EJBA Government Highlights

June 2024 Government Highlights

Federal: A new federal law beginning in 2031 requires all new vehicles to average 38 mpg.
The Institute for Business & Home Safety rated Louisiana as one of the most improved states in America for resilience against extreme
weather due to new construction codes.

State: The US Supreme Court ordered La. to hold this fall’s congressional elections using the two Black majority districts instead
of just the one.

The 2024 State Legislature has concluded with a budget spending plan of $717 Million for construction projects throughout the state.
The Governor has already signed over 400 bills that passed in the 2024 Regular session. Here are a few:

The sale of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is banned.

Persons are not allowed to walk within 25 feet of police while they’re engaged in law enforcement duties.

Restaurants will be required to say explicitly whether their seafood is from the US and wholesalers and distributors cannot use misleading packaging and labels on foreign seafood.

The Education Savings account is set to give all La. school children $ for private school tuition, tutoring and uniforms. The BESE board
will decide when and how much $ will be given to individual families.

All public universities and K12 schools will display the Ten Commandments in every classroom .

Transgender persons are banned from using school restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. 
Banned talk of sexuality and gender in classrooms and at extracurricular clubs.
School employees cannot be punished for calling a student by their biological name or pronoun; and students must have parental
permission to change their name or pronoun in school.

The Fortified Roof Program has been extended for another year giving $10,000 grants for the roof.

The “3year rule” will phase out barring insurers from dropping policyholders if they had been a customer for 3 years.

Homeowners insurers will have more time to pay on claims and given a “cure period” to resolve issues.

Insurers can increase rates without prior Insurance Dept. approval.

New limits on hempderived THC products; bans gas stations from selling the products, and limits bars and restaurants selling THC
infused beverages.

Two abortion inducing medications will be classified as dangerous controlled substances.

Insurers must cover certain prescribed drugs for postpartum depression.

Local govts. Can withhold records related to certain economic developments and only La. residents can request public records from
the governors office.

Local police can detain people suspected of entering the US illegally.

All revenues earned from alternative energy projects located in federal waters of La. go to coastal protection.

A judge can sentence sex offenders to be surgically castrated if the victim is under 13yearsold.

Panhandling is banned on public streets and some sidewalks.
Eliminates state requirements that 16 and 17yearolds receive a 20minute lunch break when working 5 or more hours.
However, the Governor did not get enough support for a constitutional convention. That may gain support for later this
summer.

In Jefferson Parish: The JP School Board signed off on a permanent $2,500 certified teacher pay raise, $2,000 for noncertified teachers,
and a $500 raise for staff and bus drivers. This is in addition to the 2024state budget approval of a $2,000 stipend for teachers and a
$1,000 stipend for school staff.

The Esplanade Mall is back up for sale after its mixeduse development plans failed.

Other news: Plaquemines Parish is pushing for an alternative to the MidBarataria Sediment Diversion plan for coastal restoration.

And, Breeze Airlines is celebrating its 3 years in the New Orleans market with 33% off all New Orleans roundtrip fares through October 1, 2024

Government Highlights

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES-  MAY 2024

Federal: – A Federal Court has blocked the La. Congressional district map and judges said a new map is due May 17th.  Our La. legislature said they cannot meet that deadline; so the courts will have to implement a map.

-The US Dept of Transportation announced new regulations for airlines to refund passengers for delayed or cancelled flights.

-And the US DOT granted the Port of NO $7M for electrical infrastructure upgrades like all-electric terminal trucks.

-The Federal Justice Dept. created a carjacking task force in NO for juvenile intervention resources’ grants.

State: – Site selection journal named Greater New Orleans, Inc. as one of the best-performing economic development groups in America.

-The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy placed NO in 39th place; up 28 places.

-La. state is suing The Biden admin. over new rules protecting transgender students for discrimination of sex in educ. & activities.

-BESE, La.’s School Board, now requires all high school student internships to be paid.

-Entergy customers will pay $1.9 billion for grid-hardening but very few underground lines.

-Gov. Landry signed new property insurance laws giving insurers more time to pay claims, raise rates, and drop homeowner policies.  Also, to continue the fortified roof grant program.

In Jefferson Parish: -JP is testing camouflaging our drainage canals with trees and shrubbery on the canal ditch (18 designated locations)

– Also, JP is working on an online dashboard for residents to view pump status during a storm.

-The JP Coroner will take on the sexual assault exam program dropped by the St. Tammany coroner to begin on May 20, 2024

-And, two Narcan distribution sites will open (1 eastbank and 1 westbank)

-On April 27th, Jefferson Parish voters voted to:

Renew the 6.8 Mill tax for JP schools AND voted Jackie Maloney for 24th Judicial Court Judge.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES- APRIL 2024

Federal: – A Real Estate settlement will now allow for home sellers and home buyers to negotiate the sale percentage with their agent, long known as standard rates 5 or 6% commissions.

State: – La.’s bond rating has risen to AA from AA- allowing for smaller interest rates borrowed via the bond market

-Fourth grade reading scores ranked No. 1 for national growth, but State Superintendent Cade Brumley says there is more to be done.

In Jefferson Parish: – JP is launching an $8,500 grant pilot program for exterior home improvements in Terrytown.  They hope to launch the same in an Eastbank neighborhood.

-The US Small Business Administration opened a Business Recovery Center at JEDCO to assist businesses impacted by severe or extreme drought with SBA disaster loans

-Two public meetings will be held to present a final draft proposal for the new industrial zoning rules.

-JP has also formed a task force to combat violence against the homeless

-Jefferson Parish Recreation Department has put out the Pickleball Schedule for indoor and outdoor games at several playgrounds.

Regional: – The Today Show with Hoda and Jena will broadcast from the French Quarter on April 11th.

-The WWII Museum is adding an AI Exhibit allowing visitors to hold virtual conversations with images of veterans.

-Breeze Airways has announced the return of a one stop/no plane change from New Orleans to New York beginning in September.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES- MARCH 2024

Federal: – Amtrak’s Gulf Coast Passenger Rail Service from New Orleans to Mobile has been held up by  new tracks in Alabama

-Intuitive Machines made the first US moon landing in 50 years

-AT&T says it will give $5 to customers hit by the cellphone outage

State: – Governor Landry just signed 11 bills from the crime session; I have a list of the 11 bills signed including concealed carry, pardon and parole reform, offender rehabilitation, and more

-The regular session started this past Monday with a focus on insurance, revamping the state constitution, and education

-The governor has asked the USDA to help crawfish farmers and issued a disaster declaration for harvest losses during the drought, then freeze; has signed an executive order to create a task force for SWBNO; AND has removed job requirements for industrial tax breaks.

-CONFUSION:  We have 3 La. redistricting maps to allow for additional black districts:

  1. One Congressional – already drawn
  2. 3 State Senate and 6 State House seats
  3. One additional Supreme Court district

-La. Board of Secondary & Elementary (BESE) voted to scrap all seniors having to apply for FAFSA to get their high school diploma.

 In Jefferson Parish: – Treasure Chest Casino is Built and ready to open its doors soon.

-JP President Cynthia Lee Sheng laid out an “action plan” for the six revamped playgrounds to include a cheer and tumble academy, multi-purpose fitness track with archery, basketball program and tennis hub, a baseball and softball academy, a boxing program, a lacrosse program, and water safety program for boating and fishing

– The JP President also wants Metairie Playground to be community oasis shelter with cooling and heating features and power charging stations during severe weather.

-The Jeff Parish Council has voted down all recycling.  They are looking at drop-off sites or an opt-in service

-Due to the latest financial debacle with the RTA, Parish President has decided to pull Jefferson Parish out of the RTA.

Lastly, Spirit Airlines has added more flights out of New Orleans, now to San Juan, Puerto Rico; AND Frontier Airlines added two more routes to include Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES- FEBRUARY 2024

Federal: – Beginning in March, FEMA will assist homeowners whose disaster insurance does not fully cover all damages.

La. energy industry received $160M workforce grant for jobs over the next 10 years

Port Nola received $226M federal grant for the International Terminal in Violet

The US Dept. of Agriculture awarded $1.6M to La. scientists to rid an invasive foreign insect decimating roseau cane marsh grass that protects our coastline

Biden has delayed the LNG natural gas export terminal for Carbon Capture in Cameron Parish

Ring will no longer allow police to request doorbell camera footage for crimes committed in the area without a search warrant

State: – La. lawmakers have approved a congressional map to include a second majority Black district

Cade Brumley has been reappointed as the State Superintendent and the Bese board will have eight of 11 new members.

