Louisiana Progress Wraps Up Successful 2022 Legislative Session – L’Observateur

BATON ROUGE, LA | June 9, 2022—On the heels of our success during the 2021 legislative session, which included advocacy to partially decriminalize marijuana possession, Louisiana Progress began building out a comprehensive policy agenda in preparation for the 2022 legislative session. Now, one year later, we’re able to look back on the outcome of that work and, overall, it seems to have been a resounding success.

Through hard work and good luck, we were able to get a lot done. We led or played a lead role in campaigns to pass nine bills, supported efforts to pass three others, and worked with partners to kill five more bills. But that’s not to say we were successful on everything. There were also 11 bills we worked on that didn’t make it all the way through the process. All 28 of those policies are laid out below.

“Our success this session is a testament to what can be accomplished when you work in strong coalitions,” said Peter Robins-Brown, executive director of Louisiana Progress. “Our partner organizations and the members of our College Fellows program sought out good ideas, regardless of where they fell on the political spectrum. Then they did the research, developed messaging, built relationships, and wore out their shoe leather to get those ideas across the finish line.”

Bill’s Passed

The list below includes the nine bills we helped pass as either the lead advocate or as a leader in a coalition of advocacy organizations, with shoutouts (S/O) to our partners in those efforts.

  1. HB129 by Rep. Richard Nelson creates a 180-day grace period when someone misses a court date before the Office of Motor Vehicles can suspend their driver’s license, allowing them time to rectify their legal situation without automatically losing driving privileges. S/O: Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, Louisiana Appleseed

  2. HB188 (Act 39) by Rep. Debbie Villio requires that digital political ads adhere to the same disclosure and honesty rules as all other types of political ads.

  3. HB629 by Rep. Marcus Bryant, bars law enforcement from using marijuana odor as a pretext for searching someone’s home without a warrant. S/O: Marijuana Policy Project

  4. HB639 by Rep. Thomas Pressly allows people with criminal records to ask an occupational licensing board if their record disqualifies them from obtaining a license before they begin their educational and/or licensure process, provides for individual consideration of applicants, and sets up a framework that licensing boards can use to determine if a person’s conviction is related to the profession in which they are seeking a license. S/O: Right on Crime, Pelican Institute, Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, Louisiana Budget Project, Americans for Prosperity–Louisiana

  5. HB726 by Rep. Rodney Lyons outlaws debt-based incarceration, aka debtors’ prisons, in Louisiana. S/O: Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, Southern Poverty Law Center

  6. HB729 by Rep. Royce Duplessis limits when media outlets can publish mugshots and requires them to include a disclaimer that people are innocent until proven guilty when they do publish those mugshots. It also gives people who haven’t been convicted of a crime, but who’s mugshots have been published by extortive publications that often publish mugshots for sensationalism and ad revenue, the right to request that their mugshot be removed, and provides them with a cause of action to sue if those publications don’t comply with the request. S/O: Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana

  7. HB746 by Rep. Royce Duplessis sets common-sense limits on the amount of time juveniles can be put in solitary confinement while in the custody of Louisiana’s Office of Juvenile Justice. S/O: Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, Voice of the Experienced, Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana

  8. HB775 by Rep. Cedric Glover legalizes marijuana paraphernalia for medical marijuana patients. S/O: Marijuana Policy Project

  9. HB988 by Rep. Mandie Landry establishes workplace protections for certain state workers who have medical marijuana recommendations. S/O: Marijuana Policy Project

We played a supporting role in helping to pass three more bills:

  1. HB137 by Rep. Joseph Marino to decriminalize marijuana possession for out-of-state medical marijuana patients who are visiting Louisiana. S/O: Marijuana Policy Project

  2. HB248 by Rep. Matthew Willard to remove Robert E. Lee Day and Confederate Memorial Day from the list of state holidays. S/O: Southern Poverty Law Center

  3. HB553 by Rep. Scott McKnight to reduce barriers people with criminal records face when trying to find work in the medical marijuana industry. S/O: Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, Voice of the Experienced

Bills Killed

There were another five bills we partnered with other advocacy organizations to help kill, including:

  1. SB189 by Sen. Bodi White, which sought to carve certain neighborhoods out of the Central School District in East Baton Rouge Parish. S/O: Together Baton Rouge, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice

  2. SB318 by Sen. Steward Cathey, which would have repealed the Raise the Age Act, clearing the way for more juveniles to be incarcerated in adult prisons. S/O: Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, Voice of the Experienced

  3. SB381 by Sen. Rick Ward was vetoed by the Governor, and would have created a new predatory lending product. S/O: Louisiana Budget Project

  4. HB700 by Rep. Larry Bagley would have criminalized juveniles more harshly than adults for possessing 14 grams or less of marijuana. S/O: Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights

  5. HB837 by Rep. Dodie Horton was the Louisiana version of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. S/O: Forum for Equality, Louisiana Trans Advocates

Bills Failed

Eleven bills we worked on didn’t make it all the way through the process, including five bills that took different approaches to raising Louisiana’s minimum wage. However, some of these “losses” helped move the conversation forward on the issues we were trying to address, and we’ll be back next year to continue that work.

  1. HB246 by Rep. Tammy Phelps would have created a five-day grace period after a first-time lapse in auto insurance before the Office of Motor Vehicles charges a fine. S/O: Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana

  2. HB485 by Rep. Denise Marcelle sought to reduce the collection fee the Louisiana Office of Debt Recovery charges from 25% to 10%. S/O: Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana

  3. HB707 by Rep. Royce Duplessis attempted to expedite the process for expunging criminal records and significantly reduce fees for those expungements. S/O: Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, Voice of the Experienced

  4. HB774 by Rep. Cedric Glover would have reduced the waiting period for record expungements for convictions for possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana from five years to 180 days. S/O: Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, Marijuana Policy Project

  5. HB1028 by Rep. Cedric Glover would have partially decriminalized marijuana paraphernalia (no possibility for jail time, $50 fine). S/O: Marijuana Policy Project

  6. HB1063 by Rep. Matthew Willard tried to provide more transparency for renters with criminal records before they pay a housing rental application fee. S/O: Step Up Louisiana, Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, Voice of the Experienced

Minimum wage increases. S/O: Louisiana Budget Project, Step Up Louisiana, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, United Way of Southeast Louisiana

  1. SB269 by Sen. Regina Barrow tried to create a constitutional amendment that would have went to the voters to raise the minimum wage to $10.25 p/hr in 2023, then indexed it to inflation going forward.

  2. HB229 by Rep. Kyle Green was the House version of Sen. Barrow’s bill.

  3. HB311 by Rep. Denise Marcelle would have set the state minimum wage at $10 p/hr in 2023, with incremental increases in years to follow.

  4. HB472 by Rep. Tammy Phelps would have doubled the current tipped minimum wage from $2.13 p/hr to $4.26 p/hr.

  5. HB1013 by Rep. Malinda White sought to increase the minimum wage for state workers from the current federal rate of $7.25 p/hr to $9 p/hr.

Louisiana Progress is a solutions-driven organization that strives to be a force for good in local community organizing and state policy that furthers the values ​​of inclusion, accountability, transparency, and diversity

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