Baton Rouge, LA— Today, Governor Jeff Landry delivered remarks during the first regular session. He highlighted his top priorities for the session including education, the economy, insurance, and constitutional reform.


Remarks as prepared:
Mr. Speaker, 

            Mr. President, 

            Ladies and Gentlemen of the House and Senate, 

            Thank you for your welcome and thank you for your friendship and honest debate as we continue the dedicated path of improving our beloved state.


            I want to again thank you on behalf of the citizens of this State for the commitment to public safety and the success we had just a few weeks ago making our State safe. You deserve to give yourself a round of applause, for the people of this great state believe you earned it!

  While we are off to a good start, know that our horrific crime stats won’t disappear overnight, but you have proven to America that no State is more committed to making our communities safe! So again, I thank you!


While Louisiana ranks 50th in crime, we are among the worst - 46th -- in education. 


We won’t fix crime if we don’t fix our schools.

Louisiana is failing our students, and the statistics could not be more alarming. 

70% of fourth graders can’t read.

And 80% of eighth graders can’t do basic math. 


We all know the foundation of a good education comes down to teaching the basics - reading, writing and math. Like my son J.T. says, “what’s the benefit to the student if he or she is not learning?” That’s a fundamental question we should start with.


That’s a question that parents keep asking. Their frustration is boiling over.  It is what propelled many to this Legislature.  


            We cannot continue to be tone deaf to Moms and Dads that are working two jobs to pay for a decent education for their child.  


They want to be free from the dangers of uncontrolled classrooms, 

free from bureaucracy that prioritizes petty grievances above children in the classroom, 

and free from being indoctrinated by the latest radical social cause.


When we are done with this session - let us send a message loud and clear - that THE PARENT is the most important voice in a child’s education. 


Despite Louisiana spending MORE per student than Mississippi or Florida, more than Texas, even more than Alabama - our kids continue to fall behind. 


The need to transform the way Louisiana educates our children should be bold - and we should – like we ask our kids, to “dream big.”


Take for example – Florida. Twenty years ago – Florida’s system was no better than ours. 

Last year it was ranked #1 in education. 

They empowered parents. They challenged the system to do even better. And in one educational generation - they became THE inspiration for all other states to follow. 

The steps we need to take are simple: 

ONE: Make all education lead to a vocation. 

TWO: Put parents back in control, and let the money follow the child…

And THREE: Treat our teachers with respect and reward them when their students are successful.

Over the years, we’ve taken small steps towards finding solutions – and with us today are examples of how when we change, our students succeed. 


With us are Kayla, Aniya, Ashley, Camila, Amanda and Ortega. 

KAYLA and ANIYAA attend a charter school. They will graduate not only with a high school diploma – but also an associate degree. An associate degree that is aligned with high demand and high earning occupations that this state needs. 

They have been educated for success because their charter school allowed them the flexibility so that their education leads them to a vocation. 

Ashley, Camila, Amanda & Ortega. 

Despite living in an under-served  minority community – they attend Gardere Community Christian School. They are an example that proves school choice works. Gardere has test scores 300% higher than the closest schools in their area.


Finally, our 2023 Teacher of the Year - Mrs. Kylie Altier is here with us. 


She is willing to help us identify how we can remove barriers like government mandates that waste teacher time and take their focus off the classroom. So that teachers can teach!    


I know you believe in our kids, and we should trust the parents, let’s start to match our actions with our beliefs. 

            We know too well the story of those who leave this state for better opportunities. It has been memorialized in our statistics; year after year…every State in the South has accepted more people into their state then have left, except one; Louisiana! 

Like me, you rose to public service because you were tired of these stories. You are frustrated like me of the statistics that continue to place our beautiful and enchanting state at the bottom of every metric of quality.  

            We ran campaign’s out of sadness, anger, and frustration.  

            Sad, because we know the costs of seeing loved ones continue to leave our most uniquely blessed and colorful state for other opportunities. 

Angry, because we know we are a better than the widely publicized statistics.

            Frustrated, because we know the quality of our people, 

because we know the work ethic they possess.

We know their values. Their family and our friends. 

