What’s On Tap?

So what’s on tap for the 2018 regular session, aside from the budget?

Here’s our running list of issues. If you have any other potential bills you’re working on, or are hearing about, drop us a line at news@LaPolitics.com.

— The Bayou State’s gambling and gaming laws rarely take centerstage at the Capitol, but that could change in next year’s regular session. Something called the Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force has been undertaking the first thorough review of these laws since 1991. While there’s no organized drive to expand gaming or gambling, there is some chitchat about moving Louisiana’s riverboats onto dry land. Task force members are likewise looking into how promotional money giveaways are taxed, the possibilities of sports betting and the resort frameworks used by casinos in other states.

— Lawmakers may likewise take another glance at the state’s dedicated funds, which hold a few billion dollars that the House and Senate are unable to access to help balance the budget. The Dedicated Fund Review Subcommittee, which is a legislative panel, is currently taking a closer look at these pockets of money. Sen. Sharon Hewitt and Rep. Rick Edmonds are serving as co-chairs of the subcommittee, which may propose legislation for the 2018 regular session. While certain funds are likely safe, such as the Transportation Trust Fund and the Minimum Foundation Program, others may be ripe for changes.

— On the education front, there’s the Commission on Assessment Review and Use in Public Schools. That’s a pretty fancy title for a group of teachers and education advocates who are trying to determine whether public school students are over-tested. Rep. Bernard LeBas has a lead role in the House and could be the host for any resulting legislation. The commission is casting a rather wide net and is reviewing all local, state and national exams. Members want to know if there are any duplications in the tests and how much time educators are spending on the administration side.

— Rep. Julie Emerson is working with the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police on a bill to “give peace of mind to the survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.” The idea is to require law enforcement employers to continue providing health care coverage to survivors at existing rates.

— In another House district further east, Rep. Paul Hollis is crafting legislation “to stop price gouging by drug makers and distributors.” Inspired by a recent law passed in Maryland, it will focus on off-patent or generic drugs and will permit the state to essentially challenge prices in court.

— The Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration is exploring a few avenues for enhancing employer fraud enforcement.

— Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to take another look at felony sentencing reforms and the Felony Class System Task Force (yes, another task force) has assumed the lead on that push.

— The Department of Education is expecting legislation on student fee policies.

— Secretary of State Tom Schedler may have a policy package aimed at increasing voter turnout.

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