Co-chair the Dedicated Funds Review Sub-Committee, created by Act 355 of 2017 RS, to regularly review the $1B in statutorily dedicated funds. SB 400 of 2018 RS resulted in the elimination of $120M in statutorily dedicated funds, requiring those entities to compete annually for state general funding instead. Other funds will be reviewed every year.
Eliminated a number of dedicated funds, requiring those entities to compete for State General Funds and allowing the legislature to prioritize funding that meets the needs of today’s citizens, rather than the priorities from decades ago.
Improved the work and processes of the Dedicated Funds Review Sub-Committee.
Requests that the Revenue Estimating Conference include dedicated funds and fees/self-generated revenues in the long-range forecast.
Authored a Medicaid transparency bill which established the Medicaid Subcommittee and requires them to provide quarterly forecast and cost data to assist the Legislature in developing and managing the budget. With 40 cents of every state dollar being spent on healthcare, managing the state's healthcare expenses is critical.
Requires the Medicaid subcommittee to review their quarterly forecasts with the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.
Establishes a pilot program to utilize evidenced-based budgeting methodologies to invest in cost-effective programs with known positive outcomes in adult mental health. A Feb 2018 audit found that we doubled our mental health funding from 2012 to 2016, yet only 40% of the $445M spent on mental health services in 2016 were on evidenced-based programs known to have positive results. We need to adopt the best-practices of dozens of other states who have partnered with the Pew Foundation to instill a results-oriented rigor to investment decisions.
Amended a bill by Rep Abramson to add a requirement that the Department of Revenue perform a comprehensive return on investment (ROI) analysis for all tax incentive programs for which the state's revenue loss was $1M or more in the previous fiscal year and to rank order the incentive programs, based on ROI. With over $7B in tax incentive programs given to businesses, we need to know which ones are the most effective in creating jobs and growing the state's economy.
Would have extended the Motion Picture Production Tax Credit and improved the program to ensure that the program incentivizes the creation of LOCAL jobs.
Requests the Senate Fiscal Affairs staff to report annually on the new statutory dedications created by the legislature that year.
Requests the Senate Fiscal Affairs staff to report annually on the state funding distributed to local government entities.
Acknowledges the right of parents to decide whether to vaccinate a child for COVID-19 and the role of the state in providing information to allow parents to make an informed decision.
Requested that the Department of Health add Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to the state’s newborn screening panel, which has allowed newborns to receive early, life-changing treatment for this debilitating disease.
Creates the Medicaid Estimating Conference, which I co-chair, to develop the official forecast of the Medicaid program for the purposes of budget development. With Medicaid being 40% of the state’s budget, engaging healthcare economists in forecasting the Medicaid budget and having more legislative oversight is critical to ensuring that the program is neither overfunded nor underfunded.
Would have promoted community engagement and work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid Expansion recipients, many of whom dropped their private insurance to qualify for Medicaid. While Medicaid funding for low-income, able-bodied citizens is unlimited, thousands of disabled and elderly citizens have died while on waiting lists for Medicaid services. Medicaid was never intended to be a lifelong healthcare program for able-bodied adults, but rather a safety net for those who really need it.
Requests the Louisiana Department of Health to provide data on able-bodied Medicaid recipients and to report on the Medicaid community engagement and work requirement programs in other states.
Aligned funding for waiver programs for developmentally disabled citizens with new tiered waiver program. Efforts in 2018 resulted in an additional $19M in funding for disabled community, citizens with highest needs receiving new waivers, and pay increases for support workers performing complex tasks.
Provided more clarity around the waiver program for the disability community.
Reorganized the Louisiana Commission for the Deaf to provide them more autonomy. I proudly serve on this Board.
Helped address a shortage of certified medication attendants for the disabled community by eliminating the state residency requirement.
Requires approval by the legislature prior to the sale of a publicly-owned hospital.
Requires the Louisiana Secretary of State to replace our aging voting machines (Digital Recording Equipment-DREs) with a paper-based voting system that will give us the ability to audit our election results and recount all of the votes cast in a disputed election.
Established clear processes for the legislature, governor, and secretary of state to alter election processes during a declared state of emergency, with both the legislative branch and the executive branch providing checks and balances.
Established the Closed Party Primary Task Force, which I chaired, to study the necessary steps to develop a closed party primary election system applicable at the federal, state, and local levels, beginning with the 2022 congressional elections.
