Gov. Jeff Landry’s much-anticipated plan to rewrite Louisiana’s constitution was filed on Wednesday. Rep. Beau Beaullieu’s House Bill 800 would require lawmakers to hold a constitutional convention during the busy regular session and keep them in Baton Rouge for more than a month after its conclusion. The Louisiana Illuminator’s Julie O’Donoghue has the details:

(T)he plan calls for 171 delegates, made up of 144 state lawmakers and 27 other people Landry would select, to run the constitution-writing process. The convention would take place in the House of Representatives’ chamber, and possibly other spaces in the city of Baton Rouge if they run out of space at the state Capitol. Private donors would be allowed to pay for the convention’s activities, though they would be required to disclose their names and the amount of their donations. Public funding could also be used, according to the bill.

Landry’s plan, which requires a two-thirds vote from both chambers of the Legislature, is already receiving pushback from lawmakers:

Senate President Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, said he wasn’t willing to speed up the Senate’s work to adjourn the regular session early to go into a constitutional convention. “I’m not interested in rushing through the process” of the regular legislative session, Henry said in an interview Wednesday. “[All the lawmakers] need to understand what’s in the budget, and we are going to need until June 3 to do that.”  Henry also said he was “1,000% sure” senators would not be willing to stay in Baton Rouge beyond June 3 for a constitutional convention, let alone until the middle of July. 

Landry did not apprise voters of his plan to overhaul the state’s foundational document while running for office last fall. The process for Louisiana’s last constitutional convention, which voters approved in 1974, was a multi-year long process

Voting along party lines, the Louisiana House advanced legislation on Wednesday that would let insurance companies drop longtime customers. Rep. Gabe Firment’s House Bill 611 would repeal the state’s “three year rule,” which bars property insurers from dropping customers who’ve paid their premiums on time for at least three years. The change is a top priority for new Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple, who vowed an industry-friendly “free market” approach to solving the state’s insurance crisis. The Times-Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s Tyler Bridges reports:

Rep. Matthew Willard, D-New Orleans, spoke against the bill, saying he feared that it would lead insurance companies to drop their riskiest 5% of policyholders, particularly along the coast next year. “We know that homeowners’ insurance is unaffordable across the board,” Willard said. “The three-year rule is the best consumer protection that consumers have.” … But Rep. Edmond Jordan, D-Brusly, questioned whether significant numbers of insurance companies will want to write more policies in Louisiana. “None of them have said if you drop the three-year rule, they will definitively come here,” he said.

Legislation that bars unions from collecting dues from payroll deductions advanced out of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on Wednesday. Sen. Alan Seabaugh’s Senate Bill 331 is part of a slew of proposals that conservative lawmakers have filed for the regular session that target public sector unions. The Times-Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s James Finn reports on the negative effects, and possibly illegal nature, of the legislation:

(U)nion leaders said the bill would harm their organizations’ financial health by eliminating one of the main tools at their disposal to collect fees that members pay in exchange for receiving union benefits. “It is the most efficient way for public employees to pay their union dues,” Louis Reine, head of the Louisiana AFL-CIO, told the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. … Larry Carter, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, one of the state’s two largest teacher unions, argued the bill could be unconstitutional, saying it unfairly singles out unions for exclusion from the payroll deduction process.

Formerly incarcerated people would be able to access financial support while they train for jobs in high-demand occupations under legislation that advanced on Wednesday. Rep. Paula Davis’ House Bill 728 would expand the M.J. Foster Promise Program to include people convicted of violent crimes, and would lower the qualifying age from 21 to 17. The Louisiana Illuminator’s Piper Hutchinson reports on why there’s broad agreement from a variety of organizations on the need for this legislation: 

“The small amount we invest in a person’s education generates positive returns as opposed to the significant costs our communities bear when someone with no skills and no opportunities cycles through our justice system,” Andrew Hundley, executive director of the Louisiana Parole Project said in a statement to the Illuminator. Rep. Barbara Freiberg, R-Baton Rouge, noted that expanding access to educational opportunities to formerly incarcerated people is especially important after last month’s special session on crime, which expanded criminal penalties and lowered the age for consideration as an adult in the criminal justice system.

12.1% – Real wage growth of low-wage workers between 2019 and 2023. The wage growth for low- and middle-wage workers has outpaced higher wage groups over the last four years and surpassed its own growth from prior business cycles. (Souce: Economic Policy Institute)