Legislative Highlights

Legislative Highlights




SB 400 of 2018 RS - Act 612 -  Co-chaired the Dedicated Funds Review Sub-Committee, created by Act 355 of 2017 RS, to regularly review the $1B in statutorily dedicated funds.  SB 400 of 2018 RS resulted in  the elimination of $120M in statutorily dedicated funds, requiring those entities to compete annually for state general funding instead.  Other funds will be reviewed every year.

SB 443 of 2016 RS - Act 586 – Authored a Medicaid transparency bill which established the Medicaid Subcommittee and requires them to provide quarterly forecast and cost data to assist the Legislature in developing and managing the budget.  With 40 cents of every state dollar being spent on healthcare, managing the state's healthcare expenses is critical.

SB 182 of 2018 RS - Act 651 – Requires the Medicaid subcommittee to review their quarterly forecasts with the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. 

SB 187 of 2017 RS - Act 387 – Establishes a pilot program to utilize evidenced-based budgeting methodologies to invest in cost-effective programs with known positive outcomes in adult mental health.  A Feb 2018 audit found that we doubled our mental health funding from 2012 to 2016, yet only 40% of the $445M spent on mental health services in 2016 were on evidenced-based programs known to have positive results.  We need to adopt the best-practices of dozens of other states who have partnered with the Pew Foundation to instill a results-oriented rigor to investment decisions..

HB 342 of 2018 RS - Act 87 - Amended a bill by Rep Abramson to add a requirement  that the Department of Revenue perform a comprehensive return on investment (ROI) analysis for all tax incentive programs for which the state's revenue loss was $1M or more in the previous fiscal year and to rank order the incentive programs, based on ROI.  With over $7B in tax incentive programs given to businesses, we need to know which ones are the most effective in creating jobs and growing the state's economy.

SR 175 of 2017 RS - Requests the Senate Fiscal Affairs staff to report annually on the new statutory dedications created by the legislature that year.

SR 174 of 2017 RS - Requests the Senate Fiscal Affairs staff to report annually on the state funding distributed to local government entities.




SB 225 of 2017 RS - Act 392 – Creates the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (LaSTEM) Advisory Council to oversee the creation, delivery, and promotion of STEM education programs and to align them with the future workforce needs of STEM industries to provide jobs for our citizens in high-demand, high-paying careers.  In addition, LaSTEM will focus on encouraging and training more women to enter STEM careers, shrinking the gender pay gap.  Successes to date include the annual Festival de Robotique, a FIRST robotics competition for 300 students from around the state on the grounds of the Louisiana State Capitol.  Other accomplishments include a new STEM diploma endorsement for high school students who have taken and passed the required number of approved STEM classes and free tuition for K-12 teachers interested in additional college training in STEM. The First Annual Stem Summit was held ept 2018 to facilitate the development of regional master plans between industry partners and educational institutions that will prepare our citizens for high-paying, high-demand, Louisiana jobs.   

SB 446 of 2016 RS - Act 619 – Required the Board of Regents to conduct a comprehensive review of our present post secondary education system and to recommend the optimal deliver of post secondary education in the future that will meet the needs of the state's citizens and industries, while maximizing the state's resources.  This bill was the foundation for additional legislation in the areas of workforce and career readiness, college and career preparation, academic programs, and faculty.  The lack of a governance review led to SB43 of 2018 RS. 

SB 43 of 2018 RS - Co-authored a bill with Sen Appel to eliminate all of the higher education management boards except one.




SB 188 of 2017 RS  - Would promote community engagement and work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid Expansion recipients, many of whom dropped their private insurance to qualify for Medicaid.  While Medicaid funding for low-income, able-bodied citizens is unlimited, thousands of disabled and elderly citizens have died while on waiting lists for Medicaid services.  Medicaid was never intended to be a lifelong healthcare program for able-bodied adults, but rather a safety net for those who really need it.

SR 163 of 2017 RS - Requests the Louisiana Department of Health to provide data on able-bodied Medicaid recipients and to report on the Medicaid community engagement and work requirement programs in other states.

