Message from the Lobbyist

This article presented by Joe Mapes the LLSSA Lobbyist

Recently, there’s been speculation about whether there will be another special session of the Louisiana legislature in 2024. It brings to mind the question of how many licks it takes to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop, with the answer being three.

Interestingly, this legislative body has already gone through three sessions in 2024, and we are only halfway through the year. The legislators, who want to spend time with their families, are reluctant to return to Baton Rouge for another session. A second reason to not convene again is that the leges are exhausted from these three sessions, and the most obvious reason is, “for what?”

Tort reform didn’t fit into the agenda of the first two special sessions of 2024, but it found its place in the call for the regular legislative session, which lasted 85 days. During this session, legislators diligently worked to pass various pieces of tort reform and insurance reform legislation. There were passionate discussions in the State Capitol halls and committee rooms on this topic. With dedicated effort and collaboration, the legislature successfully passed several bills related to tort reform and insurance reform.

At this point, lyrics from David Essex’s 1973 song come to mind: “And where do we go from here? Which is the way that’s clear?” The answer to the question is the name of the song: “Rock On.” Louisiana has no choice but to keep moving forward and hope that past tort reform measures, such as lower jury thresholds, will eventually lead to lower insurance rates in the state, or do we?

But how, you ask, can Louisiana citizens continue to afford such high insurance rates? Many citizens have stopped paying altogether, choosing to take the risk of going without insurance. Having a fourth session on insurance matters would be like being stuck in a never-ending battle with no clear winner, known as a Pyrrhic victory. It is clear that we are fighting on the wrong battlefield.

Instead, we should engage in advertising and social media campaigns to educate citizens about why their insurance rates are high and what they can do about it. The answer is always the same: if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. Currently, Louisiana citizens are not at all the tables in Baton Rouge, and there are several. To succeed in the media battle would require a comprehensive two-year campaign supported by the entire Louisiana business community. Their involvement would primarily be providing financial support for the political campaign. This campaign would utilize various media platforms, political consultants, pollsters, and other resources to fight for the minds of Louisiana citizens when it comes to lower insurance rates.

At present, Citizens are only receiving information from one side in the media, leaving them unaware of the full picture. Louisiana’s business community must come together and finish the painting. Business is behind in the media battle regarding insurance, but it’s time to catch up. To win the tort reform battle, we need to think like a tiger and play by the same rules.

Once citizens are educated and informed, they will actively participate in the political process and processes that affect their insurance rates. They will exert pressure where it’s needed regarding insurance and tort reform and get a chance to blow off a little steam that’s been building for years now, too.

Joe Mapes  |  Mapes & Mapes, Inc.  |  225-268-8572 (cell)

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