BATON ROUGE– Gov. John Bel Edwards released the bills in his 2023 legislative package, the final regular legislative session of his second term, on April 18.
“This package of bipartisan legislation aims for a Louisiana that lives our pro-life values,” said Gov. Edwards. “To truly be pro-life in my estimation, we must make it easier for parents to feed, educate and house their children. We need to raise the minimum wage, close our gender pay gap, and offer our people paid family and medical leave. We must also find empathy for victims of rape and incest who become pregnant. And I am calling on the legislature to abolish the death penalty, which promotes a culture of death and has proven to be expensive and ineffective at deterring crime.”
The governor’s priority bills are in addition to his state budget request, unveiled earlier this year, which calls for a $3,000 teacher pay raise, the largest-ever state general fund investment in early childhood education, a permanent increase of $100 per month (a 20% increase) in supplemental pay, and historic funding for higher education.
Raise the Minimum Wage
SB 149 and HB 374 | Sen. Gary Carter and Rep. Ed Larvadain
- Summary: Propose a raise in the state-wide minimum wage to $10 an hour starting January 1, 2024, $12 an hour starting January 1, 2026, and $14 an hour starting January 1, 2028.
- The governor believes these bills are pro-life.
- It is unacceptable that Louisiana has not raised the minimum wage from the federal minimum of $7.25 – even more so now with inflation.
- Congress has not raised the federal minimum wage since 2009 when it was raised to $7.25 an hour.
- Since then, the majority of states have raised their minimum wage, with 20 states raising their minimum wage in 2023 alone.
- Not advancing this legislation would be a step backwards for our families and our children who live in poverty but want to work.
- The majority of people across our state, regardless of their party affiliation, agree with an increase in the minimum wage. (LSU Public Policy Research Lab)
Pay Transparency – Gender Wage Gap
HB 283 | Rep. Vanessa LaFleur
- Summary: The proposed law would prohibit an employer from taking any adverse action against an employee who discusses or compares his/her wages with another employee.
- Our state continues to have one of the highest gender wage gaps in the nation. (U.S. Bureau of Statistics)
- The governor believes this bill is pro-life. We can’t say we are looking out for our families and our children if we don’t close the gender pay gap, which perpetuates poverty and allows our communities and children to suffer as a result.
- Wage transparency is an important step toward achieving equal pay for equal work.
- Wage gaps and pay inequity have been found to be reduced in organizations that utilize salary transparency. (National Bureau of Economic Research)
Death Penalty Abolition
HB 228 | Rep. Kyle Green
- Summary: Eliminates the death penalty and provides that persons previously sentenced to death shall be resentenced to a term of life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
- The governor believes this bill is pro-life.
- There have been far more exonerations (6) off of our death row over the last twenty years then there have been actual executions (1).
- The death penalty is increasingly expensive, difficult to carry out, and proven to be ineffective at deterring crime.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
HB 596 | Rep. Aimee Freeman
- Summary: Proposes family and medical leave benefits be paid to an employee who is caring for a child during the first year after birth, adoption or placement through foster care; caring for a family member with a serious health condition; has a serious health condition that makes him/her unable to perform the functions of his position of employment; or caring for a military service member.
- The governor believes this bill is pro-life. It’s time to make it possible for mothers and fathers to care for their babies without risking bankruptcy.
- Research shows that paid family leave means families are more likely to attend regular medical checkups and have fewer health problems.
- Paid leave means women who give birth are less likely to experience postpartum complications and men are more likely to be involved fathers.
HB 366 | Rep. Sam Jenkins
- Summary: Authorizes the legislature to enact employee leave policies which are uniformly applicable to all state government employers and employees.
- The governor believes this bill is pro-life. The proposed constitutional amendment would let the legislature enact paid family and medical leave laws that cover state government employees.
Abortion Law Exceptions
HB 346* | Rep. Delisha Boyd
- Summary: Provides that the termination of a pregnancy that is the result of an act constituting a sex offense – rape and incest – shall not be considered an act of abortion.
- Research has shown that rape and incest exceptions to Louisiana’s abortion law are overwhelmingly supported by the people of Louisiana.
Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion
Senate Bill to be filed* | Sen. Jay Luneau
- Summary: Increases Louisiana’s Earned Income Tax Credit and makes it permanent.
Higher Ed Fee Waiver for Louisiana National Guard Service members
HB 485 | Rep. Ken Brass
- Summary: Creates the LA National Guard Patriot Scholarship Program to cover mandatory fees for qualifying National Guard service members attending public postsecondary education institutions.
Dolly Parton Imagination Library
HB 412 | Rep. Malinda White
- Summary: Establishes the La. Imagination Library Program under the administration of the La. Educational Television Authority (LETA) for the purpose of encouraging reading and learning for young children and creating a fund for funding the program.
- This bill seeks to create a partnership framework for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library that would make children aged 0-5 in every zip code of the state eligible to receive books to their homes.
SB 152 | Sen. Barry Milligan | Cybersecurity Commission
- Summary: Creates the 21-member Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission within the Division of Administration to coordinate cybersecurity efforts among local, state, tribal, and federal governments, as well as the private sector, to maintain the stability of public services while ensuring proper privacy and protection of data entrusted to the state.
- The cyber infrastructure of our nation and of our state have been increasingly under attack.
SB 11 | Sen. Jay Luneau | Gender Discrimination in Auto Insurance
- Summary: Prohibits insurance rate setting based on gender.
- Car insurance companies in Louisiana charge women more for auto insurance than men, just because they’re women. It’s ridiculous, especially when you consider that research shows women are safer drivers, less likely to get in costly accidents. It’s time to ban this unfair and discriminatory practice.
HB552 | Rep. Stephanie Hilferty
- Summary: Suspends until 2025 the legal requirement that Louisiana Citizens—the state’s publicly-owned insurer of last resort—must charge 10% more than private insurance companies on property insurance policies.
- This will hopefully result in some premium relief for policyholders who have no option for insurance except Louisiana Citizens, although re-insurance expenses may result in Louisiana Citizens charging more than the private market even without the 10% surcharge.
HB287 | Rep. Mack Cormier
- Summary: Requires the immediate issuance of a field adjuster’s report upon completion, rather than forcing policyholders to submit a request for the report and wait up to 15 days.
- This legislation would make it harder for insurance companies to get away with modifying reports from field adjusters at hurricane victims’ expense.
- The Washington Post recently published an exposé detailing the use of this practice in Florida.
HB252 | Rep. Robby Carter
- Summary: Prohibits the current practice of insurance companies charging policyholders for the cost of advertising in their premiums.
- This common-sense consumer protection would lower insurance rates. Policyholders should not have to foot the bill for every commercial with Flo, Jake, the Emu and the Gecko.
*denotes a bill where changes/updates to bill language—but not intent—are expected upon first committee hearing