2021 State Legislative Agenda Highlights


The 2021 Legislative Session 

The 2021 Regular Legislative Session began last Monday with a flurry of action and over 900 pre-filed bills. 

Over the next two months, legislators will debate policies that will directly impact all of us. At United Way of Southeast Louisiana, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure that these policies support vulnerable families and bring us closer to achieving a vision of equitable communities. 

Every year, United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Public Policy Committee – led currently by Ron McClain – crafts a legislative agenda that outlines our policy priorities. This agenda is rooted in careful research and data with a focus on bipartisanship.  

I invite you to review our full 2021 State Legislative Agenda here, and keep reading for a few highlights of legislative opportunities.


Education: Early Care & Education and Sports Betting

What does sports betting have to do with early care and education? Last year, voters in 55 out of 64 parishes voted to allow sports betting. This year, the legislature will decide the amount of taxes levied on sports betting and where these funds will be directed.

As part of the Ready Louisiana Coalition - a bipartisan group of over 95 chambers of commerce, businesses, civic organizations, and advocacy organizations – United Way SELA is advocating for legislators to dedicate all revenues from sports betting to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund. This is a way to fund early care and education at a robust level without cutting any existing services and only taxing a purely recreational activity.


Financial Stability: Living Wage, Pay Secrecy, and the Pink Tax

United Way SELA has advocated for a statewide living wage and the elimination of pay secrecy for years, and we will continue to push for these items during the 2021 session. These policies support families living under the ALICE threshold who struggle to afford basics like housing, food, transportation, and child care. 

We will also continue to advocate for the removal of sales taxes on feminine hygiene products and diapers. Louisiana already exempts other necessities such as groceries and prescription drugs from state sales taxes. Taxing period and diaper products place an extra financial burden on women, especially those with low-incomes.


Health: Domestic Violence & Paid Family Leave

Louisiana leads the nation in poor health outcomes and remains near the top of the list for the rate of women killed by men. During this session, we will continue to build upon our transformative work to protect survivors of domestic violence and support policies to promote health equity, such as paid family leave. 


Community Strengthening: Louisiana Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative, Justice Re-Investment Act, Criminal Justice Reform, and Louisiana’s Foster

United Way SELA collaborates with partners to advance criminal justice reform and strengthen community policing standards.  Our data-driven, results-focused efforts – guided by our Blueprint for Prosperity – are laser-focused on helping formerly incarcerated individuals with the skills, resources, and opportunities they need to become financially stable. 

Our Public Policy team is working around the clock to meet with legislators, develop strategy with collaborative partners, and testify in legislative committee meetings. We invite you to join us in advocating for policies that help create equitable, thriving communities by signing up for action alerts here.


Living United,

Charmaine CaccioppiCharmaine Caccioppi
Executive Vice President & COO
United Way of Southeast Louisiana