Governor Landry conditioned La. seniors must pass the state’s academic progress exam to graduate high school.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES- JANUARY 2024

Federal: – The United States National debt has now hit $34 Trillion.

-The White House has approved La. to issue permits for wells that will store carbon dioxide called Carbon Capture. We have about 30 projects, more than any other state.

State: – La. lawmakers will hold two special sessions prior to the regular session in March to redraw new US House of Representative districts and another on public safety and crime.

– La.’s population dropped for the 3rd straight year in a row.

– La. Board for higher education will now allow students from a two-year college to transfer 60 hours of approved program coursework to any La. public university 4-year bachelor program with a related degree.

-Port of New Orleans will receive a $73.77 million grant from the federal government for the La. International Terminal in St. Bernard.

-The New Orleans Pelicans and Smoothie King renewed their arena naming rights

 In Jefferson Parish:

-JP residents will begin with a new garbage collection service and recycling service in 2024.

-The JP Sewerage and Water Board Smart meters will be delayed until 2025 to avert any violation of La. public bid law.

-JP passed a $966 million budget for 2024 to include general operations, capital improvements, debt repayments, and grant funds.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES OCTOBER 2023

State: La. and 9 other states have asked a federal judge to block sharp increases in the national flood insurance rates.  Annual increases are now at 18%.

-A study done by Lighthouse Dental Center rated La. as the second most unhealthy state in the US.  The study considered air quality, obesity, physical activity, health conditions, sleep habits, smoking and drinking behaviors, dietary patterns and tooth loss.

Jefferson Parish: Our concern is the Saltwater Intrusion from the gulf expected to reach the East Jefferson area by October 29th.  JP is building a flexible pipeline from the Kenner area down river for the eastbank and used reverse osmosis machines and barged in fresh water for the westbank areas. President Biden has approved the states Emergency Declaration for the Saltwater Intrusion for emergency federal dollars.

-Starting next year, new smart water meters will be used to read your meters.

-The much anticipated $125 Million airport flyover ramp is open to the public.  The entire project will be complete by the first quarter of 2024.

-November 1st will begin a toll increase to $6 to cross the Causeway Bridge

-Breeze Airways has begun a 25% off Fall Promotion and nonstop to Orlando, Fl and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

-The Jazz and Heritage Festival is adding another fest day in 2024 for eight full days.

-VOTE, VOTE, VOTE…October 14th for local and statewide races.  You will also have four constitutional amendments on the October 14th ballot.  Call Mildred or local officials for explanation of all amendments.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES SEPTEMBER 2023

Federal: Millions of dollars in Federal tax incentives have been given to La. companies for new carbon capture projects.

-Ten La. parishes will receive over $207 million to lessen storm impact under the Infrastructure package. Jefferson Parish will get $19 million to help Entergy fortify our local power grid.

State: – Lawmakers have agreed to restore money to the Port of New Orleans for the new container terminal in Chalmette.

-The $30 million dollar state-funded program beginning in October will fortify home roofs insured with the La. Citizens Property Insurance first.

-The new RTA ferry terminal has opened for Canal Street/Algiers Point transit access.

-The French Quarter will now allow for additional food vendors other than Lucky Dogs in the heavily touristed areas.

In Jefferson Parish:  -The JP administration has improved hurricane preparedness at evacuation centers with bathroom facilities, mental and medical support, translators, generators, and pet accommodations.

-The parish will launch an elite year-round baseball team for 13- and 14-year-olds and ideas to include other sports, if successful.

-Jefferson Parish Schools are utilizing certified teachers from across the country to assist in virtual teaching to combat the teacher shortage. They are also hiring retired teachers part time, paying current teachers to build lesson plans for other districts, and contracting substitutes.

-Also, the New Orleans Metro Area ranked in the top ten for entrepreneurs in America per Gusto.com.

-Four constitutional amendments will be on the October 14th ballot.

Early voting begins September 30th – October 7th.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES JULY 2023

Federal: The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that race cannot be used in college admissions, solidified protections for workers requesting religious accommodations, and rejected President Biden’s plan to wipe away $400 Billion in student debt.

Also, a US District Court judge ruled the Biden administration violated the First Amendment by censoring conservative views on social media during the pandemic.

State: – State Treasurer John Schroder reported indictments of 5 persons charged with Main Street government benefits fraud and recently called for Taxpayer Electronic Payment Convenience.

-A few bills that passed this session were: Local governments will receive dollars from carbon capture in their area; State Police to create a centralized system to track rape kits; a more streamlined tax collection system; property owners can now hire their own public home adjuster to assess damages; smokers can receive six months of treatment from their health insurance; a 15% excise tax increase on nicotine vape products and e-cigarettes; libraries must limit children’s exposure to sexually explicit materials; La. families can claim a larger tax break for private school tuition from $5 to $6,000; and banned the use of TikTok on state-owned equipment.

-Governor Edwards vetoed legislation includes: the phase out of the corporate franchise tax; a package of LGBTQ bills particularly aimed at adolescent children; and placing juvenile violent offenders in adult facilities.  Legislators must decide this week if they wish to come back for a Veto Override Session.

-A massive global data breach has compromised 6 million records at the La. Office of Motor Vehicles

-Fortify Home grants up to $10K will be available in La. to bring homes up to new building codes and bring down homeowner insurance rates

-Not a single fine has been levied against the 2,600 violations recorded against food establishments notifying the public if they are selling imported shrimp or crawfish.

-According to Business Facilities magazine, La. has the top tech talent pipeline in the country.

In Jefferson Parish:

-The JP public school system is offering school uniform vouchers for students affected by the school reorganization plan;

-The Jefferson Parish Quality of Life survey showed 75% of JP residents feel life in JP is good or excellent

-To that end, JP has launched the Seafood Enterprise Assistance Fund for commercial fishermen; message boards raised noting that panhandling can cause accidents; and a $15,5 million project aimed at revamping Bucktown’s waterfront into a living shoreline

-Ochsner and MD Anderson just launched its own partnership for local cancer patient care.

-And finally, Breeze Airways has again announced new summer fares for 10 routes from New Orleans and adding nonstop service to Orlando and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES JUNE 2023

National: Any Facebook users can now apply for their share of the $725 million privacy settlement that Meta has agreed to pay.

In Louisiana:

– A new bill introduced allowing La. mothers to recoup half of their monies from the father of the child for pregnancy-related expenses.

-Crime is the No. 1 worry for La. residents for this upcoming campaign season

-La. has sued the US Government along with 9 other states over the steep flood insurance rate increase AND we are among 22 states to reach a billion dollar agreement with CVS and Walgreens over the opioid crisis.

-Lawmakers have approved the Anti-LGBTQ bills that bans puberty blockers, hormone treatment and surgery.  The Governor has vowed to veto the ban. Other passed bills include third-graders are prohibited to move to fourth grade if they are reading deficient; public schools must post financial information; creation of the Office of Port Development; a statewide offshore wind plan; Angel Investor, Research and Development, and the Motion Picture Tax Credit passed; and the Coastal Master Plan. You can get a full list of what passed and failed from the La. Legislature.

-The legislature has also agreed to raise the spending cap on the annual budget for transportation, hospitals, college campuses, lawmakers’ district projects, a $2K and $1k one-time stipend for teachers and staff respectively, and $44M for early childhood education.

-La. is the ninth lowest tax bearing state according to the national Tax Foundation.

-State Treasurer John Schroder has released initial stats showing les than 15 of the $45 Billion retirement funds are currently invested in La.  Only 26% is invested  in the US with 38% invested outside of the United States.

In Jefferson Parish:

-Jefferson Parish Council members are flushed with monies from the American Rescue Plan Act, giving them each millions for pet projects in their districts.

-The John Alario Sports Complex in the works is hoping to bring a large sports tournament tourism base.

– The Treasure Chest Casino has begun to move the casino on land with upgrades and improvements.

-A new medical cannibas pharmacy has opened in Kenner

-JP Transit will cut services due to budget shortfalls and not enough ridership

-The parish plans to use the opioid settlement funds to create a homeless shelter

-JP has broken ground on a $17.3 million drainage project by the 17th St. Canal in Metairie; HOWEVER, asking all JP residents to have their Hurricane preparation in place.

-The Crazy Hotpot in Metairie has Robots serving appetizers

-Jefferson Parish residents rated our Quality of Life as Excellent or Good by 75%.

In New Orleans:

– A $5 Million breakwater drive improvement project is completed along Lake Pontchartrain

-UNO launched its wind scholars program

– A bill mandating prison time for New Orleans car break-ins was proposed by Metairie Representative Laurie Schlegel.

