To view a list of upcoming hearings, visit the Louisiana State Legislature website below.
|Regents One-Pagers||Legislation Link||Author||Summary|
|Universal Transferability||SB 261||Sen. Fields||Creates seamless transfer of course credits in all higher education pathways|
|Dual Enrollment Counseling||HB 333||Rep. Brass||Assures students are made aware of early college opportunities available in secondary school|
|Nurses, Teachers Workforce Solution||Addresses workforce shortages by attracting retired teachers and nursing faculty to train/teach future workforce|
|LUMCON Procurement||HB 310||Rep. Magee||Places LUMCON’s procurement designation at the same level as other specialized institutions (i.e., Pennington Biomedical, SU Ag Center, LSU Ag Center)|
|Power-Based Violence Review Panel||SB 297||Sen. Barrow||Strengthens the panel’s membership by adding a Title IX representative from each higher education system|
|TOPS Executive Order Codification||SB 178||Sen. Fields||Codifies Hurricane Ida eligibility changes made via Executive Order, so students are not penalized for circumstances beyond their control|
|Regents One-Pagers||Legislation Link||Author||Summary|
|K12-to-HIED Data Sharing||HB 711||Jefferson/Garofalo||This bill balances student data privacy demands with the need for longitudinal data analysis to allow for data-driven decision-making with regard to the educational outcomes of Louisiana’s students.|
|Education-to-Workforce Informational Analysis||HB 459||Freiberg||Securely sharing data promotes transparency and
answers questions about program outcomes; resource
allocation; the value of different credentials; gaps
between the education and skills of individuals and
workforce needs; and equitable access to work-based
|Truth in Borrowing||HB 42||Davis||In an effort to minimize student debt, this bill will provide clear consumer information designed to inform student borrowers of the impact of debt including estimated monthly payments and the accumulated debt if only minimum payments are made. The legislation also includes a required easy-to-read letter updating student borrowers annually of their payoff status.|
|Military Friendly Campus Enhancements||SB 27||Foil||This bill allows the addition of nationally accepted metrics to eligibility measures for Governor’s Military Friendly Campuses designations. It will also allow active-duty students to benefit from the same course articulation arrangements as veteran students; provide for automatic notice of services available to military students; and require institutions to make processes for the acceptance and transfer of military education, training, experience, or prior academic credit.|
|HBCU Advisory Council Updates||HB 119||Hughes||This bill will further enrich the work of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Advisory Council by adding HBCU students and Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (LAICU) representation to the Council’s membership. It also includes a provision requiring an annual report to the Legislature.|
|Dual Enrollment Task Force Updates||HB 60||Brass||This bill provides for continuity of the Dual Enrollment Task Force, Legislatively created in 2019, and seeks to build upon the collaborative work achieved thus far by extending the scope and duration of its efforts.|
|TOPS Edits, Updates||SB 99||Fields||This bill calls for an ACT deadline extension for 2021 graduates due to COVID-19; a technical change to comply with federal regulations regarding accrediting agencies; allowing a July ACT after high school graduation to be a qualifying score for TOPS eligibility, and providing exceptions to the TOPS requirement that students begin homeschooling before 11th grade.|
|Funds Investment Asset Reallocation Bill Set||HB 142
HB142 will allow for investment in more diverse asset types for The Kevin P. Reilly, Sr. Louisiana Education Quality Trust Fund (LEQTF), Millennium Trust, Millennium Leverage Fund, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge Trust and Protection Fund, Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Fund, and Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly, to increase the likelihood of greater earnings, hence providing additional revenues. HB154 enables a Constitutional Amendment vote in November 2021 for the changes laid out in HB142.
