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Public Policy 2019 Mid-Session Report

United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s 2019 Public Policy Legislative Agenda, “United for a Safe & Prosperous Community” continues our bipartisan advocacy efforts fighting for the health, education, and financial stability of every person.

United Way is working closely with elected officials and collaborative partners across Louisiana to ensure passage of bills that our staff and board have identified as legislation which will help create a better, stronger community for all. You can review a downloadable version of our full legislative agenda here.

We are over halfway through the 2019 State Legislative Session and happy to report our progress thus far.

 

FINANCIAL STABILITY

SB 155 authored by Senator Troy Carter establishes a state minimum hourly wage of nine dollars, effective July 1, 2020, and authorizes the legislature to increase the minimum wage by law.

  • Subject to call – Senate final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/14/19

SB 136 authored by Senator JP Morrell promotes pay transparency by prohibiting employers from taking actions against employees for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing their wages or those of other employees. 

  • Subject to call – Senate final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/14/19

HB 422 authored by Representative Royce Duplessis authorizes parishes and municipalities to provide relative to the local economy. 

  • Pending House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations

SB 186 authored by Senator JP Morrell establishes a statewide paid family and medical leave program.

  • Pending Senate Committee on Finance

In the News:

Let Louisiana residents decide on a higher minimum wage | NOLA.com | April 29, 2019

Guest column: Paid family leave bill would help Louisiana families  | The Advocate | April 26, 2019

Long-shot effort renewed to raise Louisiana minimum wage | WWLTV | April 26, 2019

States Are Trying to Stop Cities from Raising Minimum Wage | Truthout.org | April 23, 2019

Should locals set their own minimum wage? Fresh idea gets rude awakening in Louisiana Legislature | The Advocate | April 15, 2019

Louisiana’s working women at bottom of national wage gap | Greater Baton Rouge Business Report | April 5, 2019

 

EDUCATION

SB 153 authored by Senator Danny Martiny provides relative to sports wagering and crediting proceeds to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund.

  • Pending House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice

SB 196 authored by Senator JP Morrell authorizes local government to charge a fee on certain gaming winnings to fund local early childhood programs.

  • Subject to call – Senate final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/14/19

HB 495 authored by Representative Neil Abramson authorizes an 8% state tax on net gaming proceeds from fantasy sports contests and dedicates the avails of the tax to the state general fund and the La. Early Childhood Education Fund.

  • Subject to call – House final passage

HB 587 authored by Representative Joseph Marino levies a 15% state tax on the net proceeds of sports wagering and dedicates 1% or $500,000, whichever is greater, to the Compulsive and Problem Gaming Fund and the remainder of the proceeds to the Early Childhood Education Fund and parish governing authorities. Authorizes certain permits and imposes fees for entities involved in the sports wagering gaming industry.

  • Pending House Committee on Appropriations

HB 600 authored by Representative Kirk Talbot authorizes a 10% state tax on net gaming proceeds from fantasy sports contests and dedicates the avails of the tax to the La. Early Childhood Education Fund. 

  • Pending House Committee on Appropriations

In the News:

No Interference As State Senate Easily Passes Louisiana Sports Betting Bill | legalsportsreport.com | April 30, 2019

Early childhood education advocates say survey supports goals | The Advocate | April 22, 2019

Can early education push help pass sports betting? | NOLA.com | February 18, 2019

 

HEALTH

HB 345 authored by Representative Julie Stokes provides for coverage for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility screening. This legislation requires insurance to cover the BRCA test - an indicator for breast cancer, before women test positive for cancer so they can know their risks before it is too late.

  • Pending House final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/14/19

HB 347 authored by Representative Julie Stokes provides for the coverage of diagnostic imaging at the same level of coverage as screening mammograms. This legislation requires insurance to fully cover the diagnostic tests for breast cancer in addition to the initial screens.

  • Pending House final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/14/19

HB 370 authored by Representative Julie Stokes provides relative to prescription drug benefits for persons with stage-four advanced, metastatic cancer. This legislation stops the insurance industry from requiring patients to use the cheapest treatment first before moving onto more expensive, and possibly more effective, treatments that have been ordered by their doctor.    

  • Pending House final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/14/19

SB 4 authored by Senator JP Morrell is a constitutional amendment to exempt diapers and feminine hygiene products from state sales and use tax.

  • Subject to call – Senate final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/14/19

SB 5 authored by Senator JP Morrell exempts diapers and feminine hygiene products from sales and use tax.

  • Passed in the Senate

  • Pending House Committee on Ways and Means

In the News:

More than diapers need to be changed in tax debate | NOLA.com | May 11, 2019

Tax exemption for diapers and feminine hygiene products advances | The Advocate | April 22, 2019

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

SB 71 authored by Senator Troy Carter provides relative to interpreters for non-English-speaking persons in civil protective order cases. (gov sig)

  • Passed in the Senate – Pending House final passage - Scheduled for floor debate on 5/21/19

SB 146 authored by Senator JP Morrell prohibits the incarceration of victims of domestic violence and sex offenses who refuse to testify against their abusers. (gov sig) 

  • Passed in the Senate - Pending House referral – Under consideration

HB 279 authored by Representative Joseph Marino provides relative to the transfer of firearms of persons who are prohibited from possessing a firearm in domestic abuse cases. 

  • Pending House final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/20/19

In the News:

Louisiana Senate backs strict limits on 'abhorrent practice' of jailing victims unwilling to testify | The Advocate | May 8, 2019

 

COMMUNITY STRENTHENING

HB 180 authored by Representative Larry Bagley creates the crime of interfering with emergency communication. 

  • Passed in the House – Pending Senate Committee on Judiciary C Committee – Scheduled for Judiciary C on 5/14/19

HB 389 authored by Representative Julie Stokes provides for naming the supreme court building after Pascal F. Calogero, Jr.

  • Pending House final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/14/19

HB 489 authored by Representative Mary DuBuisson expands the definition of what is not hearsay to include statements made by the victim of a sexually-oriented criminal offense to a healthcare provider during a forensic medical examination. 

  • Pending House final passage – Scheduled for floor debate on 5/20/19

HB 544 authored by Representative Taylor F. Barras and Senator John Alario provides with respect to the land-based casino operating contract. See Fiscal Note here

  • Passed in the House – Pending Senate Committee on Judiciary B

SR 31 authored by Senator JP Morrell commends Mary Claire Landry upon receipt of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alliance for HOPE International and has been sent to the Secretary of State.  

  • Adopted – Signed by the President of the Senate – Sent to the Secretary of State

In the News:

Advocates convene at Capitol to support anti-violence legislation | KALB | May 3, 2019

Harrah’s contract renewal awaits Senate action after winning House approval | FOX 8 | May 3, 2019

 

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