-Breeze Airways will again add new nonstop flights from New Orleans to Los Angeles and Hartford, Connecticut.

-A New Orleans cocktail brand, El Guapo, has launched three products nationwide inside Fresh Market.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES FEBRUARY 2023

-Jefferson Parish Council just selected their new garbage haul company, River Birch Renewable Energy, to begin Jan. 2024 for five years.

-JP is wanting public input on how to spend $5.6 million from the federal government on housing the homeless.

-Applications are open for Ochsner’s STAR (Science, Technology, Academic, Research) Summer Scholars Program.

-La. Special Session passed the bill to fund $45M to entice Insurers back to La.

-With support from The Home Builders Assoc. of Greater NO, La. adopted the 2021 IRC Code requiring more rigorous roof construction standards.

-Lawmakers also approved $22.1M in education spending from the 1999 tobacco settlement funds.

-Teachers and first responders will be given assistance for a down payment and closing costs towards home ownership from $5M in taxable bonds .

-NASA’s redesigned RS-25 engine underwent its first hot fire test for a possible future moon flight.

-Feds raised its interest rate by a quarter-point to continue fighting inflation.

-La. DOTD said the $125M I-10 flyover ramps are on schedule to be completed by early 2024.

-Spirit Airlines is offering a 10-year anniversary special for nonstop, one-way flights for as low as $39 from New Orleans until March 8th.

-Breeze Airways also expanded its travel through March for 11 routes from New Orleans with one-way fares beginning at $29.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES JANUARY 2023

-To continue fighting inflation, the Federal Government again raised rates by a half-point to 4.5%, its highest level in15 years.

-As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, many Americans will qualify to a $7,500 tax credit for buying an electric vehicle

-La. enacted new construction codes that began on Jan. 1st and will hopefully assist in the La.’s insurance crisis.

-TikTok is now banned on all devices issued by the Dept. of the State

-La. lawmakers awarded $357 million in sewer and water projects around the state.

-Insurance dominated the new La. laws set to begin 2023…more transparency, insurers must provide a catastrophe response plan, and an emergency contact information is required.

-Census data shows La.’s population is in decline.

-La. financial report shows collections and expenses grew in 2022 allowing for an additional $1.5 billion…this namely will benefit higher education, public school teachers and roads and bridges.

-La. Treasurer’s office released nearly $500,000 in supplemental grant payment to movie theaters for business loss during the pandemic.

-A legislative panel has been formed to eventually end the use of progressive corporate principles that support and assist companies that only support sustainable energy and responsible ways to do business, known as ESG.

-Hurricane Ida ravaged Jefferson Parish’s water system causing around $28 million worth of damage…therefore, the JP council raised the cap on its waterline repair contract to $33.8 million.

-A company, Glass Half Full, is collecting recycled glass and grinds it into sand to help combat coastal restoration.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES NOVEMBER 2022

-Social Security recipients will see an approximate 9% increase in payments beginning January 2023.

-Due to inflation, the Feds raised interest rates again by ¾ point; while the IRS upped the standard deduction and tax brackets and raised contribution limits for retirement savings.

-La. is one of 12 states to receive a portion of $2.8 billion to build battery manufacturing for electric vehicles.

-La. Supreme Court ruled that persons serving time right now are not entitled to new trials if they had a split verdict.

-La. Citizens Insurance for residential properties is increasing by 63%.

-The application process is now open for student loan forgiveness up to $20,000.00.

-The Legislative push to improve reading skills for 3rd and 4th graders passed but with a watered down version.

-Jefferson Parish School Superintendent will host four Listen and Learn meetings with one on November 15th.

-LCMC purchased Tulane Medical Center, Lakeview Regional, and Tulane Lakeside from HCA.

-Ochsner Rehabilitation Hospital ranked first in La. in Newsweek’s Best Physical Rehabilitation Center.

-Severn Ave. and David Dr. construction is set to be completed within weeks.

-The Esplanade Mall may finally have a buyer with plans to convert it to a mixed-use development with retail, residential, and recreation.

-Jefferson Parish Economic Development or Jedco awarded $1.5 Million for Jedgrow financing for small businesses.  Jedco also launched a small business lending program between $25K to $150k for the seafood industry.

-Mardi Gras 2023 will have smaller parade routes because of the police shortage.

-Mr. Henry Shane of 1st Lake Properties was awarded the first Philanthropy award from the Jefferson Cummunity Foundation due to his community service and dedication for the betterment of Jefferson Parish.

-DawnBusters Turkey Fry has already begun!!

-Please go VOTE today.  We have (8) Constitutional amendments today with School Board and Senatorial races and (3) on December 10th ballot.   I have the complete list for your review.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES OCTOBER 2022

-Unfortunately, another insurance company writing in La., FedNat, will be placed into receivership under the LIGA program.

-Fed officials will keep boosting interest rates to help keep inflation down and try to stave off a recession.

-Barge traffic is being slowed due to the lower Mississippi river levels compounding the problem of supplies reaching consumers.

-DXC Technology has ended its incentive pact with La. because of its lack of high-paying tech job hires.

-Avondale Shipyards finally opened this past Friday as a global hub for manufacturing and logistics and return thousands of jobs to the area.

-River Birch and the Jefferson Parish Council will merge day to day operations at the parish landfill and save the parish approximately $1.4 million annually.

-Jefferson Parish Recreation Dept. is allowing under-utilized playgrounds as academies – parents affected are upset.

-State Treasurer John Schroeder is moving all state treasury funds from BlackRock, Inc. in violation of state law.  BlackRock is urging all companies to embrace environmental and social strategies – harming La.’s Fossil Fuel industry.

-Ochsner will build a Neuroscience center on Jefferson Hwy. specializing in epilepsy, cognitive and movement disorders, and neurosurgery.

-The 71st Miss Universe Competition is coming to the New Orleans Convention Center in January 2023.

-Breeze Airways has announced fall fare sales starting at $39 to Charleston, Richmond, Ga., Louisville, Ky, Jacksonville, Fla., and Savannah, Ga.

-Voters will decide on 11 ballot initiatives in November from veterans property tax exemptions to giving local taxing authorities more time to roll the millages forward.  I have a full list of all initiatives, if you would like to review.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES SEPTEMBER 2022

  • A $50 Million federal grant to create clean hydrogen has been awarded to the South La. Regional Partnership
  • LA also received another $100 Million in transportation aid; much needed since the Transportation Trust Fund just announced an expected loss of half billion dollars in the next decade due to fuel efficiency and electric vehicles.
  • LA Public School teachers may qualify for Student Loan debt forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and the La. schools do not have to implement Biden’s new transgender protections.
  • Entergy customers can apply for $150 credit; pay no late fees; and disregard disconnect notices with a payment plan.
  • Jefferson Parish has rolled out a new program for 1st-time homebuyers and has allocated $275,000 for 53 low-income residents to attend early childhood pre-schools.
  • The JP Council and Administration have also installed cameras on the road leading to landfills to catch violators with garbage flying out of their vehicles for litter abatement.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES AUGUST 2022

  • LA has again been ranked at the top for workforce development according to Business Facilities magazine.
  • LA could get a bump in cash by selling its water to many western states, but presently giving it away to them.
  • LA Judge that Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon abused his power trying to force insurance companies to pay evacuation costs.
  • The LA bailout fund will borrow $600 million after seven LA insurers went bust following Hurricane Ida.
  • A push by state education officials to toughen public high school grades failed although our system does not align with ACT scores or college entry; however, we have seen a slight rebound in standardized test scores, namely due to in-person learning.
  • New Orleans Airport officials want to build a connector road from the upcoming Amtrak station to the new terminal; but the I-10 fly-over has been postponed until 2023.
  • In Jefferson Parish, an attempt to take over the Shrine on Airline is happening and to possibly host a professional soccer league.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES JULY 2022

