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LABI Prevails on Several Long-Sought Victories, Other Priorities Blocked to Protect the Status Quo

June 21, 2024

BATON ROUGE, La. – Following final action by the governor on legislation from the 2024 Regular Session, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) acknowledged significant wins for the state’s business community while noting disappointing outcomes on some crucial reform measures.

“LABI entered this session focused on promoting the enactment of elements of our LA Driven agenda surrounding insurance, education, workforce, and economic development to move Louisiana forward,” said LABI President and CEO Will Green. “Through impassioned advocacy work by our team guided by our LABI members, meaningful bills have been–or will be–signed into law. The work done over the past several months will substantially benefit Louisiana businesses and our state’s citizens.

“That said, there is plenty of work left to be done in order to overcome the status quo and those standing in the way of creating economic growth and a more competitive Louisiana.”

LABI managed, tracked and helped shepherd hundreds of bills that carried implications for businesses and employers. Despite some long-sought successes for the business community, meaningful efforts to put Louisiana on a path to prosperity were met with heavy resistance. This resistance came at the expense of all Louisiana families and business operators wanting a better place to live and work.

LABI’s focus now shifts to the future as we look for ways to establish a better business climate by promoting free enterprise to drive economic opportunities, improving the lives of every Louisiana citizen.

Some of the LABI-supported measures that reached the governor’s desk include:


SB 313 by Sen. Rick Edmonds* creates the framework for an Education Savings Account (ESA) program. This allows state education dollars to follow the student, enabling parents to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their child’s education. ESAs can be used to pay for a wide array of education-related expenses, such as tuition, textbooks, tutoring, special needs services and more—all of which are approved by the Louisiana Department of Education.

HB 78 by Rep. Kim Carver* cuts the red tape in the authorization process for charter schools with corporate partners, allowing the school to go directly to BESE for approval as a Type II charter and circumventing the overly burdensome, multi-step process required under current law. These unique learning environments provide numerous benefits to the school while expanding high-quality educational options for corporate partner employees.

HB 112 by Rep. John Wyble* strengthens accountability standards for schools by requiring superintendent evaluations to be based, in part, on student achievement in literacy and math.

HB 244 by Rep. Jason Hughes* will expand the Steve Carter Literacy Program to include educational services in math. This measure also increases the scholarship amount available to students.

HB 264 by Rep. Jason Hughes* adds computer science as a high school graduation requirement. LABI believes the state must make every effort to prepare students as much as possible BEFORE they enter the workforce. This bill is a proactive step to set them up for success when applying for high-skilled, high-wage jobs.

HB 267 by Rep. Kim Carver* will provide for a yearly assessment of math skills for students in grades K-3. This bill will ensure students have all the resources they need to succeed, including individual improvement plans and other supports if they are identified as being below grade level in numeracy.


HB 93 & 94 by Rep. Matthew Willard* provides for the issuance of birth certificates and other important documents to adult and juvenile inmates upon release from prison, ensuring that formerly incarcerated individuals are prepared to obtain a job.

HB 494 by Rep. Matthew Willard* allows children, ages 14 and up, to obtain special ID cards.

HB 553 by Rep. Marcus Bryant* allows for the expungement of arrest records of a 17-year-old offender if the charge(s) has been dismissed.

HB 728 by Rep. Paula Davis* lowers the eligibility age for the MJ Foster Promise Program from 21 to 17. LABI opposes restricting formerly incarcerated individuals’ access to vocational training and education. Making this investment through the MJ Foster Program would have saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, ultimately reducing crime and recidivism. While LABI is disappointed that the Senate did not restore this portion of the original bill, lowering the eligibility age is a good first step in expanding access to educational resources and vocational training.

HB 961 by Rep. Nick Muscarello will create a mental health transition pilot program administered in three southeast Louisiana parishes to provide transitional services for eligible individuals on probation or parole. The Department of Public Safety & Corrections must then conduct an annual review of the recidivism rates of those who receive these services to determine the potential for scaling the program to the entire state.

SB 183 by Sen. Gary Carter* focuses on academic and transitional plans for children under the supervision of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Current law requires the department to submit individualized learning plans to the court, but this bill expands the law to require those plans to include vocational training.

SB 251 by Sen. Regina Barrow* requires the Department of Public Safety & Corrections to offer GED training and at least one vocational training program for inmates. LABI supports these efforts to address talent supply shortages by providing access to skills training to juvenile offenders and adult inmates. Successful reentry relies heavily on securing employment post-release, and numerous studies have shown that vocational training for incarcerated populations pays dividends by reducing recidivism and reducing crime rates.

SB 272 by Sen. Rick Edmonds* will produce greater efficiency in the MJ Foster Promise Program by bringing it under the umbrella of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, to ensure the program is aligned with the state’s workforce development priorities.

SB 293 by Sen. Rick Edmonds* requires the Workforce Commission secretary to coordinate the removal of workforce silos and create a cohesive system. The secretary will be responsible for executing a statewide vision and held accountable for the outcome.

SB 494 by Sen. Beth Mizell* revamps and streamlines the Economic Development Department’s (LED) organization and operations, eliminating onerous regulations that impede the agency’s ability to move at the speed of business. Requires the secretary to develop a comprehensive strategic and long-range economic development plan in consultation with the Louisiana Economic Development Partnership.