Allows disabled citizens to serve as poll watchers
Limits liability of persons who provide relief or recovery equipment or services during a declared state of emergency, such as COVID-19.
Urges and requests that certain parish and local governments dismiss the 43 coastal lawsuits against hundreds of oil and gas companies.
Would have eliminated the seatbelt gag rule, which prevents juries from being told that individuals injured in a car accident were not wearing their seatbelts, in accordance with state law. The Commissioner of Insurance testified that the passage of this bill would have lowered car insurance rates, which are the second highest in the nation.
Requests the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana State Bar Association to implement a lawyer advertisement review recognition program, which is now in place.
Would have provided that evaluations of attorney advertisements by the Louisiana State Bar Association to be subject to the Public Records law.
Updated and clarified existing 2009 laws on carbon capture and storage for landowners and businesses involved in reducing our carbon emissions.
Requested the Department of Natural Resources to review their permitting cycle times and to make recommendations to expedite the permitting processes.
Requests that Congress and the Biden administration stop delays in offshore oil and natural gas lease sales.
Requests the Legislative Auditor to conduct an efficiency audit of the Department of Children and Family Services’ administration of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Encourages communities to support their local artists by designating the first week of December as Shop Local Artists Week in Louisiana.
Creates a registration for managed service providers doing business in this state with a public body, provides access for public bodies to obtain information on managed service providers, and requires managed service providers to report cyber incidents and the payment of cyber ransom or ransomware.
Protects the community and past victims by preventing a person convicted of a crime punishable by 25 years or more that is both a crime of violence and a sexual offense from getting out on bail while awaiting sentencing.
Would allow small businesses manufacturing craft beer or wine to self-distribute a limited volume of their products directly to retailers, as is done in 40 other states.
Prohibits credit reporting agencies from charging a fee to place, reinstate, temporarily lift, or revoke a security freeze on one's credit report.
Created an Education Savings Account (ESA) to give parents more choice in the best educational setting for their child. This bill would allow parents with a K-3 child reading below grade level to move their child to a private, parochial, or homeschool and use their state education dollars to offset the costs.
Creates the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (LaSTEM) Advisory Council to oversee the creation, delivery, and promotion of STEM education programs and to align them with the future workforce needs of STEM industries to provide jobs for our citizens in high-demand, high-paying careers. In addition, LaSTEM will focus on encouraging and training more women to enter STEM careers, shrinking the gender pay gap. Successes to date include the annual Festival de Robotique, a FIRST robotics competition for 300 students from around the state on the grounds of the Louisiana State Capitol. Other accomplishments include a new STEM diploma endorsement for high school students who have taken and passed the required number of approved STEM classes and free tuition for K-12 teachers interested in additional college training in STEM. The First Annual Stem Summit was held ept 2018 to facilitate the development of regional master plans between industry partners and educational institutions that will prepare our citizens for high-paying, high-demand, Louisiana jobs.
Tackled our state’s literacy problem by establishing phonics, or the “science of reading,” as the methodology for teaching reading. The Superintendent called this the most comprehensive literacy bill in recent history. It includes a new K-2 accountability system, universal screeners performed three times a year to identify reading gaps, interventions for teacher and parents to improve reading skills, and a new higher education curriculum for teaching the “science of reading.”
Requests the State Department of Education to recreate the Louisiana Early Literacy Commission to study and make recommendations relative to improving reading proficiency for our younger students.
Establishes the Computer Science Education Act, which requires that computer science skills be taught in K-12 grade to provide our students with the skills they need to compete in a digital economy. Work is underway to develop the curriculum and train the teachers. Louisiana has fallen behind the rest of the country, as only 29% of our high schools offer computer science classes as part of their curriculum.
Co-authored a bill with Sen Appel to eliminate all of the higher education management boards except one.
Required the Board of Regents to conduct a comprehensive review of our present post secondary education system and to recommend the optimal delivery of post-secondary education in the future that will meet the needs of the state's citizens and industries, while maximizing the state's resources. This bill was the foundation for additional legislation in the areas of workforce and career readiness, college and career preparation, academic programs, and faculty. The lack of a governance review led to SB43 of 2018 RS.
Allows high schools to offer computer coding as a foreign language choice to meet the high school graduation requirements and TOPS requirements.