|MJ Foster Promise Program||SB 148||Cortez|
2020 Legislative Session
Immediate COVID-19 Response Legislation
|Regents One Pagers||Legislation Link||Author||Summary|
|TOPS ADJUSTMENTS – HB786||HB 786||Rep. Garofalo||This bill makes necessary changes to TOPS scholarship qualifications, codifies COVID-19 Executive Order actions regarding TOPS and pursues “in-case-of-future-emergency” language for timely responsiveness in the future.|
|TOPS COVID IMPACT – SB481||SB 481||Sen. Fields||This bill codifies Executive Order suspensions applicable to postsecondary education students, in addition to changes in TOPS scholarship program qualifications for incoming and continuing students.|
Long Term COVID-19 Response Legislation
|Regents One Pagers||Legislation Link||Author||Summary|
|FREE THE TRANSCRIPTS – HB676||HB 676||Rep. Emerson||This bill follows a national trend designed to “free the transcript” to ensure that students are not prevented from receiving their transcript if, for example, they owe fees or parking fines from when they were in school 10 years prior. This bill does not erase existing debt but does allow access to academic transcripts needed for securing employment or returning to school.|
|EXTEND AUTONOMIES – HB 689||HB 689||Rep. Zeringue||This bill extends the current operational and fee autonomies set to sunset in June. The procurement autonomies extended in this bill provide savings that will be otherwise lost, thereby adding strain to campus budgets. The fee autonomies provide the ability to adjust fees, possibly lowering some as a result of continued online education or increasing in extreme cases, only if needed.|
|DUAL ENROLLMENT – HB734||HB 734||Rep. Brass||This bill is the first step in building the capacity needed to expand dual enrollment statewide in Louisiana. It creates the Innovation and Equity Grants to support additional teacher training and the purchase of mobile labs designed to increase dual enrollment access, especially in rural communities.|
|ANTI-HACKING – HB740||HB 740||Rep. Wright||This bill helps to safeguard student contact information from being requested through and provided based on a public records request, in an attempt to prevent the phishing and spamming that often results from the forced release of such information.|
2020 Legislative Special Sessions
2020 First Special Session Legislation
2020 Second Special Session Legislation
|Regents One Pagers
|SB32 – Operational Autonomies||Allows campuses to once again achieve savings through use of certain operational autonomies.||SB32||Chairman Fields|
|SB44/SB45 – Out-of-state Board Members||Bill package to allow up to 2 out-of-state residents to serve on management boards (bill + authorization to have Constitutional Amendment on Dec. 5, 2020 ballot).||SB44||Chairman Fields|
|HB40 – TOPS Adjustments||Codifies into law changes made to TOPS eligibility necessitated by COVID-19, Hurricane Laura and any additional declared disasters through current school year.||HB40||Chairman Garofalo
2019 Legislative Session
|Regents’ One-Pagers||Legislation Links||Author|
|SB117 – Open Education Resources Fact Sheet
|Open Education Resources – SB117||Sen. Mike Walsworth|
|SB243 – Dual Enrollment Framework Task Force||
|Sen. Blade Morrish|
|HB294 – Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey One-Pager||Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey – HB294||Rep. Barbara Carpenter|
|HB 562 – Proprietary School Law Update One-Pager||Proprietary School Law Update – HB562
|Primary: Rep. Julie Emerson
Co-Author: Sen. Blade Morrish
|HB576 – LUMCON/LOUIS Carryover One-Pager||LUMCON/LOUIS Carryover – HB576||Rep. Jerome Zeringue|
|SCR 42 – Work Based Learning
|Work-Based Learning – SCR 42||Sen. Conrad Appel
Rep. Ken Brass
2018 Legislative Session
|2018 Regular Legislative Session
Louisiana’s 2018 Regular Legislative Session concluded at 8:53 p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2018. Several bills and resolutions affecting Higher Education were passed covering topics ranging from financial aid to campus policy, student data, funding and included study resolutions.
Although several significant bills were passed by the legislature, the most important issue – the state budget shortfall – remains unsolved. Therefore, Governor Edwards called a special session to consider revenue measures to replace a portion of the temporary taxes that expire June 30th. This revenue is necessary to address the significant budget challenge facing higher education institutions, TOPS, health care services, and virtually all other areas of state government.
Currently, higher education institutions face a $96 million reduction from the previous year. TOPS faces a shortfall of $85 million and is therefore funded at 70%. The special session will convene at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, and must adjourn by midnight on Monday, June 4, 2018.
Below you will find a statement from Dr. Joseph Rallo, senior advisor to the Board of Regents, and a high-level summary of the bills that were passed by the legislature during the 2018 Regular Session.
|Statement from the Commissioner
“We are appreciative of the work of our legislature on behalf of support for higher education. We understand the competing and difficult priorities for our state. At the same time our state needs to generate new revenue to make sure the uncertainty of the past few years may be resolved. Investing in higher education is the economic engine for the state, generating revenue from our graduates going to work, paying taxes and investing in their communities. We ask for certainty in the budgeting process from our legislators. In return we will graduate more students prepared and ready to add to the economic vitality of our state. Together we can bring stability and certainty to our state which will benefit everyone.”
Dr. Joseph C. Rallo, Senior Advisor
Louisiana Board of Regents
|Legislation Impacting the Board of Regents
SB46 Sen. Appel requires the Board of Regents to review the masterplan at least once every four years and revise as appropriate.
