Legislative Updates

The U.S. House Moves Two Anti-Abortion Bills Forward 

In recent months, conservatives in the U.S. House have introduced and pushed forward two restrictions on abortion access that would spread the suffering of Louisiana's women across the nation. ​


Louisiana's 2018 Legislative Session begins March 12, 2018 through June 4, 2018.

You can read Lift Louisiana's 2017 Legislative Priorities.


Here is a summary of the outcomes of the 2017 Legislative Session. 

Health 

An effort to exempt Louisiana residents from the assessment of penalties for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was defeated.
 
An effort to create work requirement for  Medicaid was defeated, but reintroduced as a study resolution to research the impact of such a requirement.
 
A bill to allow the state Department of Education and the Louisiana Department of Health to survey students about their sexual behaviors was defeated by only a handful of votes. This bill has been introduced each year for several years. Lift Louisiana will continue to support this effort because we have alarmingly high rates of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies and without this data, we cannot effectively develop programs and interventions to prevent them. Get the facts about this survey.

A bill to require public postsecondary institutions to address the prevention of unplanned pregnancies among unmarried college students as a part of freshmen orientation. The bill was amended to prohibit students from receiving information about Planned Parenthood or any abortion provider. Lift Louisiana did not support the bill after this amendment was included.

A resolution requesting an evaluation and report concerning prospective implementation of a ""baby box"" program as a means of reducing infant mortality. We were pleased to see this passed and will be following the results of this evaluation.

A bill that made changes to the parental notification laws for minors seeking an abortion. The new law requires proof of identification from parents for an unemancipated minor child to obtain an abortion based upon parental consent and allows judges to order counseling or appoint a child advocate attorney for the minor if it is suspected that the minor is a victim of criminal sexual exploitation. Lift Louisiana led an effort to defeat this bill and pushed for amendments that removed the most harmful impacts for minors. The bill passed with six senators voting against it.
 
A bill that amended SB 33, passed last year and blocked by a federal court. The new legislation will restrict abortion clinics ability to dispose of or donate fetal tissue. 

Preventing Violence Against Women

Two bills passed that changed the definition of protected individuals to: 
  • include remove "person of the opposite sex" from the definition of "household members" - providing protections to LGBT persons in domestic abuse statutes; and 
  • include dating partners.

Criminal Justice Reform

Several bills passed to address issues in the criminal justice system that create or perpetuate disparities and negative outcomes. Lift Louisiana supported several that have a specific impact on families. 

  •  A bill that suspends child support when a parent is incarcerated, protecting inmates from incurring insurmountable debt that would make re-entry more difficult.
  • A bill that eliminates restrictions on eligibility for certain public assistance for persons with prior drug convictions. These restrictions were put into place during the 1990s and have created a significant financial burden on individuals with convictions from obtaining SNAP benefits. Learn more about the the impact of the felony drug bans on welfare benefits. 

Economic Justice ​

Yet again, efforts to pass legislation that would help Louisiana close the gender pay gap were defeated. Also disappointing, a strong effort to raise the state minimum wage by a mere $1.25 was also defeated. And finally, a bill that would have exempted diapers and feminine hygiene products from state and local sales and use tax stalled in the Senate.


Civil Rights

Another effort was made this year to pass a bill to prohibit discrimination in employment against LGBT workers. Although the bill made it out of the committee, it failed to pass in the full Senate.

A victory for immigration advocates was the defeat of a bill to prohibit cities from creating safe communities for immigrants. These so-called sanctuary cities are under attack by conservative lawmakers across the country including the Trump administration.  


You can download the Lift Louisiana 2017 Legislative Report here.