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Members of the Adams and Reese Government Relations Practice Team – Rob Rieger, Partner, and Government Affairs Advisors Charles Henry and Allyce Trapp – were interviewed by New Orleans CityBusiness in a Q&A for “What to Watch Out for in the 2023 Louisiana Legislature Regular Session.”
The 2023 Louisiana Legislature Regular Session will convene on Monday, April 10 with final adjournment scheduled for no later than June 8. You can follow session updates at https://legis.la.gov/legis/SessionInfo/SessionInfo_23RS.aspx.
Below is the complete CityBusiness interview.
More than 700 bills have been pre-filed. What are some of the top bills to watch out for?
Trapp: “While we are expecting more bills to be filed before April 10, there are already plenty that are worth watching. HB1 by Representative Jerome Zeringue from Houma carries the operating expenses of the state government for fiscal year 2023-2024. Senator Bret Allain of Franklin is carrying a package of bills addressing a variety of tax issues, keeping in theme with this fiscal session. These range from personal income tax to ad valorem tax assessments. One bill that has captured a lot of attention is Representative Joe Marino’s legislature pay raise. HB149 would raise their current pay from $16,800 to $60,000, the first increase in pay since 1980. Also keep an eye on Senator Kirk Talbot’s SB 208 that would make the Commissioner of Insurance an appointed position instead of an elected position.”
What is the hottest topic that the Legislature will discuss when it is in session this Spring?
Rieger: “Taxes and the budget. This is a fiscal session, meaning legislators can bring as many bills as they like concerning taxes and are limited to five bills on all other topics. Additionally, the budget for fiscal year 2023-2024 will be discussed and debated throughout the legislative session. We also expect to see property insurance reform (amongst others), appointed vs. elected commissioner of insurance, and a number of social issues (libraries, gender pronouns, school curriculum) to be heavily discussed. Touching briefly on the insurance piece, lawmakers will try to take out the most objectionable provisions of current property and casualty insurance law to make the legal environment more attractive to existing and new insurers. For instance, there are several bills that require Citizens insureds to have a homestead exemption over their property, which would eliminate many camps and second homes from coverage.”
What are some impactful bills specifically affecting the Greater New Orleans area?
Rieger: “Orleans and Jefferson parishes are blessed with a strong delegation that always brings a formidable number of bills. A bill that will benefit business comes from Representative Delisha Boyd. Her HB 224 would allow the governing authority of the City of New Orleans to set aside a certain percentage of contracts for goods and services to be awarded to socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.”
Are there any bills that affect Louisiana’s state court system or legal industry?
Henry: “HB196 from Representative Chad Brown comes to mind. This bill would alter the substance and procedure for motions for summary judgement. For example, one thing it would require is motions for summary judgement, oppositions, and reply memoranda be filed and served electronically. This is one of several bills dealing with electronic filings, signatures, etc. that have been filed so far. Another item that may be of interest to the legal community is SB 55 from Senator Jay Luneau. This would change present law to allow a nonresident succession representative to execute a procuration or mandate and appoint a state resident to represent them. We are also paying attention to Speaker Pro-Tempore Tanner Magee’s HB229, which among others things will require every clerk of court to have an integrated electronic filing system.”
What is the latest on the Governor’s race? How many candidates do we have?
Henry: “The field of candidates for Governor continues to grow with Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President and CEO Stephen Waguespack the latest to join the fray. As of now, there are seven candidates, which include Treasurer John Schroder, Senator Sharon Hewitt, former Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Shawn Wilson, Attorney General Jeff Landry, Representative Richard Nelson, attorney Hunter Lundy, and now Waguespack. The number could grow or even dwindle in the coming months. Expect to see the candidates pop up at a forum or event near you!”
Are there any additional elections/races to watch?
Trapp: “Treasurer, Secretary of State, Insurance, are all ones to watch. Treasurer Schroder has announced his candidacy for Governor, leaving his position wide open. Rep. Scott McKnight has already launched his campaign to succeed Schroder, with former Congressman John Fleming expected to get in. Insurance was shaping up to be a race but Commissioner Donelon has recently opted not to run, leaving Lafayette businessman Tim Temple as the only known candidate. Secretary of State [Kyle] Ardoin may end up drawing some challengers. Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Mike Francis, a Republican from Crowley and incumbent Public Service Commissioner, has announced his intention to run. He may end up not being the only one. All these and the legislative races are ones to keep an eye on.”
Rob Rieger is a Partner in the Adams and Reese Baton Rouge office, advising clients in government relations and related litigation matters in Louisiana and Washington, D.C. Rob’s practice focuses on the needs of individuals and companies in the public utility, telecommunications, electricity generation, and health care industries as well as addressing corporate law, governmental ethics, campaign finance and general administrative law issues.
Charles Henry is a Government Affairs Advisor in the Adams and Reese New Orleans office. His government relations practice involves working on behalf of his clients to advance policy interests and priorities at the state and federal levels. Charles formerly served in the Louisiana House of Representatives and was the Chief of Staff for Majority Leader Steve Scalise.
Allyce Trapp is a Government Affairs Advisor in the Adams and Reese Baton Rouge office. Allyce works with businesses and nonprofits across various industries on researching, planning, and executing government relations strategies at the local and state levels across Louisiana, combined with creating and implementing communications and public relations plans for companies in front of traditional and social media.