Provides for school choice to allow high school students pursuing a career/technical path to attend another high school in their school district if their high school does not offer the desired program. Students are able to both graduate from high school and earn an industry-based credential, associate degree, or an apprenticeship while in high school and enter the workforce upon graduation.
Request the Nursing Supply and Demand Council to study and make recommendations to improve statewide nurse retention in response to the nursing workforce shortage.
Requires the Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Education, the Louisiana Department of Health, and the Louisiana Workforce Commission to report to the legislature annually regarding the agency's policies and processes for identifying and eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse in certain government-funded programs.
Allows public bodies to hold meetings electronically during gubernatorial declared emergencies or disasters.
Amends Senate rules to permit members to vote via video or other electronic means during a declared emergency.
Would have required boards and commissions that issue licenses and permits to provide a quarterly report about consumer complaints to the Legislative Auditor and the legislative committee responsible for oversight.
Directs the executive branch agencies under jurisdictional oversight of the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee to continue to submit statutorily mandated reports until such time as the mandate is specifically amended or repealed.
Clarifies the definition of public records relative to engineering drawings submitted by the Louisiana State Fire Marshal to the Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board or the State Board of Architectural Examiners for review.
Provides for a review of the usefulness of each executive branch report on its 5th year anniversary to determine whether staff time can be reduced by eliminating a report that the recipients no longer read or need.
Co-authored legislation with Rep Carpenter (similar to my SB 404) and led the legislative effort to establish sexual harassment prevention policies and training for public servants. My request for a Legislative Auditor investigation into past sexual harassment allegations, settlements, and hiring practices has shined a bright light on the need to ensure a safe workplace for all employees.
Seeks to reduce the impact of sexual harassment judgments and settlements on the taxpayers of the state, when there has been a determination that a valid claim of sexual harassment by a state employee has occurred, the state should consider certain factors in determining whether the alleged sexual harasser should be required to reimburse all or a portion of the judgment or settlement.
Requests CPRA and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to cooperate in developing projects and programs to enhance the oyster industry, particularly in light of the impact on the industry with the planned diversions.
Creates the Lower Pearl River Basin (LPRB) Task Force to study the conditions, needs, issues, and funding relative to flood protection and preservation of the LPRB. Major accomplishments to date include funding to eliminate the log jam near Bogalusa and coordinated opposition to the One Lake project upstream in Jackson, MS.
Re-establishes the Lower Pearl River Basin Task Force to continue to lead Louisiana’s opposition to the One Lake project upstream in Jackson, MS and to help coordinate the sill removal project near Locks 1 and 2.
Requests the oil and gas industry in Louisiana to provide access to 3D seismic data interpretations to support work on land subsidence modeling that will allow for more informed decisions on sustainable coastal restoration programs, flood protection structures, and state highways/bridges. This work will result in the creation of a Fault Atlas and will have a major impact on the Coastal Master Plan, the Highway Priority Program and other infrastructure programs.
Co-authored with Sen White a bill to provide an exception for portions of the Comite River, Pearl River, Tchefuncte River, Bogue Falaya River, Abita River, Amite River, and Bayou Manchac from provisions of the natural and scenic rivers program.
Co-authored with Sen White a resolution to request that the Department of Transportation and Development work with other state agencies to develop floodplain management plans for each watershed in Louisiana that will allow us to study construction or maintenance impacts, including channelization, dredging, and clearing and snagging activities, upon river basins in the state. Major accomplishments to date include the receipt of $1.3B in Federal funding, the completion of a hydrology model for the Amite, a comprehensive plan to model the rest of the rivers, and a plan to begin identifying construction or maintenance projects on our many rivers to reduce flooding.
Requests the Department of Transportation and Development to study the privatization of ferry operations throughout the state.
Allows for surplus military vehicles originally sold as off-road vehicles to be licensed for regular use by civilians and veterans alike.
Provides for application by certain military personnel to be certified as a licensed professional engineer in Louisiana.
Requires the playing or singing of the national anthem prior to certain athletic contests at venues whereby the construction, operation, or maintenance of which is funded wholly or partially by the state or a political subdivision of the state.
Protects pregnant mothers by prohibiting companies from mailing chemical abortion pills directly to mothers living in Louisiana.
Improved legislation governing the Harbor Center and increased funding.
Improved legislation governing the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Service District No. 2.
Improved legislation governing the St. Tammany Levee, Drainage and Conservation District.