  • Legislature wrapped up in June with a few new laws enacted, to name a few: Nursing homes must submit an emergency preparedness plan, landlords cannot evict tenants who have evacuated for a storm, individuals may surrender their firearms and have them returned under an agreement, La. can sell medical marijuana to non-La. residents with a medical marijuana card, the odor of marijuana alone is not probable cause to retain a search warrant, limit of police booking photos for nonviolent crimes, prohibit solitary confinement for juveniles with some exceptions, civil remedies for parents of minors exposed to online pornography, public high schools will adopt policies for pregnant students and give time to breastfeed children during school hours; signed the Offshore wind energy bill authorizing the state to take a cut of the wind farm revenues and charge the lease fee, and Hybrid and electric vehicle owners will soon pay an annual road fee possibly through state income tax filings.
  • Edwards vetoed several bills including: charter schools to be approved by the state board instead of local school boards, an education savings account for students with disabilities or struggling to read to find better non-public options, grant state dollars to follow students that want to leave struggling public schools for private institutions, and vetoed the authority of state buildings during an emergency.
  • The legislators that have disagreed with the Governor’s vetoes do not have the votes to convene a Veto special session.
  • Entergy has a summer cash-incentive program for companies that apply energy-saving facility upgrades.
  • US Supreme Court put a hold on redrawing La.s new congressional district before the 2022 elections.
  • The US Supreme Court also voted to allow for prayer in public schools, overturned the federal abortion law of Roe versus Wade and gives authority to individual states, and gun rights in the New York Rifle and Pistol Assoc. versus Bruen.
  • In Jefferson Parish, our animal shelters have a surge of surrendered animals and in desperate need of adoptions and foster care for large and small dogs.
  • A call for the Bridge City Center for Youth to be closed after several brawls and escapes. In the meantime, the state police have been called in to carry tasers, pepper spray, and use-of-force techniques often reserved for adult prisoners.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES APRIL 2022

  • will partner with Arkansas and Oklahoma in developing clean hydrogen as fuel to bring in federal dollars to the region
  • NASA’s Stennis Space center is now using drone technology for aerial imagery, inspections, and mapping and other dangerous missions.
  • The La. Community and Technical Colleges have partnered with La. Economic Development to use federal dollars in developing a skilled workforce against future natural disasters and flood protection.
  • Lawmakers overrode the Governor’s veto of the congressional district map.
  • Mobile Sports Betting generated $2.2 million in taxes for February alone
  • Social Studies curriculum will be implemented by 2023 to address critical race theory
  • Brittany and Drew Brees launched The BuildStrong Academy in Kenner to train construction workers.
  • At New Orleans airport, Breeze Airways, will add a new route to Jacksonville, Fla. this summer.
  • The Viking cruise line began its final stage of construction before opening its Mississippi River cruises from New Orleans to St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • US government announced all new vehicles will have to travel an average of 40 miles per gallon by 2026
  • Jefferson Parish voters will go to the polls on April 30th for RENEWAL of Consolidated Road Lighting District AND a half-cent tax RENEWAL for Jefferson Parish schools.
  • Last, but not Least, NOCHI announced it will offer a Professional Wine Certification course possibly led by Mildred.

EJBA GOVERNMENT NOTES SEPTEMBER 2018

  • Delgado Community College River City Campus will open this fall focusing on technical skills.
  • Medical Marijuana availability has been pushed back to November from September
  • According to a Glassdoor.com report, Technology and Healthcare are the highest paying industries. GNO is #1 in the USA growth in Technology (SmartAsset, 2017) and Healthcare jobs. (STAT, 2017).
  • A new study from LendingTree has named New Orleans #3 in the USA amongst “cities where young entrepreneurs are making their mark and forming the next wave of million- and even billion-dollar businesses.”
  • November 6th are upcoming elections for Secretary of State, and local JP School Board seats. We also have several TAX RENEWALS (NOT A NEW TAX) on the ballot.
  • New Orleans and Jefferson Parish have started a Pilot Program allowing bus riders all-day access to ride the route on South Claiborne past South Carrollton ending its route instead at Ochsner Hospital on Jefferson Highway. This gives all passengers a quicker and less expensive trip than having to transfer to a Jefferson Transit line. 
  • Rail Upgrades for the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge are back on track after a four month delay. The project should be complete by December 2019.

March 2018 Government Highlights

Louisiana on bottom of ‘U.S. News’ best states By: City Business staff reports February 27, 2018

Louisiana is at the bottom of a new report on the best states to live in.
The state ranks last on U.S. News and World Report’s Best States for the second year in a row. The report released Tuesday ranks states based on quality of life, health care, education, crime and corrections, economy, fiscal stability, opportunity and infrastructure.
BUT LET’S NOT FORGET THAT Jefferson Parish Schools Ranked in U.S. News and World Report
2013 Best High Schools Rankings. Four local schools made the list.
The Haynes Academy School for Advanced Students came in at #138 followed by the Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy (#826) and the Thomas Jefferson School for Advanced Students (#1028). Both schools received silver medals. Fisher Middle/High School in Lafitte was granted a bronze medal and national recognition.
U.S. News and World Report collected data on more than 21,000 public high schools throughout the entire country. Those schools were evaluated on overall student performance, performance on Advanced Placement exams and the effectiveness of the education provided to black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students.
And Metairie was named one of the best places to live in the country in 2017
Although it’s not officially a city, Metairie has been named one of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live.
SO THAT JUST SHOWS US HOW WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE NO MATTER WHAT OUR SURROUNDINGS ARE

SOME GOOD NEWS FOR THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS THOUGH THAT WILL OVERFLOW INTO PROFITABILITY FOR EAST JEFFERSON:
Land swap expected to help Port of New Orleans, outgoing port commissioner
By: Lance Traweek, Managing Editor February 27, 2018 0
The landmark land swap along the riverfront that gave the Port of New Orleans control of the Public Belt Railroad continues to move full steam ahead, with a port tenant on track to make improvements to a portion of the railroad.
Dallas-Based Southwest Airlines Unveils Louisiana-Themed JetBy 3-9-18
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A giant pelican will soon be landing and taking off at airports in a salute to its namesake state.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines unveiled Louisiana One on Wednesday at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The Boeing 737-700 is painted with an artist’s rendition of Louisiana’s flag. Gov. John Bel Edwards says the plane is a tribute to the Pelican State and a flying ambassador.
In 1979, New Orleans became Southwest’s first destination served beyond its home state of Texas.
The plane that features a mother pelican and a nest of her three young joins 11 other state-themed 737s in Southwest’s fleet: Arizona One, California One, Colorado One, Florida One, Illinois One, Lone Star One (Texas), Maryland One, Missouri One, Nevada One, New Mexico One and Tennessee One.
Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of stories featured in our annual Top Construction Projects, inserted in the Feb. 16 issue of CityBusiness.
Adams Clinical runs clinical trials for drug companies and started using Uber Health in the middle of last year. Since then, trial participation has grown and patients have started staying in the studies longer, CEO Nelson Rutrick said.
The Watertown, Massachusetts, company had used taxis before switching to Uber. Rutrick said taxis were more expensive and required advance planning to get a cab to drive an hour or two to pick someone up.
“Uber is already where the patient lives,” he said.

Top Construction Projects 8. Ochsner Health System expansion
By: Tommy Santora, Contributing Writer March 2, 2018 0
In 2017, Ochsner Health System saw 773,000 different people from all 50 states and more than 60 countries worldwide – a 15 percent increase from the 670,000 people seen in 2016.

op Construction Projects 10. Children’s Hospital
By: Thad Rueter, Contributing Writer March 6, 2018 0

Courtesy Children’s Hospital
Project description: Adding 250,000 square feet to the Uptown campus, plus modernizations
Project cost: $300 million
Start date: March 2017
Expected completion date: August 2021
Owner/developer: Children’s Hospital
Project manager: Scott Landry, project executive; Warren Umbach, project manager
Construction teams: Lemoine Company
Architect: EYP/SBS (Stanley, Beaman, Sears); F&J Architects
When officials from Children’s Hospital of New Orleans look forward about three years, when $300 million worth of expansion and renovations at the 62-year-old facility are scheduled for completion, their thoughts involve not only their young patients, but families as well.
The Cardiac Intensive Care and Cardiac Neonatal Care Units will expand from 20 beds to 28 private rooms, where parents can stay with their recovering children. Exam rooms in the emergency room will increase to 138 square feet from 123 square feet, proving more comfort for everyone. The hospital campus also will gain a 600-car parking garage with an enclosed walkover bridge—searching too long for parking can frustrate anyone worried about their sick children.
“Every parent can understand the need to be with their son and daughter at every step of their care,” said Matt Schaefer, the hospital’s chief operating officer. “We are not just about patient-centered care, but family-centered care.”
Of course, every hospital’s main duty is to its patients, and Children’s Hospital—which at the end of the project in 2021 will have 258 new private rooms, up from 247 beds—could emerge as one of the premier children’s health facilities in the nation, at least according to the projections of the people behind the three-phase construction plan. For instance, a new behavioral health center will enable patient evaluations in a “secure environment.” The surgery area will have “enhanced imaging capabilities that allow intraoperative diagnostic imaging on complex neurosurgical cases,” the hospital said. A comprehensive care center will combine into one large space that includes inpatient, outpatient and infusion services.
Those and other improvements reflect the advances in medical technology over the six-decade life of Children’s Hospital. The last major renovation work there took place in 2006, according to Ben Whitworth, the hospital assistant vice president who is overseeing the expansions and renovations.
And the larger rooms are not always just about family comfort. For example, the Pediatric Care ICU will have 28 private rooms with 315 square feet, up from 180 square feet.
“That is such a vital change,” Whitworth said. “Newer equipment is not built for those older rooms.”
The stakes are high. Children’s Hospital is the only freestanding children’s hospital in the state, Schaefer said. He and Whitworth both hope to join the ranks of highly-ranked children’s hospitals located in such cities as Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Chicago.
“We are growing and developing along with the area,” Schaefer said. “This will help generations of children here.”

