Today, Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) recognizes the leadership of the Louisiana House of Representatives and Senate displayed in the 2023 Regular Legislative Session, which came to a close yesterday. During the course of the last 59 days, numerous bills that impacted GNO, Inc.’s state priorities were heard and voten upon successfully. These outcomes demonstrate a commitment to supporting business growth, as well as driving reforms to make the state more economically competitive, which will protect and create new jobs for the people of Louisiana.
“Congratulations to Jasmine Brown-DeRousselle, Peter Waggonner, and the GNO, Inc. Policy Team,” said Michael Hecht, GNO, Inc. President & CEO. “Thanks to their hard work, and the leadership of our partners in the Louisiana Legislature, this was an unusually productive session. At sine die, we can appreciate a range of pro-economic development and pro-Louisiana legislation, including key laws focusing on lowering homeowners insurance; developing a statewide port strategy; and, extending strategic incentives.”
GNO, Inc. entered the legislative session urging the Legislature and Governor to protect our state’s economy through a broad set of priorities, including infrastructure, workforce, energy, early childhood education, coastal restoration, international trade, criminal justice, and insurance.
“Usually the last session of a term is a relatively peaceful endeavor, but this year legislators took on many tough issues and were able to arrive at a compromise on spending that gives additional monies to road infrastructure, higher ed deferred maintenance, funding for care of our elders in home settings, and even some, albeit reduced, to early childhood education,” said Julie Stokes, Chair of GNO, Inc.’s Public Policy Committee.
GNO, Inc. supported measures that advance the economic prosperity of the region, and defeated efforts that would have been a detriment to the progress of our regional economy. Below is a sample of key outcomes:
INSURANCE – Promote insurer market growth that yields lower premiums for policyholders in homeowners, auto, and commercial auto insurance
- Fortified Roofs – By way of GNO, Inc.-supported HB294 and SB113, insurers will be required to provide discounts for fortified roofs and other hurricane mitigation improvements as well as offer endorsements for fortified roofs (HB110)
- Insurance Ratemaking System – HB489, as originally proposed, would have removed Louisiana’s ability to reject a rate increase in insurance premiums by changing our regulatory system from “Prior Approval” to “Use and File,” moving us into the minority of states. However, GNO, Inc. and the Department of Insurance’s recommendations, as expressed in an Advocate Staff Editorial, were implemented and Louisiana will now be more attractive to insurers by doing away with the Commissioner’s ability to reject a rate increase on the “basis of time”
- Commercial Auto Insurance – GNO, Inc. assisted in developing legislation (SCR19) that creates the “Task Force on Available and Affordable Commercial Motor Vehicle Insurance” to study and report on current burdensome costs, approaches to increase affordability, and the economic impact on state revenue
INFRASTRUCTURE & INTERNATIONAL TRADE – Advance solutions to modernize and optimize our critical infrastructure and trade assets, such as ports, roadways, and railways
- Ports – To promote an increased economic development focus on ports across the state, GNO, Inc. aided in the development of the amended SB214, which creates the “Office of Port Development” within LED, the position of a commissioner, and a Port Development Advisory Commission primarily to develop and implement a statewide port strategic plan. The bill originally proposed to rename LED as the “Department of Commerce,” and move responsibilities of the office of multimodal commerce from DOTD into this department
ENERGY – Promote an all-of-the above energy approach
- Carbon Capture – GNO, Inc. assisted in overcoming legislation that would have prohibited the construction of permanent above-surface structures, such as offshore wind turbines, servicing platforms, and Class VI injection wells for CCS on Lake Maurepas (HB120) and placed a moratorium on CCS projects on Lake Maurepas and the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area (HB267)
- Offshore Wind – Led by CPEX and supported by GNO, Inc., efforts to complete a statewide offshore wind plan and a transmission study will be funded through a $4M allocation in the state’s supplemental budget (HB560)
INCENTIVES – Support and defend drivers of business expansion, attraction, and retention
- Angel Investor, R&D, Motion Picture Tax Credits – With strong support from GNO, Inc., the Research and Development Tax Credit (SB69) will be extended to 2029, the Angel Investor Tax Credit (SB108) to 2030, and the Motion Picture Tax Credit (HB562) to 2031
- Incentives Overhaul – GNO, Inc. successfully led an effort, in collaboration with business groups from around the state to defeat a measure (HB641) that would have repealed critical tax exemptions, exclusions, credits, deductions, and other tax incentives in 2027
CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE – Increase public safety and advocate for responsible criminal justice reform
- Recruitment – GNO, Inc. supported the creation of the Law Enforcement Recruitment Incentive Program (HB563), and a corresponding fund to provide one-time incentive payments of $5,000 to newly-employed law enforcement officers
- Expungements – The expungement process will be technologically updated to make the procedure accessible and affordable for those who are currently eligible for expungement under the law through the passage of SB111, which was supported by GNO, Inc.
EARLY CHILDHOOD – Support robust investments in early childhood education
- Funding – $44 million in the state’s budget (HB1) has been allocated to the Child Care Assistance Program, which is the largest investment of state dollars into the program in over a decade. GNO, Inc. initiated discussions with key legislative leaders to support this allocation
COASTAL RESTORATION & PROTECTION – Support and champion Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts
- Coastal Master Plan – The state’s 2023 Coastal Master Plan (SCR17), a 50-year, $50B plan was approved by the legislature, as well as the record-breaking $1.62B FY24 Annual Plan (SCR6), which will fund 147 projects across our coast, supporting nearly 9,000 jobs in the coastal sector
The future of the Greater New Orleans and Louisiana economies are better positioned for success thanks to the 2023 Legislative Session. Special thanks are in order to the Greater New Orleans delegation for their leadership in ensuring that the future of the region is protected and fueled by productive legislation. The approved bills will now go to the Governor, who may sign them, allow them to go into law without his signature, or veto them.