            What I have appreciated is your sense of urgency.  All of our problems can be solved if we have the will and the capacity to deliberate fairly and honestly and arrive at solutions that are in the best interests of our citizens, their children, and our future.

            Now some may say we are trying to do too much too fast.  But that is precisely what you do when you are behind.  

            In the new industrial South, America’s best corporations are fleeing states where they are over-taxed, over-regulated and under-appreciated---they are locating to friendlier southern states where people are eager to go to work each day and appreciate the opportunity to build a life for their family. 

            As population growth continues in the South, this is our time, but we must act now to create a business-friendly atmosphere at this pivotal moment in history.

              U.S. News & World Report ranked Louisiana dead last in 2023, with our economy ranked 50th.

            Our occupational licensing structure is a prime example of how we have made working in Louisiana needlessly difficult.  We rank the 6th worst state in occupational licensing while licensing 77 of 102 identified occupations.  

More than any other state.  


I urge you to address universally recognize occupational licensures and remove the barriers of employment in Louisiana.

            We are working to re-organize the Louisiana Department of Economic Development. The ideas we will discuss with you are not mine, they are the product of listening to those who have seen and felt the success of our Southern neighbors. 

The Committee of 100 committed private dollars to researching and reporting to us what is working in other States. 

That is what we offer to you.  

             We can and we will be competitive with other states; by eliminating burdensome and ineffective regulations and by streamlining economic development we will be competitive…

            Never forget that our advantage is our people, the most beautifully diversified, skilled, and energetic people on earth.  

They too are ready, willing, and able to work hard. Remember hospitality may have been invented in the South, but it was perfected in Louisiana. 


Let’s showcase our people! 


Let us focus on the business and industries that have built this State.


We are experiencing an insurance crisis as a result years of back-to-back hurricanes which have decimated our Southern coast. These storms overwhelmed the insurance industry.  


            The delay in getting claims fairly and thoroughly processed; has led to an unprecedented number of lawsuits now clogging our state and federal courts. Many insurance companies have now left us.


            Those companies still writing insurance have raised rates to cover the losses.  Many homeowners and businesses cannot acquire insurance in the current environment, leading to mortgage disqualification, the threat of losing one’s home, and business re-locations and failures.


            Our new Insurance Commissioner is working tirelessly to find solutions that make Louisiana an attractive market for more companies to write here.  Commissioner Temple believes, and I agree with him, that the de-regulatory measures he is undertaking will improve market conditions.  


            There will be several additional ideas and proposals before you this session addressing the insurance crisis.  I urge you to listen carefully to this debate and arrive at the solutions that are fair to the consumer and will work to attracting the companies we need to insure them.          


While we continue the task of transitioning, each Cabinet member has been instructed to report to the Commissioner on the operational status of their departments, along with recommendations for efficiency at every level. Their work includes looking for savings and innovations, a needed exercise as we put a new focus on respecting the citizens’ tax dollars.


Though we were limited by not having full access to the books until early January, we have worked hard to craft a budget that right sizes our State’s Finances. Over the last few years federal spending during the pandemic has caused State budgets to become bloated and generated one-time tax revenue windfalls. 


We need to be honest with where we are and what we have been through financially.  Remember… government taxes the hard work and sweat of the people. Let’s be mindful of the sacrifices they make to fund government. 


We believe the proposed budget is a blueprint for restoring common sense and necessary …conservative  …money management.


            Recognizing this, we are cautiously proceeding as we move into the coming fiscal year without a reliance upon further pandemic funds from the federal treasury.  


            A possible half a billion shortfall in 2025-26 is looming, according to YOUR Budget Committee’s 5-Year Baseline Projection.  

This forecast is a consequence of our economy, the phase-out of federal funds, the expiration of the temporary sales tax, and our projected spending needs.

As a result of our budgetary work, we present you with a budget spends $3 billion less than last year. 

            I ask you to work with me to develop innovative ways to empower our agency heads and all state employees to identify efficiencies and cost savings in our ongoing operations.  Some of those savings might well be used on more important and immediate priorities without increasing base spending and be available in future years to cope with potential shortfalls.