Top Construction Projects 9. 2 Canal St. redevelopment
By: Thad Rueter, Contributing Writer March 5, 2018 0
It’s billed by the developer as a dream on the Mississippi—turning the iconic World Trade Center downtown into an upscale Four Seasons hotel with more than 300 guest rooms, some 80 hotel condos, a restaurant, rooftop pool, spa and a 28,000-square-foot meeting space.
Work begins on $14.4M renovation of Bohn Motor Co. building
By: CityBusiness staff reports February 19, 2018 0
The former Bohn Motor Co. building in the Broad Avenue corridor is set to undergo a historic renovation and expansion.
Top Construction Projects: 1. Street and sewer repairs FIXING OUR INFRASTRUCTURE
By: Tommy Santora, Contributing Writer February 19, 2018 0
Photo by André Courville

Top Construction Projects: 2. New Orleans Public Schools
By: Tommy Santora, Contributing Writer February 19, 2018 0
In leading the largest school disaster recovery program in U.S. history, Ronald Bordelon and his team are in the final phases of a project that can best be described as complex.
Home / Breaking News / Top Construction Projects: 3. Yuhuang Chemical Plant
Hard Rock Hotel to open next year on Canal Street
By: Andrew Valenti, Reporter February 15, 2018 0
Hard Rock International said Thursday it would bring its expanding hotel portfolio at the site of the former Woolworth’s building in the Central Business District.

Top Construction Projects: 3. Yuhuang Chemical Plant
By: Thad Rueter, Contributing Writer February 20, 2018 0
A massive, ongoing $1.85 billion construction project in St. James Parish not only represents a new era of investment in Louisiana but could make the state even more important in the global energy industry.

Top Construction 4. Armstrong Airport North Terminal
By: Thad Rueter, Contributing Writer February 23, 2018 0
One of the largest and most impactful infrastructure projects in the area’s history is poised to make its debut by the time spring arrives next year.

City Council approves Entergy power plant in New Orleans East
By: CityBusiness staff reports March 9, 2018 0
Entergy’s proposal to build a new natural gas-fired power plant in New Orleans East received the final go-ahead from the City Council on Thursday.

Uber starts offering rides to the doctor
By: The Associated Press March 2, 2018 0
Uber is driving deeper into health care by offering to take patients in every U.S. market where it operates to their next medical appointment.
The ride-hailing service said Thursday its Uber Health business will handle rides set up by doctor’s offices or other health care providers and then bill that business, not the patient, for the service. The company said rides can be set up within a few hours or days in advance. Patients won’t need access to a smartphone to use the service.
Uber began testing the service last summer. More than 100 health care providers have signed up including hospitals, clinics and physical therapy centers.
Company leaders said they are expanding because there’s a need. They cite federal government research that estimates that more than 3 million people do not obtain medical care due to transportation problems.
“There are a lot of people out there who are not going to the doctor simply because they can’t physically make it there,” said Uber Health executive Jay Holley.
He added that the service also represents a business opportunity for Uber by connecting the company with a lot of first-time users.
Uber will bill care providers who sign up for the service monthly based on their usage. Holley said some may pass the cost on to their customers, but most of the providers it has worked with so far pay for the rides out of their operating budget.
Uber rival Lyft offers a similar service called Concierge, which allows health care providers to set up rides for patients to get to appointments. The providers pay for the rides. Lyft also has patient transport partnerships with larger health care providers.
Health insurers and others have long recognized the need to help some patients, especially those with low incomes, make their medical appointments.
Molina Healthcare Inc. has offered a transportation benefit to its customers for around 25 years and says that more than 3 million people are eligible. Molina specializes in administering the state- and federally funded Medicaid programs for poor people and the disabled.
Spokeswoman Laura Murray said the insurer found that covering transportation expenses helps patients keep regular appointments and preventive care visits, which can include things like flu shots or checkups. She said that can improve patient health and cut down on unnecessary emergency room visits.

Warner Bros. sticking with Louisiana for two TV shows
By: CityBusiness staff reports February 26, 2018 0
Warner Bros. will continue filming two television series in Louisiana, including locations in the New Orleans area, the state’s economic officials said Monday.

Courtesy oprah.com/app/queen-sugar.html
“Queen Sugar,” has been renewed for a third season on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Filming locations include a farm in Vacherie and a home in Edgard. “Claws” has begun filming a second season for Turner Network Television, with shooting locations in New Orleans and Westwego.
Warner Bros. has filmed or completed post-production work on more than 15 motion picture and TV projects in the state since 2005, according to a news release from Louisiana Economic Development.
For the first season of “Queen Sugar,” Warner Bros. spent $23.6 million in production costs in Louisiana, including $9.25 million in Louisiana resident payroll, the news release said. Estimated Louisiana expenditures for the second season were $29.6 million, including $11.7 million in Louisiana resident payroll, and estimates for the third season are $33.7 million in Louisiana production costs, including $8.8 million in Louisiana resident payroll.
For “Claws,” production estimates were $5 million in Louisiana expenditures for the series pilot, including $1.75 million in Louisiana resident payroll; $24.9 million in Louisiana expenditures for the first season, including $8.6 million in Louisiana resident payroll; and $35.2 million in Louisiana expenditures for the second season, including $12 million in Louisiana resident payroll.
The state recently rolled out a new incentive program for the film industry following lawmakers’ decision to rein in the previous program.
For jobs paying $45,000 or more annually, a company is eligible for a 15 percent payroll tax credit. That credit increases to 20 percent for new jobs paying more than $66,000 annually. A similar incentive is available for music companies.
The performance-based program allows companies to qualify for up to $1 million in payroll credits per year. If they create and maintain a minimum of five new jobs, they can become eligible for the payroll credit for five years, with an option to renew for five more years.

Post-Katrina debt cleared for 4 southern colleges
By: The Associated Press February 12, 2018 0
Three historically black universities in New Orleans and one in Mississippi will see about $330 million in post-Katrina debt owed to the federal government cleared under a provision in a congressional budget deal signed by President Donald Trump.
Dillard University, Xavier University and Southern University at New Orleans and Tougaloo College, just north of Jackson, Mississippi, borrowed the money in 2007 from the federal Department of Education as they struggled to deal with crippling blows dealt by Hurricane Katrina.
The New Orleans Advocate reports little of the loans had been paid back in the past decade, as most of the universities tried to regain their footing and boost enrollment. Payments were suspended in 2013 under a provision inserted into a 2012 spending bill by former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu but the five-year loan forbearance period was set to expire in April, putting pressure on the universities. Each potentially faced millions in debt payments to the federal government.
Ochsner, Chamberlain University partner to curb nursing shortage
By: CityBusiness staff reports March 1, 2018 0
Ochsner Health System and Chamberlain University, a for-profit health care and nursing school based in Illinois, are pairing up to address a shortage of nurses in the New Orleans area.
The two entities said Thursday they will open a Chamberlain University campus on the West Campus of Ochsner Medical Center on Jefferson Highway in New Orleans. Spring semester classes begin April 30.
The new campus will be Chamberlain’s first in Louisiana and joins 20 nationwide, a news release said. It will offer an on-site bachelor of science degree in nursing that can be completed in three years of year-round study. Post-licensure degree programs such as the RN-BSN degree, master of science in nursing and doctor of nursing practice will also be offered, and nurses already working with Ochsner will receive special tuition pricing.
Jennifer Couvillon, an assistant vice president of system nursing professional development at Ochsner, has joined Chamberlain and will lead the campus as president.

