On Tuesday, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) released the 20th edition of its Legislative Scorecard highlighting the leaders who voted for a solid foundation of policies that promote economic growth and job creation across the Pelican State.
For the greater New Orleans region, Sen. Conrad Appel (R-Metairie) and Reps. Patrick Connick (R-Marrero), Raymond Garofalo (R-Chalmette), Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge), and Polly Thomas (R-Metairie) were named “Most Valuable Policymaker” (MVP) for earning a perfect score on major legislation that affected the state’s economy. Reps. Stephanie Hilferty (R-Metairie), Cameron Henry (R-Metairie) and Julie Stokes (R-Kenner) were named “LABI All-Stars” for scoring 90 percent or higher on legislation selected for analysis. Rep. Joseph Marino (I-Gretna) was given a “LABI Honorable Mention” for scoring 80 percent or higher on bills selected for the Scorecard analysis.
For the Bayou Region, Reps. Beryl Amedee (R-Houma) and Tanner Magee (R-Houma) were named “Most Valuable Policymakers” (MVPs) for earning perfect scores on major legislation that affected the state’s economy. Sen. Bret Allain (R-Franklin) and Rep. Jerome Zeringue (R-Houma) were given “LABI Honorable Mentions” for scoring 80 percent or higher on bills selected for the Scorecard analysis.
This year’s Scorecard details the votes taken on 27 measures that would affect the state’s economy, employers and business climate. The report gives Louisiana residents an inside look at what happens in Baton Rouge and provides them with the information necessary to make informed decisions at the polls.
“Some may find the legislation prioritized in our Scorecard surprising, given the overwhelming focus solely on the fiscal cliff narrative during the marathon of sessions this year,” said Stephen Waguespack, LABI president and CEO. “We were promoting a broader pro-growth agenda and remain focused on long-term solutions to our problems rather than short-term Band-Aids. Yet the issues our team tackled at the Legislature have one thing in common: they profoundly impact the ability of Louisiana employers to create jobs.”
Each year LABI works with an engaged membership to determine the issues most important to Louisiana’s economy and subsequently develop an annual Program of Work that guides policy development and advocacy efforts in Baton Rouge. The criteria outlined in the Program of Work determines the weight each piece of legislation carries throughout the session and guides the final votes selected for the annual analysis.
In 2018, LABI urged lawmakers to consider the economy as they debated solutions to the state’s fiscal challenges. In addition to sound tax policy, consistent with the priorities laid out in the Program of Work, LABI championed bills in 2018 to provide greater transparency on state spending through the creation of Louisiana Checkbook, improve the cost and performance of legacy state pension systems and bring more accountability to Medicaid spending. LABI urged legislators to eliminate overly burdensome regulations that hinder job opportunities, limit frivolous lawsuits and lower auto insurance rates by allowing evidence of seat belt use in civil trials and promote entrepreneurship and affordable ridesharing statewide. LABI also joined a bipartisan coalition to call a limited Constitutional Convention to rewrite our governing document to better reflect the needs and vision of today’s taxpayers. These advocacy efforts are explained in further detail and reflected in the votes chosen for analysis in the 20th edition of the LABI Scorecard.
Waguespack continued, “2018 was a year filled with contention and frustration, as legislators again attempted to resolve the fiscal deficit in state government. As session after session broke down, major challenges were sidelined by the bureaucratic bubble of Baton Rouge. Also frustrated throughout this process were the state’s entrepreneurs, innovators and job creators. Too often, they were either largely forgotten or unfairly blamed for government’s deficiencies. That trend must change. Still, there were a good number of lawmakers who took courageous stands to promote these reforms and defend free enterprise. Their leadership gives us hope for the future, and we’re proud to recognize them for their hard work.”
Overall, 24 MVPs across Louisiana are being recognized, including Sens. Conrad Appel (R-Metairie), Jack Donahue (R-Mandeville), Sharon Hewitt (R-Slidell), Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton), Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City), Mike Walsworth (R-West Monroe) and Mack “Bodi” White (R-Baton Rouge) and Reps. Mark Abraham (R-Lake Charles), Beryl Amedee (R-Houma), Thomas Carmody (R-Shreveport), Patrick Connick (R-Marrero), Phillip DeVillier (R-Eunice), Rick Edmonds (R-Baton Rouge), Julie Emerson (R-Carencro), Raymond Garofalo (R-Chalmette), Dodie Horton (R-Haughton), Nancy Landry (R-Lafayette), Tanner Magee (R-Houma), Jack McFarland (R-Jonesboro), Blake Miguez (R-Erath), Scott Simon (R-Abita Springs), John Stefanski (R-Crowley), Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge) and Polly Thomas (R-Metairie). Each voted to prioritize growth in the private-sector economy on 100 percent of the legislation important to LABI and the state’s employers.
In total, there were two senators and 19 representatives who claimed the title of “LABI All-Stars,” scoring 90 percent or higher on the legislation selected for the Scorecard analysis. These legislators were strong advocates for advancing a platform of positive, pro-growth measures to improve Louisiana’s economic climate.
Also recognized in the Scorecard are the 11 additional “LABI Honorable Mention” legislators from across Louisiana who scored 80 percent or higher on bills selected for the Scorecard analysis.
The votes cast by these legislators also served to challenge the status quo in state government and prioritize the state’s economy.
More than 2,500 bills and resolutions were filled during four legislative sessions this year, and LABI’s analysis included 27 key votes in the House and Senate indicative of pro-business stances.
This year’s LABI MVPs, All-Stars and Honorable Mentions will be honored by LABI members on November 15, 2018, at the third annual LABI Free Enterprise Awards reception alongside other businesses and individuals who have proven their exemplary commitment and contributions to their local communities and the state’s business climate. More information on the LABI Free Enterprise Awards reception can be found at http://labi.org/events/free-enterprise-program.
LABI encourages all Louisiana residents to visit http://labi.org/score-card to review this year’s report explaining LABI’s 2018 priorities, the outcomes of the recent sessions, descriptions of the bills used in the Scorecard analysis, the individual legislative scores and the detailed methodology behind the scores. Printable posters of legislative scores are also available by region and can be downloaded on the LABI website.