Legislative Wrap Up and Veto Override Uncertainty

Louisiana’s 2023 Regular Legislative Session came to a chaotic final adjournment on June 8th with a state budget passed in the final moments before the mandatory end of the legislative session. This capped off a session that should have focused on the financial matters of the state, but instead saw conservative legislators fighting national culture wars mostly aimed at attacking Louisiana’s LGBTQ youth during a slow lead up to statewide elections this fall.

Fair Chance in Housing

Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center’s (LaFHAC) top priority for this session was our second attempt to pass Representative Matt Willard’s Fair Chance in Housing (HB 180), which would bring transparency to the rental application process for formerly incarcerated people and those with criminal records. Unfortunately, HB 180 did not pass out of the House Commerce Committee during its May 15th hearing, but LaFHAC, along with our coalition partners, remain committed to passing this crucial legislation and eliminating barriers for people with criminal records from securing housing and rebuilding their lives.

LaFHAC supported Senator Royce Duplessis’ SB 111, which successfully passed and will streamline the process of expunging criminal records, making the process easier and more affordable. Once full implementation and funding are in place, this will be a powerful tool in assisting those with criminal records to find housing, jobs, and public assistance.

Defend the Rights of LGBTQ People

Conservative legislators led the charge on a cruel attack on the rights of LGBTQ Louisianans, passing legislation that will irreparably harm and isolate LGBTQ children in their schools and communities. LaFHAC opposed all of these efforts and especially Representative Dodie Horton’s HB 466, known as “Don’t Say Gay,” which would prevent LaFHAC from teaching about the full protections under the federal Fair Housing Act in schools, because gender identity and sexual orientation are protected classes.

Fortunately, Governor Edwards vetoed this and two other harmful bills, a complete ban on gender affirming care for minors (HB 648) and a forced outing bill in schools (HB 81). Legislators now have the power to call a veto override session, which if called will likely take place on July 18th. We encourage our supporters to use our partners’ action alerts from Forum for Equality and Louisiana Trans Advocates to tell legislators to let the vetoes stand.

Tools to Address Slumlords

Representative Jason Hughes successfully passed a Constitutional Amendment (HB 46), which would allow local city and parish governments to revoke the non-profit property tax exemptions of apartment owners who rack up health and safety violations. This constitutional amendment cannot become law until it receives a statewide vote in this fall’s elections.

Relief for Homeowners

Legislators put forward a number of bills seeking to alleviate rocketing insurance costs, which have all Louisianans feeling the strain on housing affordability. The legislature appropriated $30 million to the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program, which will provide grants to property owners with a homestead exemption to fortify their roofs and will begin accepting applications in October.

Representative Matthew Willard’s effort to incentivize fortified roofs (HB 294) successfully became law and guarantees that any property with a roof built to the fortified commercial standards will receive a discount in the premium.

Posted by reneeon 07/07/2023and categorized as Blog, Press Releases, Uncategorized