Home / Breaking News / 2018 ‘Health Care Heroes’ honors industry standouts
2018 ‘Health Care Heroes’ honors industry standouts
By: Natalie Chandler, Editor March 8, 2018 1 Comment
Started in 2007, Health Care Heroes honors health care professionals in the New Orleans area in the following categories: animal care, first responders, nursing, physicians, professionals and volunteers. Honorees are selected based on industry achievement and community involvement.
This year’s honorees are:
Animal Care

Scott Abadie
Abadie Veterinary Hospital
Catherine Wilbert
Big Sky Ranch, C.A.T.N.I.P. Foundation
First Responder

John Michael Eddleman
East Jefferson, Kenner Fire Department
Bill Salmeron
New Orleans EMS
Benjamin Swig
Ready Responders
Nurses

Stephanie Bush
Ochsner Clinic
Latanja L. Divens
LSU School of Nursing
Cate Dwight
St. Tammany Parish Hospital
Cindy Esmail
Tulane Health System
Euclide D. Gaines Jr.
St Bernard Parish Hospital
Shannon Grosch
Touro Infirmary
Theresa Jacobsen
Children’s Hospital
Judy Zeringue
Children’s Hospital
Physicians

Jennifer Avegno
University Medical Center New Orleans
Nicholas DiSalvo
Ochsner Baptist
Christopher DuCoin
Tulane School of Medicine
George Ellis
Children’s Hospital
Robert Hendel
Tulane Heart and Vascular Institute
Geoffrey Kitzman
New Orleans East Hospital
Christopher Lege
Touro Infirmary
Marianne Maumuse
Ochsner Health System
Rebecca C. Metzinger
Veterans Administration Medical Center
Christopher Sanchez
Sterling Surgical Hospital
Jack Saux
Northshore Oncology Associates
Rebecca Schroll
University Medical Center New Orleans
Steffan Sernich
Children’s Hospital New Orleans
Edward L. Soll
Doctors Imaging
Professionals

Wendy Beron
Methodist Health Systems Foundation
Jeremy Brewer
Bastion Community of Resilience
Christopher Brown
Touro Infirmary
Kristin L. Callahan
LSU Medical School
Jennifer S. Couvillon
Chamberlain University College of Nursing
Denise Danna
LSU School of Nursing
Miranda Dunnam
Children’s Hospital
Connie Dupre Gaines
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
Grant Gautreaux
Touchstone
Elyria Kemp
University of New Orleans – College of Business
Kay Mabile
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
Julie Claire Morial
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Louisiana
Cheryl E. Myers
Delgado Community College
Gerald Parton
East Jefferson Medical Hospital
Else Pedersen
Bridge House, Grace House
Gretchen Penton
Touro Infirmary
Felicia Rabito
Tulane University
Patrick Torcson
St. Tammany Parish Hospital
Georgette Triche
Aetna Better Health of Louisiana
Volunteer

Dick Buckman
Touro Infirmary
Bonnie Rivet
Slidell Memorial Hospital
Claire Elizabeth Thriffiley
Children’s Hospital
Sara Wegener
Children’s Hospital

The 2018 Health Care Heroes will be honored at 5 pm Monday, May 14, at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Tickets can be purchased online. For more information contact Marilyn Miller at 504-293-9201 or mmiller@nopg.com or Web Editor/Event Coordinator Meghan Keen at 504-293-9253 or mkeen@nopg.com.
Louisiana Republicans elect first new leader in 14 years
By: The Associated Press February 26, 2018 0
Louisiana Republicans chose their first new chairman in more than a decade Saturday, selecting a New Orleans businessman who will lead the party as it readies for a heated effort aimed at unseating Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in 2019.
Louis Gurvich’s two-year term began immediately once the party’s governing body elected him over three other candidates
He takes over from Roger Villere, who decided against seeking another term after serving as chairman for 14 years, the longest tenure in the state party’s history.
Owner of a private security business, Gurvich told his fellow Republicans on the GOP State Central Committee that the theme of his chairmanship is: “Saddle the horses. We are on the march.” He labeled the party “under attack” from Democrats and said he wants to ensure the GOP is Louisiana’s dominant party.
“We plan to expand the party, expand our role and elect more Republicans up and down the state at every level,” the new chairman said.
About 900,000 of Louisiana’s nearly 3 million voters are registered Republicans, according to elections data. While the party holds a majority of the state’s congressional, statewide and legislative seats, it has struggled to meet voter registration goals sought by GOP leaders. Candidates for the chairman’s job talked of strengthening that base.
As the party gears up for the 2018 congressional elections and the 2019 statewide races including the high-profile competition for governor, several Republicans talked of the need for a greater focus on fundraising. Scott Wilfong, a Baton Rouge political consultant who unsuccessfully ran for the chairman’s job, said the party is nearly $100,000 in debt and has a shrinking donor base.
Republicans elected their leader by paper ballot. Party officials said Gurvich received 97 votes out of 177 cast. Wilfong came in second with 49. State Rep. Julie Emerson of Carencro was third with 25 votes, followed by Charlie Buckels of Lafayette, the party’s finance chairman, with six.
Kay Katz, a former state lawmaker who nominated Gurvich, described him as hardworking, calm and “fervent to Republican ideals.”
Villere, a Jefferson Parish resident who owns a florist business, had been chairman of the party since 2004, when he won the position by 21 votes. He was state GOP leader as Republicans took control of the Louisiana Legislature and captured all but one of Louisiana’s nine statewide elected positions, including both U.S. Senate seats. Republicans held one statewide elected job when Villere became chairman.
“We changed the entire direction of this state. We have a lot to celebrate,” said Rhett Davis, a longtime party operative.
But Villere also led the party during the loss of the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion in 2015, when Edwards, a state representative once considered a long-shot contender, defeated then-U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Republican who had been expected to win the job.
Gurvich said one of his main goals as state Republican Party chairman will be to reclaim that seat for the GOP. No major Republican contender has officially announced, though several have said they are considering the race. Among the possible Republican candidates are U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and Attorney General Jeff Landry.
The new chairman also said Republicans should oppose taxes in the special legislative session to help fill a $994 million state budget gap caused by expiring taxes and push to call a state constitutional convention.

 In tax negotiations, Gov. Edwards rejects sales tax renewal
By: The Associated Press February 8, 2018 0
Gov. John Bel Edwards says he’s flexible on tax ideas to close a $1 billion budget gap and stave off deep cuts to services, except for one proposal: a long-term renewal of the 1 percent sales tax whose expiration is creating most of the shortfall.
For Republican lawmakers willing to vote for taxes, Edwards appears to be taking one of the most significant revenue-raising measures off the table, even though it’s something they could possibly support.
“It’s likely that will be a proposition put in front of him,” said Rep. Thomas Carmody, a Shreveport Republican who said he’d consider renewal of part of the sales tax.
Edwards, a Democrat, said the temporary sales tax was planned as a bridge to a larger rewrite of Louisiana’s tax laws, which hasn’t happened. He said the tax hike more heavily hits the poor and a task force of Louisiana economists and tax experts considers it bad policy out of step with other states.
“It disproportionately penalizes the most vulnerable citizens. It’s regressive in nature, but from an economic perspective, it doesn’t align with where Louisiana’s economy is going,” Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said in a statement.
Rep. Tanner Magee said in his district “they don’t really notice the sales tax.”
Sales tax bill fails as Louisiana session edges to collapse
By: The Associated Press March 1, 2018 0
With only days remaining in Louisiana’s special session, House lawmakers Wednesday voted down a sales tax bill that was the favored approach of Republican leaders, continuing the disarray that has defined the session and throwing the ability to reach a budget fix into serious doubt.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said he and the Legislature were in a 24-hour period that was “critical as to whether we can succeed” in the session that must end March 7. The House vote seemed to tilt further against the likelihood of reaching a deal to close a $994 million budget hole that looms July 1.
Frustration was evident among lawmakers.
“The people of Louisiana are better than what we are delivering, because so far we have delivered nothing,” said Rep. Rob Shadoin, a Republican from Ruston.
With the failure of the sales tax bill , the House adjourned without action on any income tax bills favored by Democrats, scheduled to return Thursday. But time is running short.
The shortfall that hits in four months is caused by expiring temporary taxes. Edwards wants lawmakers to pass replacement taxes, saying without them, the TOPS free college tuition program, health care services and public safety programs would face deep cuts. Edwards said the cuts “would be horrendous.”
“I feel no sense of urgency from anyone,” said Rep. Tanner Magee, a Houma Republican.
Failing to get enough support Wednesday was a measure that would temporarily renew one-quarter of an expiring 1 percent sales tax and temporarily eliminate some sales tax breaks, to raise nearly $300 million annually. Louisiana’s current state sales tax rate is 5 percent. It drops to 4 percent on July 1. The bill by Rep. Stephen Dwight, a Lake Charles Republican, would move the rate to 4.25 percent. But 0.25 percent of the tax would again be temporary, with an expiration date in mid-2021.
“Is it perfect? Probably not. But it’s a solution,” Dwight said. “I did not want a billion dollars in cuts.”
Only 38 of 105 House members voted for the measure. It needed 70 votes to pass.
The sales tax proposal is backed by House GOP leaders, but opposed by some anti-tax Republicans and by some Democrats who say it’s a heavier hit to the poor.
“The poor people of this state are suffering, absolutely suffering,” said Rep. Gary Carter, a New Orleans Democrat. “This is an easy no vote.”
In a speech to a local Rotary Club, Edwards suggested lawmakers needed to be more willing to consider compromise.
“If you insist on what in your mind is perfect before you will vote on it, then what you are insisting on is failure,” Edwards said, comparing the stalemate to congressional inaction in Washington. “The people of Louisiana deserve better than that.”
Part of the $994 million shortfall will be offset with $302 million estimated from increased state income-tax collections caused by the federal tax changes. Edwards said that $692 million in replacement taxes should be “imminently doable.”
House lawmakers did vote for a proposal to improve Louisiana’s spending transparency website, sending it to the Senate for debate. But they rebuffed House Speaker Taylor Barras’ constitutional change to rewrite the state’s spending cap formula, an effort aimed at limiting annual spending growth.

