Landry still seeks first big win

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.
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.
For example, 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.
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 likely to garner national attention would require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in classrooms. But pass or not, it is unlikely that this will be the Governor’s big win given that the with the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that posting Biblical messages in classrooms is unconstitutional.
Another bill, from Sen. Heather Cloud, would gut the state’s public records law, but backlash from all directions has her rewriting the legislation, she said this week.
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.
Landry hasn’t suffered any significant losses, personally, but expectations were set very high before the session, and it looks like the success or failure of that proposed convention will be his last chance to make his mark this legislative year.

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Thomas FieldsThomas “Tuffy” Fields is an author and regular contributor to The Gazette. He can …

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