             We shall continue to work within the constitutional restraints to budget responsibly. 

            Speaking of constitutional parameters, it is time for us to open the dialogue about reforming our bloated, outdated, antiquated, and much abused state constitution.

            According to the Council of State Governments, Louisiana ranks amongst the longest of all state constitutions-with 72,000 words.  

            In less than 50 years, the legislature has proposed over 300 amendments of which 210 have been incorporated into to the 1974 constitution.  That’s six per year proposed, four per year incorporated.

            By comparison, the state of Massachusetts still uses there very first constitution with only 120 amendments in 244 years. 

Something is definitely wrong. 

            When I was a student working in this capitol, I met a legendary man named Camille Gravel.  I know some of you remember him.  Rep. Thompson remembers him, I know, but Francis knew Abraham Lincoln, too. 

            Mr. Gravel was one of the greatest legal minds in Louisiana’s history.  And he advised every Governor from 1940 until his death in 2005.  No person had more influence and hours in writing our constitution than Camille Gravel. Astoundingly, Mr. Gravel could recite the entire state constitution.

            A friend of mine who was very close to him relayed a story when they were staying together in New Orleans in 1983 while Mr. Gravel was trying a case there. 

            Every afternoon, he would get his daily exercise by walking from his apartment on St. Charles Avenue down to Audubon Park.  My friend would walk with Mr. Gravel and one day he asked him if he really could recite the Louisiana Constitution.  

Before they reached Audubon Park, Mr. Gravel had recited word for word, the entire constitution, including the 15 amendments it had at that time.

            I never forgot that story.  I think about it every time the discussion comes up about our bloated constitution. Today, Mr. Gravel would have to walk all the way to Lafayette before he could recite it.

            Every year the people of Louisiana wearily lose valuable time and money when they are asked to put yet another something else into the state constitution. 

            Asking them to act as lawmakers.  

            Asking them to study - and then vote on ridiculously long and complicated ballots.

            Again and again, we ask our people to act as legal scholars and analyze complicated and arcane legal propositions.  

            This is not a fair request of our voters – and these decisions are precisely what they elected YOU to handle.

            In order to better serve the interests of your constituents, this body needs greater flexibility to address and correct our state’s problems.  

            Our current system of constitutional protectionism simply does not allow our Legislature to implement needed change, which often leaves solutions coming far too late.  

            We can do better.

            We must do better.

            We will do better.

            Let’s rise to this challenge.  

            Let’s create a constitution that is streamlined and emblematic of the core principles that define who we are as a people.  

            A people with the inclination, will, and the capability to send their best and brightest to this Capitol each year to write the laws needed and to manage this state’s business affairs.  

            Those great people need a Legislature that is unshackled from micro-managing edicts inserted by the special interests that held sway at random and obsolete moments in our history.  

            Let us clean up the constitution and place matters in their appropriate statutory context.

            I believe a new uncomplicated constitution reflective of our own great nation’s is a bold, but much needed step toward making our state as great as we know it can be.

We are working hard, and we are working with as much conscientious speed as we possibly can to make this state better.  

            As Governor, I have the burden of prioritizing problems and addressing them as quickly and effectively as I possibly can.  Admittedly, I may not always get it right.

            I asked you to remove us from the shackles of a federal judge to rectify the Congressional re-districting litigation for obvious time sensitive reasons.  You rose to the challenge, putting party aside, and you solved a lingering political problem.

            We next asked you to prioritize the foremost issue concerning our citizens, and you courageously stepped up and demonstrated to the victims of crime across this state that their voices matter.  

            Today new problems and concerns move to the forefront demanding our attention and action.  

We intend to work hard on this session,

your concerns are my concerns.  

Your priorities are my priorities.

Your constituents are my constituents.  

            That is why my administration is open to you day and night.  

            Together we can improve our educational system, 

develop and re-develop our economy, 

lower crime, 

safeguard our environment, and 

bring meaningful and everlasting improvements to this beautiful state. 

            Let’s run a government that now works for, not against, the people of our state.

            God bless Louisiana and the people we represent.