Amid tension, Louisiana lawmakers back for another session
By: The Associated Press March 12, 2018 0
Fresh from a failed special session on finances, Louisiana lawmakers are resuming their debates on the unsettled budget mess as well as hot-button proposals on guns, gambling, sexual harassment and abortion.
The regular legislative session opens at noon, with a decade’s worth of state financial troubles again taking much of the focus. Gov. John Bel Edwards is to address the House and Senate an hour after the session’s start.
Tensions are simmering as Louisiana lawmakers face an estimated $700 million shortfall when the new budget year begins July 1, caused by the expiration of temporary taxes. Education programs and safety-net health services for the poor and disabled remain most vulnerable to cuts.
Partisan gridlock in the House blocked every tax bill proposed in the two-week special session to close the hole, and lawmakers abruptly ended the session early, unable to break the logjam. The collapse of negotiations provoked anger and frustration that is expected to spill into the regular session, as lawmakers try to determine where they’d like to shave away spending.
“It’s almost scary to think of lawmakers tackling any kind of really substantive policy matters in the current environment,” said the nonpartisan Council For A Better Louisiana. “Will they be voting on the policies or providing political payback for what did or didn’t happen in the special session? As cynical as that sounds, it’s a legitimate concern.”
Lawmakers have pre-filed more than 1,100 bills on a wide list of subjects.
Proposals would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, restructure the TOPS college tuition program, end Louisiana’s use of the death penalty, redesign criminal sentencing laws, expand the state’s private school voucher program and change teacher tenure rules.
Among his agenda items, Edwards wants to reduce the list of careers requiring state occupational licenses, add new protections against elderly abuse and prohibit schools from punishing students who owe lunch money.
“No child should have to choose between going hungry and being made to feel less than simply because they cannot afford the price of a school lunch that day,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.
Lawmakers in the majority-GOP House and Senate are to consider whether to strengthen laws against hazing, after the recent death of a Louisiana State University student. They’ll decide whether to rewrite riverboat casino laws and whether to legalize sports betting. They’ll again debate whether to raise Louisiana’s minimum wage or restore voting rights for some convicted felons.
Keying in on national debates, lawmakers will decide if they want to enact a uniform sexual harassment prevention policy for all state agencies.
Republicans and Democrats differ in their response to the Florida school shooting that killed 17 people, with Democrats seeking new gun restrictions and GOP lawmakers proposing to allow concealed handguns and armed teachers inside schools. One lawmaker wants students to be able to wear bullet-proof backpacks.
The frustration over finances has heightened calls for a constitutional convention. House Republicans are proposing new cost-sharing requirements for Medicaid patients and tightening of the state spending cap.
The regular session is expected to end ahead of its June 4 deadline.
Edwards, Senate President John Alario and House Speaker Taylor Barras are working on a plan to finish 10 to 20 days early. That would allow for a second special session to be held on taxes, in order to keep the entire budget gap from being closed with cuts.
They’ve questioned whether a budget proposing deep reductions can even win passage.
“I’m assuming that would be difficult to do, but maybe not impossible,” Barras said.

As Louisiana regular session opens, Edwards seeks ‘refocus’
By: The Associated Press March 12, 2018 0
With tensions still simmering from a failed special session, Gov. John Bel Edwards asked Louisiana’s lawmakers to move on Monday as their annual regular legislative gathering began, rather than get mired in the same standoffs that stalled action on taxes.
“I hope that in the past week you’ve had time to rest and refocus on the work that we have ahead of us,” the Democratic governor told the House and Senate. “And especially I do not want the roadblocks of the special session to hamper us from what’s most important — making life better for the people of this great state.”
Lawmakers will resume their debates on the unsettled budget mess, the culmination of a decade’s worth of state financial troubles, as well as hot-button proposals on guns, gambling and sexual harassment.
An estimated $700 million shortfall looms when the new budget year begins July 1, caused by the expiration of temporary taxes.
Partisan gridlock in the House blocked every tax bill proposed in the two-week special session called by Edwards to close the hole, and lawmakers abruptly ended the session early, unable to break the logjam. Anger and frustration is expected to spill into the regular session, as lawmakers try to determine where they’ll shave away spending. The Legislature can’t consider taxes in the regular session.
Education programs and safety net health services for the poor and disabled remain most vulnerable to cuts.
“I think that many of you will find that it’s much harder than it seems because when you cut funding, you cut services that many people in this state rely upon,” Edwards said. But he told GOP lawmakers: “To those that say we can cut our way out of this, it’s your time to step up to the plate.”
Beyond finances, lawmakers have pre-filed more than 1,100 bills on a wide list of subjects.
Proposals would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, restructure the TOPS college tuition program, end Louisiana’s use of the death penalty, expand the state’s private school voucher program, loosen riverboat casino and video poker laws and legalize sports betting. The frustration over finances has heightened calls for a constitutional convention. House Republicans are proposing cost-sharing requirements for Medicaid patients and a tighter state spending cap.
Among his agenda items, Edwards wants to reduce the list of careers requiring state occupational licenses, add new protections against elderly abuse, rewrite teacher tenure laws and prohibit schools from punishing students who owe lunch money. He’ll again push to boost Louisiana’s minimum wage and enact an equal pay law, proposals that have repeatedly failed to gain legislative support.
Lawmakers in the majority-GOP House and Senate will consider whether to strengthen laws against hazing, after the recent death of an LSU student. Keying in on national debates, lawmakers will decide if they want to enact a uniform sexual harassment prevention policy for all state agencies.
Republicans and Democrats differ in their response to the Florida school shooting that killed 17 people, with Democrats seeking new gun restrictions and GOP lawmakers proposing to allow concealed handguns and armed teachers inside schools. One lawmaker wants students to be able to wear bullet-proof backpacks.
Edwards dodged taking a position on the gun measures. He referenced a “national conversation happening” and urged lawmakers to “drown out the political noise” and bring in varied voices for the debate.
“Our priority is public safety for our children, and I know that we can have a constructive dialogue here in Louisiana over the course of this session and advance this cause,” the governor said.
The regular session is expected to end ahead of its June 4 deadline.
Edwards, Senate President John Alario and House Speaker Taylor Barras are working on a plan to finish 10 to 20 days early. That would allow for a second special session to be held on taxes, in order to keep the entire budget gap from being closed with cuts.
They’ve questioned whether a budget proposing deep reductions can even win passage in the regular session.

