As the Louisiana Legislature begins its Second Special Session of 2018, we'd like to provide a recap of the Regular Session. You can keep up with the legislative session through the weekly LRA e-newsletter,The SnapShot (sent on Mondays), and through the new Capitol Connections video series with your Lead Advocate, LRA President and CEO Stan Harris. If you have questions or would like to update your contact information or add one of your team members to the LRA's email list, please contact the LRA Communications Department at (504) 454-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your engagement with the LRA and to those members who connect with the LRA Advocacy Team on our advocacy initiatives. The trust you place in us to represent your business before the legislature is something we never take lightly.
House Bill 126 by Rep. Jordan
Jordan's bill sought to eliminate the tip credit in Louisiana based on the flawed premise that tipping contributes to sexual harassment. It would have raised the minimum wage for tipped employees over 300 percent--from $2.13 to $7.25. The bill was voluntarily deferred by the author after noting industry opposition, killing it for the session.
House Concurrent Resolution (HRC) 68 by Rep. Jordan
This effort by Rep. Jordan sought to create a task force to study the issue of a minimum wage for certain tipped employees and whether an increase would reduce instances of sexual harassment. The LRA opposed this measure. It was returned to the calendar and died for the session.
SB 159 by Sen. Carter
This bill sought to repeal the restrictions which prohibit local government from enacting local labor ordinances to establish a minimum wage or what we call "preemption." The LRA was successful in passing a bill that gave authority solely to the Louisiana Legislature for setting wages and benefits several years ago. The LRA opposed this measure. It was returned to the Senate Labor calendar and died for the session.
SB 162 by Sen. Carter
This bill would have increased the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 in 2019 and $8.50 in 2020. The LRA remained neutral on the bill. It was returned to the Senate calendar and died.
SB 252 by Sen. Carter
This bill was a constitutional amendment to establish a state minimum wage for every employer with 50 or more full-time employees who are 18 years or older. The state minimum wage beginning Aug. 1, 2019 would be $8 and and further increased Aug. 1, 2020 to $8.50. The LRA opposed this bill. It was returned to the Senate Finance calendar and died.
SB 516 by Sen. Price
This bill sought to eliminate the tip credit for casinos. The LRA opposed this bill. It was returned to the calendar and died.
HB 191 by Rep. S. Bishop
This bill sought to mandate that 5 percent of seating in restaurants contain armchairs. This bill was involuntarily deferred and died for the session.
HB 846 by Rep. Simon
This bill eliminates an onerous regulation on small operations (500 square feet) that could be a concession stand at a ball park that has seasonal operating hours. The LRA supported this bill and it passed.
SB 192 by W. Bishop
This bill sought to allow individuals or businesses to seek private action (lawsuit) to enforce zoning restrictions or regulations. This is the responsibility of the municipal or local government. The LRA opposed this measure. It was returned to the Senate Local and Municipal Affairs calendar and died.
SB 375 by Sen. Barrow
This bill as amended would have required restaurants to post a letter grade for its food safety inspection and use numerical scoring to calculate the letter grade. We amended this out of the bill, but because of challenges from the small retailers, it died on the Senate calendar.
SB 541 by Sen. Morrish
This bill sought to amend the regulations on the reporting of terminated employees. Unfortunately, what the bill envisioned violated federal law. The LRA was neutral on this bill and has met with the Workforce Commission as it beta tests its HiRE employer login for reporting on employee separations. The bill died in the Senate Labor committee.
SB 489 by Sen. Morrish
This bill proposed to allow beer and wine to be delivered with restaurant food. The LRA's position was that third party delivery providers would need to be licensed by the ATC, their employees would need to have responsible vendor server permits, the firm would need to maintain liquor liability insurance and be able to verify the age of the purchaser. Unfortunately, all of the required items did not make it into the final bill before the House Judiciary committee. The LRA did not oppose the bill as we had the assurance of the author it would be amended as requested. Unfortunately the House Judiciary committee did not vote to move the bill favorably and it died.
HB 235 by Rep. Stefanski
After SB 489 failed to pass, House Bill 285 was substituted. This was the original form of SB 489 that we opposed. The confusion as to its intent led to its defeat by a committee vote, thus it was involuntarily deferred and died.