SB199 by Sen. Bishop creates the Advisory Council on Historically Black Colleges and Universities under the auspices of the Board of Regents.
SB378 by Sen. Appel allows Board of Regents staff access to high school transcript data for the purposes of providing feedback reports to public school governing authorities, evaluating comparative postsecondary performance outcomes, and developing policies to improve student academic achievement.
Legislation Impacting Higher Education
Several anti-hazing measures were passed this session following the death of a freshman fraternity pledge last fall.
· The most significant anti-hazing bill – The Max Gruver Act (HB78 by Rep. Nancy Landry) – provides harsher criminal penalties for those convicted of hazing and penalizes a representative of an organization if the person knew and failed to report that one or more of the organization’s members were hazing.
· The Governor’s anti-hazing bill – HB793 by Rep. Steve Carter – requires the Board of Regents and each postsecondary education institution to develop policies on hazing prevention. Under HB793, each new student shall be provided educational information on the dangers of and prohibition on hazing during the new student orientation process beginning in the fall of 2019.
· SB91 by Sen. Claitor allows for exemplary damages to be awarded if there is proof the death of a person was caused by the wanton and reckless disregard for the rights and safety of the person through an act of hazing, regardless of whether the defendant was prosecuted for his acts.
· HB 270 by Rep. Foil would encourage the reporting of hazing and other incidents by exempting specified personally identifying information related to reports of violations of student codes of conduct or other policies intended for the safety of students or employees of postsecondary education institutions from the Public Records Law.
· HB446 by Rep. Falconer prohibits and creates penalties for the failure to seek medical assistance for a person who has suffered or is exposed to serious bodily injury or when reckless behavior results in serious bodily injury of any person.
· SB364 by Sen. Ward requires the postsecondary education management boards, in consultation with the Board of Regents, to develop and adopt policies on free expression. The bill expands the definition of a student organization to include a group seeking official recognition if the group is comprised of admitted students. The bill mandates that all outdoor areas of public postsecondary education institutions be deemed traditional public forums and be open to expressive activities. Each public postsecondary institution shall submit a report to the Governor and Legislature by Jan. 1, 2019, on the implementation of the provisions set forth in the bill.
· SB452 by Sen. Morrish makes numerous technical changes to the TOPS statutes, such as allowing AP Physics I and AP Physics II to count as individual classes in the TOPS Opportunity, Performance, and Honors core curriculum. The bill additionally provides that Physics may count in the TOPS-Tech core curriculum and provides that tax information may be to determine past TOPS recipient employment and residency status in Louisiana. Lastly, the bill provides authority to Board of Regents to determine whether an applicant was prevented from taking the test on or prior to April in the year of the applicant’s high school graduation due to circumstances beyond the immediate control of the student and attributable to the administration of the test, and will allow for the exemption of any penalty.
· The original version of HB602 by Rep. Miguez would have allowed individuals with a concealed carry permit to bring their firearm onto a postsecondary campus. However, the bill was heavily amended during the Senate Judiciary B Committee to remove those provisions. The final version of the bill simply clarifies the current law exception that allows individuals with a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed weapon within 1,000 feet of any school or college campus. The bill does not change the campuses’ status as a gun-free zone.
· HB895 by Rep. Norton requires each public postsecondary institution, in consultation with campus or local law enforcement agencies, to distribute information to students regarding internet and cell phone safety and online content that is a potential threat to school safety. The bill also provides for a reporting process for potential threats or incidents that occur on campus.
· HB650 by Rep. Foil creates the La. Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (START K12) Program, an education savings program similar to the START College Savings program except that it is for certain expenses associated with enrolling in grades K-12. The bill does not provide a state match or for exemption of a portion of annual deposits from state income tax as the START College Savings Program provides. However, the bill allows funds deposited prior to Jan. 1, 2018, to a START account to be disbursed in 2018 to pay tuition at an elementary or secondary school, and limits the total amount of such disbursements with respect to a beneficiary to $10,000.
Resolutions Impacting Higher Education
The legislature passed several resolutions with topics ranging from financial aid planning (SR114), reporting of students admitted by exception (SR103), installing internet filters (SR175), pilot financial aid programs (HR112 & SR113) and others (SCR12/HCR22/HR171/SR175). As the statewide coordinating and policy-making board for public postsecondary education, the Board of Regents receives a variety of study resolutions each year. The Board’s responses to legislative resolutions can be found on our website under the Data and Publications tab.
