May 1, 2024 - Politics

With a month to go, Landry hasn't yet scored a major Louisiana Legislature win

Illustration of the Louisiana State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Louisiana legislative session has passed its halfway mark for 2024, leaving just about a month left to go.

Why it matters: There's still time, but so far, lawmakers have yet to hand first-year Gov. Jeff Landry a major victory.

The big picture: Landry began this session from a position of power after a statement-making election last year sent the Republican to the governor's office alongside a GOP supermajority in the state House and Senate.

  • When Landry made his opening remarks in March, he asked lawmakers to change the state's education and insurance policies and put in a request for constitutional reform.

Friction point: The state is set to shave 0.45% off of its sales tax in 2025 as it loses what was a temporary measure aimed at closing the 2018 budget gap. Uncertainty over how the state will make up that revenue seems to be fueling some of the hesitation to back some of Landry's priorities.

Zoom in: One of Landry's goals was to create Education Savings Accounts, which would give parents tax-backed stipends to support their children's education expenses.

  • But the state Senate stripped that bill, instead opting to study the cost while opening the door for the state to create ESAs in the future.
  • "Anytime you turn something into a study resolution, that's a sure sign that you aren't going to pass it as a law," LaRose says.

Among the bills that are headed to Landry's desk are deregulations in the state's homeowners insurance market, including the removal of the three-year rule, a win for new, industry-friendly insurance commissioner Tim Temple.

  • That rule prevented insurance companies from bumping customers after holding their policies for a certain period of time.

If a trio of anti-LGBTQ+ bills pass as expected, transgender students would be required to use restrooms matching their sex assigned at birth, and teachers would be prevented from discussing gender identity, sexual orientation or using a student's preferred pronouns.

Another bill, from Sen. Heather Cloud, would gut the state's public records law.

  • But public backlash from bipartisan watchdogs has her rewriting the legislation.

What we're watching: Among the biggest questions legislators will answer in the coming weeks is whether to move forward with Landry's request for a constitutional convention.

  • Lawmakers have expressed concern over how little the governor has shared about his intentions for a rewrite, and at how fast the convention would have to move to make an end-of-session deadline.
  • That legislation moves next to the state Senate, where leadership has indicated plans to pump the brakes, LaRose says.
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