HB 428 by Rep Coussan
This bill proposed to change the definition of "premises" as defined for the service of alcohol. The ATC and LRA opposed it because of its expansive nature. The ATC agreed to work with the craft brewers to provide additional special event days that motivated their interest in changing the premises definition.
HB 899 by Rep. Hilferty
As more awareness has been raised around sex trafficking and sexual harassment, this bill proposed adding awareness and educational requirements to the existing ATC Responsible Vendor Program for bartenders and servers. It was amended to allow the ATC to distribute an informational pamphlet with new license packets and renewals. The LRA supported this bill as it was amended and it passed.
SB 314 by Sen. Hewitt
This bill originated to provide exception for native wineries to sell native wine at wholesale for consumption on or off the licensed premises. It was expanded to change beer distribution laws in Louisiana. The LRA opposed this bill. It was voluntarily deferred in Senate Judiciary B and died.
SB 539 by Sen. Ward
This measure would have rolled back the provisions that currently allow LRA members with alcohol service to purchase competitive liquor liability insurance, instead replacing this with strict liability that existed in statute prior to 1989. The author worked with us to have a hearing in committee and reported favorably to address a constituent concern however he did not call it from the calendar for a vote. The bill died.
HB 790 by Rep. Connick
This bill sought to deem hearing loss as a compensable and classified as a permanent partial disability. The LRA opposed the bill as it relates to workers' compensation. We worked with Rep. Connick to amend it however we were unable to craft a workable amendment. He agreed to leave the bill on the calendar and it died.
SB 180 by Sen. Milkovich
This bill would have allowed for a tort option for workers' compensation insurers should medical treatment be denied. As the worker's comp system is the sole remedy for injured workers, this could have brought any workers' comp dispute to state district court seeking damages, in addition to statutorily provided benefits for medical expense and lost wages. The LRA opposed this bill. The Senate Labor committee voted not to favorably report this bill and it died.
SB 536 by Sen. Luneau
This bill would have given injured workers additional remedies outside of the current medical guidelines reforms instead re-instituting broad authority for the workers' comp administrative law judges to determine outcomes. The LRA opposed this bill. It was returned to the Senate calendar and failed in two floor votes.
HB 553 by Speaker Barras
This high profile bill was related to the $350 million Harrah's Casino hotel expansion in New Orleans and the 30 year extension of their contract. The bill died in conferencecommittee. The LRA executed a new memorandum of understanding with Harrah's this spring that defines the type, size and scope of restaurant operations in the existing or future casino operations.
SB 184 by Sen. Martiny
This bill modified some of the requirements for video poker truck stops as it relates to fuel sales and restaurant operations for those in business over 10 years. (Many of these operations are LRA members.) The LRA supported this measure and it passed.
SB 316 by Sen. Johns
This bill permits riverboat casinos to move its operations on land within a specific radius and cease requirements related to maritime operations. (Many of these operations are LRA members.) The LRA supported this bill and it passed.
HB 680 by Rep. Leger
This bill sought to clarify and amend a prior bill that was passed five years ago to help Louisiana's efforts to attract national and regional sporting events. The Major Events Incentive Fund will be used for qualified major events like the NFL's Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, NBA All-Star Games, etc. The Senate further amended this bill after a hearing to provide an appropriated revenue stream to meet the current obligations for events over the next four years. This amended bill will provide a great tool for attracting events and provide a less cumbersome approval process while retaining the oversight of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget to approve any distribution of funds after an events proposed economic impact has been validated.
HB 749 by Speaker Barras
As mobile app and riding sharing platforms (Uber and Lyft, for example) have emerged in recent years, this bill sought to define and make consistent rules statewide regarding permitting, fare transparency, driver responsibilities and user safety. If an Uber or Lyft driver took you from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, this bill proposed allowing them to pick up a client in New Orleans for the return trip. The LRA supported this bill, however it died in the Senate Judiciary A committee.
HB 881 by Rep. Miller
This bill sought to further restrict indoor smoking in all public accommodations (bars, casinos, etc.) rather than continue to allow local ordinances to govern this. The LRA opposed the bill and the author sought to convert it to a study resolution.
SB 227 by Sen. Morrell
This bill defines the board membership and reporting structure of the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. In essence, it returned the SWB board make-up to less control of the Mayor of New Orleans. The LRA supported this bill and it passed.