Louisiana's 2017 Legislative Session took place from Monday, April 10th through Thursday, June 8th.
We tracked several bills this session and worked with coalition partners to educate voters about the issues. You can read Lift Louisiana's 2017 Legislative Priorities.
Here is a summary of the outcomes of the 2017 Legislative Session.
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.
Preventing Violence Against Women
- 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.
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.
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.