The following is a summary of the session as aligned with our principles and priorities entering the session. Our principles and priorities were focused on implementing the principles of Catholic social teaching in legislation.
The common good was served by legislation supported by LCCB aimed to assist persons who are homeless, improved our methods to address human trafficking, helping moms in need in the post-Roe vs. Wade era by approving funding for maternal care centers by giving donors a tax credit for their donation, better protecting women in domestic violence situations, addressing gun violence in our communities, improving restorative justice measures for expungement of records and mental health treatment of incarcerated individuals, improving adoptions, and improving school safety measures.
Although several of our priority issues were addressed, the session was marked by several missed opportunities to address poverty in the state and the elimination of the death penalty. We missed opportunities to provide a livable wage, close the gap in wages for women, increase parental choice in education, effectively address mental health and take better care of the environment.
There was a veto override session which resulted in the override of HB 648 relative to prohibiting gender transition procedures for minors, which LCCB supported throughout the process.
Life and Dignity of the Human Person-
- LCCB worked collaboratively to keep the abortion laws in place, including no exceptions for rape and incest.
- We supported and helped pass Act 309 which reduces the time to implement protective orders in cases of domestic violence.
- Act 452 allows for tax credits for infant adoptions and Act 437 allows for tax credits to support maternal care centers.
- We are saddened that, despite visible witnesses from the Catholic Church, we were not able to overturn the death penalty. However, the LCCB is working diligently to support the Governor in his discernment to commute sentences from death to life without parole.
- We actively opposed and stopped permit less carry gun legislation and supported tax credits for safety firearms devices Act 403.
- LCCB supported and testified on Senate Resolution 151, a resolution to study gun violence intervention and prevention best practices. LCCB testified to the billions of dollars of human, societal and economic costs to Louisiana citizens each year due to gun violence.
- Act 299 allow for insurance coverage for standard fertility preservation of the egg and sperm for those with cancer for up to three years. Allow for a religious exemption if requested.
Call to Family Community and Participation
- We were not able to get legislative approval for Parental Choice legislation that would have given parents $5400 per student for an Education Savings Account to choose the best educational option. However, we were able to develop the bill to a point where the next administration will hopefully pass.
- We were able to increase Required Services for non-public schools by $1,000,000. This will assist our Catholic schools and other non-public schools with continuing education opportunities.
- We were able to increase the allocation to the School and Nutrition free breakfast and lunch program (Act 305) for $860,000. This will increase our ability to provide meals for low-income students.
- We supported HB 648 to prohibit gender transition procedures. This was vetoed by the Governor and overridden in the Special Session.
- We supported the School Safety Act 334 which will provide funding for all schools to improve safety measures.
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
- We supported a resolution (HR 200) to study reimbursement rates for our intermediate care facilities that take care of some of our most vulnerable children with medically complex needs. This may help our facilities in the Archdiocese, Alexandria, and Shreveport Dioceses.
- We testified and got passed into statute the Interagency Homeless Council for Louisiana Act 314 and testified to address the homeless encampments under the Interstate in New Orleans.
Solidarity in Restorative Justice
- We defeated, by proactively testifying against attempts to remove $5,000,000 from the Department of Corrections, that had the potential impact on our reentry programs.
- We were successful in passing Act 90 to improve the expungement process and Act 214, which improves mental health treatment of incarcerated individuals.
- However, several pieces of legislation that could have increased incarceration rates were opposed and some vetoed by Governor.
- We provided testimony on a resolution that assumes the criminal justice reforms had not worked by providing information on the success of our re-entry programs in helping to restore lives and reduce recidivism.
Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
- We were unable again to raise the minimum wage or close the equal pay gap for women, which is one of the largest in the nation.
- We were unable to provide an earned income tax credit that would have helped working families move out of poverty. The Paid Medical and Family Leave legislation did not move either.
Care for God’s Creation
- Once again, the chemical industry lobby blocked reasonable and cost-effective measures to protect residents. They resisted reasonable requirements to put air monitors around all plants that produce deadly toxins. LCCB continues to advocate for reasonable safety measures.
- We supported a resolution to extend FEMA housing support after IDA and were supportive of the 32 million that was added to IDA recovery from the State General Fund and funding for fortified roofs.