HB 120 by Rep. Matthew Willard* repeals the sunset on the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program.

HB 337 by Rep. Jack McFarland* repeals the state’s direct action statute, while preserving the right to name an insurer only in limited circumstances, such as when the insured is insolvent or deceased. Repealing this statute does not remove an insurer’s obligation to pay damages but brings Louisiana in line with 47 other states.

HB 611 by Rep. Gabe Firment* phases out the three-year rule for property insurance, an issue that carriers have identified as a major impediment to doing business in the Louisiana market.

SB 84 by Sen. Alan Seabaugh* adjusts an imbalance in the Code of Civil Procedure that allows plaintiffs to capitalize on a provision typically reserved for defendants in other states. This bill will put Louisiana more closely in line with peer states that only allow defendants to make an offer of judgment.

SB 295 by Sen. Heather Cloud* shifts Louisiana from “prior approval” to “file in use” and will allow insurers more flexibility to price their product and remove another burden that slows down the rate adjustment process.

 SB 323 by Sen. Kirk Talbot* establishes a process for good faith and fair dealing in the claims process, removing numerous ambiguities in the law that hinder a swift claims resolution.

 SB 355 by Sen. Jeremy Stine* provides for the disclosure of all third-party litigation funding agreements, but the agreement will be discoverable rather than an automatic disclosure. This bill will bring these types of agreements out of the dark and shed light on previously unknown ethical conflicts, allowing opposing parties to know who may have a financial stake in the outcome of litigation. Importantly, the bill also prohibits a third party from having any influence or control over negotiations and settlement decisions in state court cases.

Despite these achievements, many reform measures that could have moved the needle either failed to reach the finish line or were watered down in order to be passed.

HB 24 by Rep. Michael Melerine would have repealed a judicially created rule that assumes a cause-and-effect relationship between an accident and a plaintiff’s subsequent injuries without any proof of causation. This presumption is regularly used by plaintiff attorneys in personal injury cases, and places defendants at an immediate disadvantage.

Rep. Melerine’s bill would have brought balance into our courtrooms by shifting the burden of proof back to the plaintiff to prove that their injuries were caused by the accident, as is the standard in other states. This bill was killed in the Senate Judiciary A Committee. Similar legislation was introduced by former Rep. Richard Nelson and passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2020, only to be vetoed by former Governor John Bel Edwards.

HB 423 by Rep. Michael Melerine would have revised the state’s ‘collateral source’ rule. For juries to make the best determination of damage awards, they need to be given the best information. Shielding juries from critical information relative to medical expenses only benefits billboard lawyers – at the expense of all Louisianians.

This bill would have allowed juries to see both the “sticker price” of medical bills and the amount that the insurance company actually pays. This important revision would have brought fairness, stability and transparency to damage awards, which are currently inflated and out of control. Gov. Landry vetoed the bill earlier this week.

HB 529 by Rep. Raymond Crews would have provided for a fair and predictable calculation of workers’ compensation claimants’ average weekly wage, leading to decreased litigation, ultimately reducing overall system costs. The bill includes protection for employees working multiple jobs but also recognizes and balances the rights of employers to predict and control their own risks. This bill stalled on the Senate Floor.

HB 618 by Rep. Beau Beaullieu would have introduced efficiency in the workers’ compensation claims process by allowing employers access to complete medical information while ensuring employees’ right to privacy. This bill stalled on the Senate Floor.

HB 703 by Rep. Michael Melerine would have placed reasonable limits on punitive attorney fees, shutting down the money pipeline that serves only to incentivize unnecessary litigation and delay the resolution of claims. This bill died in the Senate Labor Committee.

HB 762 by Rep. Dennis Bamburg* removes the requirement for students to take the ACT, and now allows them to take either WorkKeys or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery in its place. This conflicts with the newly proposed accountability standards set forth by BESE to place greater emphasis on career and military readiness while still fairly and accurately measuring teachers, students and schools.

HB 800 by Rep. Beau Beaullieu would have created the framework of a constitutional convention. LABI has long supported simplifying the state’s Constitution, which locks up measures most states would place in statute, tying the hands of the legislature to make many of the much-needed reforms that will move Louisiana forward.

SB 459 by Sen. Alan Seabaugh would have addressed remediation for legacy lawsuits, providing clarity to all parties of their respective obligations in addition to preserving the right to recover damages only in cases where clear and convincing evidence is provided. This bill offered hope for luring oil and gas investment back to Louisiana but stalled on the Senate Floor.

LABI would like to thank its members who used their powerful voices to advocate for these measures. Additionally, there are a select number of legislators who championed various priority bills through every step of the legislative process. While they cannot all be named, their tenacity and unyielding commitment to passing reform measures to promote free enterprise ideals made a significant difference and did not go unnoticed. Finally, LABI also partnered with a broad coalition of stakeholders that collaborated – and at times negotiated compromises – to help these bills reach the governor’s desk.

This fall, LABI’s Legislative Scorecard, an annual publication detailing how House and Senate members voted on issues important to Louisiana businesses, will be released.


*Signed by Gov. Landry