SB 347 of 2018 RS - Act 665 - Aligned funding for waiver programs for developmentally disabled citizens with new tiered waiver program.  Efforts in 2018 resulted in an additional $19M in funding for disabled community, citizens with highest needs receiving new waivers, and pay increases for support workers performing complex tasks.

SB 466 of 2016 RS - Act 537 - Requires approval by the legislature prior to the sale of a publicly-owned hospital.




SB 127 of 2018 RS - Act 233 - Prohibits credit reporting agencies from charging a fee to place, reinstate, temporarily lift, or revoke a security freeze on one's credit report. 

SB 314 of 2018 RS - Would allow small businesses manufacturing craft beer or wine to self-distribute a limited volume of their products directly to retailers, as is done in 40 other states.

SB 208 of 2018 RS - Act 484 - Protects the community and past victims by preventing a person convicted of a crime punishable by 25 years or more that is both a crime of violence and a sexual offense from getting out on bail while awaiting sentencing.

HB 524 of 2018 RS - Act 270 - Co-authored legislation with Rep Carpenter (similar to my SB 404) and led the legislative effort to establish sexual harassment prevention policies and training for public servants.  My request for a Legislative Auditor investigation into past sexual harassment allegations, settlements, and hiring practices has shined a bright light on the need to ensure a safe workplace for all employees.

SCR 20 - 2017 RS - Encourages communities to support their local artists by designating the first week of December as Shop Local Artists Week in Louisiana.




SB 382 of 2018 RS - Would eliminate the seatbelt gag rule, which prevents juries from being told that individuals in a car accident were not wearing their seatbelts, in accordance with state law.  The Commissioner of Insurance testified that the passage of this bill would have lowered car insurance rates, which are the second highest in the nation.




SR 219 of 2017 RS - Creates the Lower Pearl River Basin (LPRB) Task Force to study the conditions, needs, issues, and funding relative to flood protection and preservation of the LPRB.  Major accomplishments to date include funding to eliminate the log jam near Bogalusa and coordinated opposition to the One Lake project upstream in Jackson, MS. 

SR 86 of 2018 RS - Requests the oil and gas industry in Louisiana to provide access to 3D seismic data  interpretations to support work on land subsidence modeling that will allow for more informed decisions on sustainable coastal restoration programs, flood protection structures, and state highways/bridges.  This work will result in the creation of a Fault Atlas and will have a major impact on the Coastal Master Plan, the Highway Priority Program and other infrastructure programs.

SB 132 of 2017 RS - Act 189 - Co-authored with Sen White a bill to provide an exception for portions of the Comite River, Pearl River, Tchefuncte River, Bogue Falaya River, Abita River, Amite River, and Bayou Manchac  from provisions of the natural and scenic rivers program.

SR 172 of 2017 RS - Co-authored with Sen White a resolution to request that the Department of Transportation and Development work with other state agencies to develop floodplain management plans for each watershed in Louisiana that will allow us to study construction or maintenance impacts, including channelization, dredging, and clearing and snagging activities, upon river basins in the state.  Major accomplishments to date include the receipt of $1.3B in Federal funding, the completion of a hydrology model for the Amite, a comprehensive plan to model the rest of the rivers, and a plan to begin identifying construction or maintenance projects on our many rivers to reduce flooding.




SB 549 of 2018 RS - Act 675 - Allows for surplus military vehicles originally sold as off-road vehicles to be licensed for regular use by civilians and veterans alike.

SB 445 of 2018 RS - Act 572 - Provides for a review of the usefulness of each executive branch report on its 5th year anniversary to determine whether staff time can be reduced by eliminating a report that the recipients no longer read or need.

SB 133 of 2018 RS - Act 357 - Clarifies the definition of public records relative to engineering drawings submitted by the Louisiana State Fire Marshal to the Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board or the State Board of Architectural Examiners for review.

SB 283 of 2016 RS - Act 616 - Provides for application by certain military personnel to be certified as a licensed professional engineer in Louisiana.

SB 15 of 2017 RS - Improved legislation governing the St. Tammany Levee, Drainage and Conservation District.

SB 32 of 2018 RS - Improved legislation governing the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Service District No. 2.

Senator Sharon Hewitt