80-year-old New Orleans IT company merges with Metairie firm
By: CityBusiness staff reports February 15, 2018 0
Amann Business Systems, a company that began selling and serving typewriters in New Orleans in 1937, has merged with Metairie-based IT firm Restech Information Services.
Terms of the deal were not announced. Restech officials said it would allow the company to support more local businesses with their technology.
Amann, which has transitioned into a computer sales and repair shop into a full-service IT firm, started looking last year to expand its offerings, according to a news release.
The merger was completed in January.
“With Restech’s expanded capabilities, experience in cybersecurity and other expertise, Restech seemed like the perfect fit for the customers we serve,” said George Amann, whose grandparents started the company.
Restech, a 25-year-old company, provides IT strategy and services that focus on cybersecurity, data management and business continuity solutions that range from small to enterprise technology solution

Grocery, retail delivery service expanding into New Orleans area
By: CityBusiness Guest Perspective February 28, 2018 0
Instacart, a San Francisco-based retail delivery service founded in 2012, says it’s expanding into the New Orleans area in March.
The company has partnered with Rouses Markets, Costco and Petco to deliver supplies “straight to (residents’) doors in a little as one hour,” a news release said. The service launches March 8.
The company says there was a big demand to expand into the area. They’ll be serving the city as well as Metairie and areas on the North Shore and West Bank, St. Charles Parish and St. Bernard Parish.
Instacart plans to hire more than 100 shoppers to deliver in the metro area.
The platform drives customers online or to its app to select their city and store, add items to virtual cart, choose a delivery time and check out. For orders of $35 or more, the delivery fee is $5.99.

In race for Jefferson Parish Sheriff, voters will decide whose experience matters most
The election is March 24. Early voting begins Saturday (March 10).

October Government Highlights

Jefferson Chamber PAC Makes Parish Council Endorsements

METAIRIE, LA – After interviews and discussions with candidates of the Jefferson Parish Council District 4 race, the Jefferson Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) has endorsed both candidates as business-friendly and good for the future of Jefferson Parish.  EJBA does not endorse any candidate.

Candidates Dominick Impastato of the Kenner City Council and Danny Martiny of the Louisiana State Senate have both worked to support the Jefferson Chamber’s Mission of improving the business climate and quality of life in Jefferson Parish.
Election day is this Saturday, October 14th. Early Voting is of course, over.
What will be on the ballot?

October 14thOpen Primary Election
State Treasurer

Jefferson Parish Council District 4

Constitutional Amendment 1 Exemption of Property Taxes for Construction Sites
Constitutional Amendment 2 Homestead Exemption for Unmarried Surviving Spouse

Constitutional Amendment 3 Dedicate any New Taxes (Gas) Into the Construction Sub fund

Millage Renewal MITS Public Transportation Proposition (Parish wide)

Millage Renewal Public Transportation Proposition (Parish wide)

Millage New Sewerage District 1 Maintenance Proposition (Harahan – Precincts H001 – H009, 125 partial)

 

LAFRENIERE PARK PUMPKIN PATCH

Pick out your favorite pumpkin in Lafreniere Park! They will be Open Monday-Friday 2 till dusk Saturday-Sunday 11am till dusk.
Pumpkins range in price from $1-20. Costume contest will take place on October 28th. Registration begins at 2 judging at 3. Prizes awarded to winners of each age group. Free entry.

 

JEFFERSON PARISH PUERTO RICO DONATION ENDS TOMORROW

Gov. John Bel Edwards with the help of local emergency management directors, is leading a statewide donation drive to help Hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico. Thousands have been left without power or access to basic survival provisions like food, water and medication.
Collections began, September 27 and last through Wednesday, October 11:

  • Diapers
    Non-perishable formula
  • Baby wipes
    Bottles and nipples
  • Feminine care products It is important to ONLYdonate the items on the list.

Jefferson Parish Drop Off Facilities and times:

Drop Off locations:East Bank: JP Surplus Property, 920 David Dr., Metairie, LA 70003 (at rear of building on 10th St)Mon-Sat

8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

 

Louisiana International Trade Week & Jubilee

Date: October 30, 2017 – November 3, 2017

Louisiana International Trade Week is a celebration of Louisiana’s culture of trade.

During this week we champion and amplify the voice of the trade community through unique programming and recognition of our community champions who promote international trade and economic development opportunities within Louisiana. This benefits businesses in ALL parishes.
Check out the World Trade Center website for a detailed look at the schedule of daily business discussions and workshops that cover hospitality & tourism, private partnerships, navigating new business opportunities, current trends, technology and infrastructure. www.wtcno.org 

Where: New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Fees/Admission:

$25 Trade Week Panel Daily Rate(WTCNO Members)

$30 Trade Week Panel Daily Rate (Non-Members)

$250 – Jubilee Individual Ticket (Members & Non-Members)

$325 – Full Trade Week Access (Opening Reception, Panels, and Jubilee – Member and Non-Member Rate)

New Orleans was named by Forbes the #8 city where employees are the happiest and a big shout out was given to our own EJBA business, Brooke Staffing Company.

  1. New Orleans, LA

Job satisfaction rating: 3.4

Job openings: 34,600

Companies hiring: Brooke Staffing Companies, Community Health Center, C.R. England, Gilead Sciences, Jackson Therapy Partners

Median base salary: $40,000

RELATIONSHIP CENTER IN JEFFERSON PARISH PROVIDING 225 JOBS

Congratulations to Sleep Number on the grand opening of their new Relationship Center in Jefferson Parish. The company has already hired over 130 out of 225 jobs. This is a wonderful example of economic development at its best. What a big win for our community!

 

Prosper Jefferson seminar series, tackles customer service from every angle.

Wednesday, October 25, at the JEDCO Conference Center from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Our expert speakers will cover a variety of topics, including:

 

  • Living your brand
  • Best practices for engaging with your customers
  • Developing a customer service process for all employees
  • Internal customer service – ensuring your employees work well together
  • HOSTED BYJEDCO and the Jefferson Chamber

June 2017 Government Notes

EJBA Government Notes June 2017

 

  • TIME Magazine Ranks New Orleans No. 5 City for Millennial In-Migration
  • Annual Uncle Sam Jam will be held July 3rd at Lafreniere Park
  • Lafreniere Park Splash Pad is open for only $5 for 90 minutes
  • Delgado Community College has partnered with NOLA Motorsports for vehicle technology training
  • Louisiana Crawfish Ponds are threatened by a deadly virus that usually affects shrimp. It is not a concern for human consumption, but lack of crawfish production
  • East Jefferson General Hospital has named their new CEO, Gerald Parton, to replace Dr. Mark Peters after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
  • Louis Armstrong International Airport has named the new Director, Kevin Dolliole.
  • Ride-Hailing Services like Uber and Lyft will not be state regulated, but will continue under parochial control with no mainstream regulations on pricing.
  • 2017 Regular Fiscal Session:
  • The Legislature has gone into a Special Session to end June 19th to discuss Operating Budget, Capital OutlayPa and Construction Finance. No tax reform will be discussed at this time to address the $1.3 Billion deficit to expire in 2018.
  • TOPS, will be fully funded for now
  • Tax Free Shopping will continue
  • Film Industry Tax Incentives will continue with $180 million dollar cap to expire in 2025.
  • Gas Tax for Roads, Bridges, and all Infrastructure did not pass
  • Pain pill prescription reforms did pass
  • Criminal Justice reform passed with consensus from all sides

 

 

April 2017 Government Highlights

EJBA Government Notes April 2017

  • New Orleans Airport does it again: Vacation Express has expanded service to Cancun for a limited time in May through June.
  • British Airways has begun year round service to London from New Orleans.
  • Financial Website, SmartAsset reports New Orleans ranks No. 1 for growth in technology jobs in the nation, and No. 5 for women in tech.
  • Southern Living Named New Orleans “One of the South’s Best Cities” in creating the best guest experience for visitors and locals.
  • Pontiff Park in Old Metairie has now opened their own Dog Park
  • Louisiana State Legislative Session began April 10th. The biggest issue is the budget. Governor Edwards has released his recommendation to balance the budget concentrating on: a) New Commercial Activity Tax on gross annual receipts, b) Raise state’s gasoline tax for roads and infrastructure c) Improvements to sales tax uniformity headed by Julie Stokes, Representative from Jefferson Parish.

Areas of interest will be the $440,000 short fall for this fiscal year ending July 1, 2017  AND

$1.3 Billion Loss in 2018 from the additional .01cent sales tax imposed for the short term.

 

 

March 2017 Government Highlights

EJBA Government Notes March 2017

 

  • Armstrong International Airport has served a record number 11M+ Passengers
  • United Airlines has added Year-Round Non-Stop flights to San Francisco
  • Alaska/Virgin Airlines has also added Non-Stop flight from New Orleans to San Francisco beginning in September.
  • Site Selection has chosen Louisians 4th in the country for Projects per Capita
  • Updated Legislation will be introduced in the regular La. session for Equality Employment for Women
  • Jefferson Parish has a Library Property Millage RENEWAL vote for 6.5 mills on April 29th.
  • City of Kenner has a Road Millage Renewal for Street Repair and Maintenance on March 25th.

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