by Rep. Rob Shadoin

Tax Expenditure Proposals

  • Make permanent reductions to credits and incentives: Replaces $192.5 Million* in revenue
    HBs 173, 247 and 274 by Rep. Katrina Jackson

  • Sunset or eliminate certain credits and incentives
    HB 174 by Rep. Katrina Jackson, SBs 178 and 183 by Sen. J.P. Morrell

Budget Proposal

  • Once our budget and tax structure is stabilized, budget for 98% of forecasted revenues to avoid mid-year cuts and to have funding available in times of emergency
    SB 229 by Sen. Greg Tarver, Sen. President John Alario and Sen. Eric LaFleur

NOTE: * indicates numbers based on fiscal notes from previous legislative sessions

 

Improving K-12 Educational Outcomes

  • Kindergarten Voucher Loophole: Currently, students who are entering Kindergarten can take advantage of vouchers even though they are zoned to attend an A or B rated public school. Proposed legislation would close the Kindergarten loophole in the voucher enrollment process by limiting the eligibility of Kindergarten students zoned to attend a “C”, “D”, or “F” rated school.
    SB 13 by Sen. Blade Morrish

  • Corporal Punishment: Proposed legislation would prohibit the use of corporal punishment in all public elementary and secondary schools for students with disabilities.
    HB 79 by Rep. Franklin Foil, SB 91 by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson

  • Instructional Minutes: This measure would allow schools impacted by a disaster or natural catastrophe to seek an exemption from the state superintendent of education and BESE from the required 360 minutes of instructional time per school day.  A school must submit to the state superintendent of education for approval documented information explaining why the school could not meet such requirements, any efforts made by the school toward meeting the requirements, and a revised school calendar for the affected school year.
    HB 20 by Rep. Ed Price

  • Value-added assessment model: Louisiana’s system of evaluating teacher and administrator effectiveness requires that 35% of the overall evaluation be based on data derived through the value-added assessment model. Proposed legislation would give school administrators the discretion to use data derived from a value-added assessment, along with other pertinent data, to inform their decisions in the process of evaluating a teacher.
    HB 532 by Rep. Frank Hoffmann

 

Protecting and Restoring Louisiana's Coast

  • Coastal Master Plan: Every 5 years, the state’s coastal master plan is updated in accordance with state law. The 2017 Coastal Master Plan sets an ambitious path to respond to the loss of our coastal land and the threats from storm surge events. The 2017 plan recommends 120 projects that build or maintain more than 800 square miles of land and reduce expected damage by $8.3 billion annually by year 50 and are expected to pay for themselves three times over the course of implementing the plan. The plan dedicates nearly $18 billion to marsh creation using dredged material, $5 billion to sediment diversions and more than $2 billion to other types of restoration projects. The plan also dedicates $19 billion for hurricane protection projects and $6 billion for nonstructural risk reduction.
    SCR 1 by Sen. Blade Morrish and Sen. President John Alario

  • Coastal Annual Plan: Every year, in accordance with state law, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is required to submit an annual plan to the legislature. The annual plan outlines the CPRA’s funding priorities for the next fiscal year and provides a 3-year outlook on revenues and expenditures. The FY18 Annual Plan includes $644 million in expenditures, with 30 projects currently scheduled to begin or continue construction in FY18.
    HR 1 by Rep. Jerome Zeringue, SR 1 by Sen. Blade Morrish