All seats in the Louisiana Legislature are up for grabs this year along with parish and statewide offices including the governor. Since this is an election year, expectations for solving major issues in the 2019 legislative session were low. Unfortunately, those expectations were correct. In the regular session, which has to end by 6 p.m. Thursday, June 6, many good bills died or were not seriously considered.
For Louisiana to improve our standard of living, increase our education levels, and decrease poverty rates, major changes will need to be made. It will take unselfish leadership willing to give and take to reach a consensus on major issues. Three well-respected organizations have joined together to present an agenda to deal with needed reforms. The organizations are the Council for a Better Louisiana, Committee of 100, Louisiana’s Business Roundtable and the Public Affairs Research Council. These organizations are non-partisan and have been leaders in the state on policy measures for many years.
The theme of this reform program is: “Reset Louisiana’s Future.” The four main policy areas to address are education, state finances, criminal justice/public safety, and transportation/infrastructure.
Briefly, some of the positions are:
1. Education: Send all children to Kindergarten Ready to Learn, Advance K-12 Education Policies that work, and Build the Talent Pool in the state.
2. State Finances: Create a fair and competitive Tax Environment, Transform State retirement systems for a new era, and design a modern, workable state constitution.
3. Criminal Justice/Public Safety: Build an efficient criminal justice system that improves public safety.
4. Transportation/Infrastructure: Make transportation infrastructure an asset. The state should significantly invest in its transportation infrastructure, including ports and waterways, enhance public safety, relieve congestions in major urban areas and support commerce and economic development.
The Alliance encourages our citizens to get informed on these issues by visiting the website.
Recently, the Alliance hosted an issues briefing for potential legislative candidates to present the Reset agenda. As you talk with candidates for the legislature, question them about their views on these vital issues.
Hopefully, reform-minded legislators who will embrace these issues will be elected this year. Running for office requires courage and serving is often a thankless job. Our Southwest delegation works together more than many delegations in other areas of the state. We appreciate our area delegation’s efforts. State and local elections are Oct. 12 with a general election. A run-off, if needed, will be Nov. 16. Qualifying for the elections will be Aug. 6-8.
Several times during the current legislative session when decisions were put off, a member of the legislature would say “come back next year” or “ we will deal with that next year.”
Some of the legislators won’t be back due to term limits or election defeats. The issues such as funding our ailing infrastructure should have been dealt with this year. Continued failure to act on reform measures is keeping our state last in a number of areas. As we push for economic growth and a better standard of living for all of our residents, we can’t afford to wait. That’s why the agenda of “Reset Louisiana’s Future” is much needed.