To date, 55 House bills and 19 Senate bills have been filed. So far, the only bill currently pertaining to the nonprofit sector is HB 46 by State Representative Jason Hughes. Hughes' bill "Restricts eligibility of nonprofit organizations for property tax exemptions for residential property found to endanger public health or safety." If two-thirds of the members of both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature vote in the affirmative, a legislatively referred constitutional amendment can be placed on a statewide ballot. If the ballot initiative is approved by a simple majority, it becomes part of the constitution within twenty days of the election, unless the amendment itself has a different effective date provided within its provisions.Click here to keep up with House and Senate prefiled bills.
March is the first month in three years that Louisiana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will receive their regular benefit amount without the pandemic-related extra benefits they have received since March 2020. SNAP households received their final round of extra benefits (also known as Emergency Allotments) in February, following passage of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which ended funding for these benefits. SNAP emergency allotments had allowed households to receive the maximum SNAP benefit amount for their household size, with a minimum supplemental allotment of $95. With the extra benefits coming to an end, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is encouraging SNAP households to report any changes in their household size, income and/or expenses, as certain changes could result in an increase to their regular benefit amount. SNAP households with unmet food needs are also encouraged to reach out to organizations like LA 211, food banks, and religious organizations to see what other assistance might be available to them. Read more here.
Senators Lankford (R-OK) and Coons (D-DE) reintroduced their universal charitable (non-itemizer) deduction bill. The legislation, S. 566, would enable non-itemizers to deduct charitable donations of up to 1/3rd of the standard deduction, about $4,600/individual and $9,200/couple. In addition to Senators Lankford and Coons, the following have signed on as cosponsors (alpha by state): Marco Rubio (R-FL), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Gary Peters (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maggie Hasson and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tim Scott (R-SC). Last Congress’ bill sponsor, Rep. Pappas (D-NH), is on board, but the coalition is still seeking a Republican lead sponsor. Read more here.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued an opinion finding that a worker with annual compensation of more than $200,000 was eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) because he wasn’t paid on a salary basis. FLSA requires employers, including nonprofits, to pay their employees at least $7.25 per hour and to pay employees one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Read more here.
Six months before the qualifying period for this fall’s governor’s race, Louisiana Democrats have not announced candidate for any statewide office yet – other than a little-known teacher in LaSalle Parish who is running for governor after winning only 2% of the vote in a state Senate race four years ago. Shawn Wilson, the well-regarded secretary of Transportation under Gov. John Bel Edwards, appears likely to run for governor while State party chair Katie Bernhardt now says she will not run for governor this year after some recent controversy over a TV campaign ad. Read more state election news here.
There are currently 27 bills filed on the House side - HB4 - HB 27. HB1-HB3 are designated as appropriation bills. So far, nine bills have been filed on the Senate side. The majority of the pre-filed bills to date pertain specifically to taxes. Click here to keep up with pre-filed bills.
The United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) has announced February 2023 is the final month of the temporary extra Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known as emergency allotments, put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, ends these benefits. Although Louisiana's Public Health Emergency Order ended in March 2022, Governor John Bel Edwards signed Executive Order JBE 2022-10, which allowed the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to continue issuing Emergency Allotments through February 2023, making it one of just 28 states to do so.
The Biden Administration recently announced that the President will end the public health and national emergencies on May 11. The announcement of an event months from now is designed to allow the public and people in all levels of governments time to prepare. Among other things, the end of the public health emergency may mean that people have to start paying for COVID-19 testing and treatment, and it could affect employer-sponsored health insurance, COBRA, and flexible spending accounts. Read more here.
LABI (Louisiana Association of Business & Industry) announced plans this week for LA23, “a bold initiative to position Louisiana as an economic leader in the South by 2030, crafted through extensive research and a vetting process with a broad array of stakeholders.” According to LABI’s press release, the mission of LA23 is to define and articulate key issues that face the people and businesses of Louisiana. It is a strategic plan and 8-year vision, but with specific near-term milestones to provide informed policy guidance for candidates in the fall 2023 elections.
Throughout February and March, LABI will host regional listening sessions throughout the state to share current research, key concepts and solicit input from businesses and Louisianans. The second round of listening sessions will be held this summer. They are also sending surveys out statewide for the broadest level of input possible. LA23 will be released in late summer or early fall of this year.
We know the vital role that charitable nonprofits play in communities across Louisiana. We will forward more information on the upcoming regional listening sessions and surveys as your organization, board members and other stakeholders' participation are important to charitable nonprofits being included in Louisiana’s economic success.
To learn more about LA23, click HERE.
Two major candidates who might join the Louisiana governor’s race said they still aren’t ready to announce whether they are launching a campaign. Congressman Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, said he hasn’t made up his mind yet over whether he will run for governor. Louisiana Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, a Democrat, said he will make an announcement “sooner rather than later” about whether he is launching a campaign.
The race already has four declared Republican candidates: Attorney General Jeff Landry, State Treasurer John Schroder, state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, and state Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville. Lake Charles businessman Hunter Lundy has said he will run as a political independent.
After U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced that Graves is going to be chair of the Elected Leadership Committee, was given a spot on the House Republican Steering Committee, and (McCarthy) made an appearance at Washington Mardi Gras, folks thought that Graves would keep his D.C. digs, but he hasn’t confirmed one way or another. It’s likely polls are in the field and we’ll know more in the next few weeks.
Source: The Daily Comet
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