First Special Session
The special session adjourned Monday, March 5th, two days ahead of schedule, after failing to break through the gridlock regarding the State’s looming “fiscal cliff”. The 2018 Regular Legislative Session will convene tomorrow at noon and will adjourn no later than 6:00PM on June 4th. As an even-numbered year, revenue-raising measures cannot be taken up during this regular session. Therefore, the failure to solve the “fiscal cliff” during the special session leaves higher education in the same budgetary position as before the special session:
- $233M reduction in TOPS represents the entire state general fund appropriation portion of the program.
- $13M reduction in GO Grants represents approximately 1/2 of the annual allocation.
- $25.6M reduction to institutions will affect general operating funds.
This “fiscal cliff” will prompt the necessity for another special session if legislators intend to replace any of the expiring revenue streams. Governor John Bel Edwards, along with House and Senate leaders, said Monday that they would support a plan to end the regular session early and then hold another special session in May. As a result, week one committee hearing schedules are uncharacteristically full, and we can expect to participate in a fast-paced session. The House Appropriations Committee will begin Tuesday with a presentation of the Governor’s Executive Budget and discussion regarding state appropriations for several agencies. Higher education is scheduled to appear before the House Appropriations committee during the last week of March. Upcoming committee meetings and agendas can be found on the Legislature’s Website.
A decade of budget cuts means that our institutions mostly rely on tuition to operate. Any loss of enrollment directly affects their total funding for instruction, faculty and labs. Uncertainty remains about TOPS funding, which directly affects parent/student decisions on whether to attend school in Louisiana. Budget instability has also created issues from a planning perspective since the Spring faculty searches are being finalized, classes for the Fall semester are being scheduled, and students are being accepted. Consider contacting legislators and stakeholders in your area to encourage the legislature to resolve the “fiscal cliff” and support a trained and educated workforce as a major economic engine in our state.
Second Special Session
The 2nd Extraordinary Legislative Session of 2018 concluded its work at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 4, 2018. The Governor called the special session to address an anticipated revenue shortfall of nearly $650 million resulting from the expiration of a temporary one penny sales tax on June 30, 2018.
The legislature failed to pass two sales tax measures aimed at addressing a portion of the shortfall: House Bill 27 by Representative Lance Harris (renew a third of the penny) and House Bill 12 by Representative Walt Leger (renew half of the penny). However, the legislature passed an appropriations bill, House Bill 1, to fund government effective July 1, 2018. Therefore, in the absence of new revenue, higher education is slated to receive a budget reduction of approximately $96 million and TOPS funding is short by $88 million (funded at 70% of total need). Additional revenue is necessary to address the significant budget challenge faced by higher education institutions, TOPS, and other areas of state government.
The Governor indicated that he will call the legislature into a 3rd Extraordinary Session in the coming weeks.
Statement from Dr. Joseph C. Rallo
“We appreciate the diligent work of our legislators over the past weeks on behalf of the citizens of Louisiana. While their efforts on behalf of higher education institutions and their students were not successful, we are confident that they will be able to come to a more successful conclusion in the coming weeks. Higher education remains the economic engine for the state and we know that our legislators share that perspective.”
Third Special Session
The Governor called this special session to address an anticipated revenue shortfall of nearly $641M resulting from the expiration of a temporary one penny sales tax on June 30, 2018.
BASE FUNDING NEEDS
- Higher education institutions and system funding is restored to the FY 18 level of $743M.
- TOPS funding is appropriated at $294.6M, which represents full funding for the FY 19 fiscal year. (Includes $57.9M from the TOPS Fund)
- $3.2M to Southern University for accreditation needs.
- $2M to Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) for additional GO Grant funding (state funded need-based aid). Total funding is now budgeted at $28.4M. This is the first funding increase for the program in 10 years.
- $1.5M to Grambling State University for STEM program upgrades to increase four- and five-star job production.
- $200K to LOSFA to provide GO Grants for Youth Challenge Program graduates.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign both the revenue and appropriations bills into law.
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The Master Plan
To move Louisiana aggressively forward, the Board of Regents has embraced a robust new attainment goal that calls for 60% of all working-age adults (ages 25-64) in Louisiana to hold a degree or high-value credential by 2030. As we stand on the brink of a new decade, this Master Plan, born of the Board of Regents’ unique charge to guide postsecondary education across the state, will set the foundation to increase opportunity. Our Talent Imperative is to Educate, Innovate, and Collaborate.