LAJ summary of selected bills and effective dates
2020 Regular and First Extraordinary Sessions of the Louisiana Legislature
LAJ staff compiled this summary of selected bills enacted during the 2020 Regular and First Extraordinary sessions of the Louisiana Legislature. Resources used include legislative instruments found on the website of the Louisiana Legislature and digests and summaries prepared by legislative staff.
For access to all legislative instruments, go to www.legis.la.gov. Texts of acts and legislative history, including archived Internet broadcasts of committee and floor action, are also available on that website.
Art. 3, Sect. 19 of the Louisiana Constitution specifies that the effective date of an act of the regular session shall be August 1 of the calendar year in which the session was held, unless the instrument itself specifies a different effective date.
You should see the act for any specific language concerning proposed prospective or retroactive application. If no such language exists, courts will perform retroactivity analysis under Civil Code Art. 6 and R.S. 1:2.
Please forward corrections, comments, questions, or other concerns to Tom Wright at LAJ by phone at 225-242-4837 or by email at email@example.com.
The governor announced the first “presumptive-positive” case of COVID-19 in his State of the State address to the legislature on March 9, the first day of the Regular Session. Two days later, the governor issued Proclamation No. 25 JBE 2020, declaring a public health emergency in Louisiana.
The legislature announced a temporary adjournment of the Regular Session from March 16 through March 31. After briefly meeting on March 31 to introduce bills before the constitutionally mandated deadline, each chamber adjourned until further notice.
The legislature reconvened on May 4 and adjourned June 1. The First Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature convened June 1 and adjourned June 30. Both sessions were abbreviated, thus compressing into days what normally takes two to three months to consider.
This year LAJ tracked 380 bills through the processes.
- Civil Justice Reform Act of 2020
- Legal proceedings/civil and criminal deadlines
- Motor vehicle/traffic/transportation
- Professional liability/malpractice/licensure
- Practice and procedure
- Louisiana State Law Institute
- COVID-19 immunity
- Constitutional amendments
Civil Justice Reform Act of 2020
Jury Trials: $10,000 threshold, $5,000 cash jury deposit required for tort cases valued between $10,000 and $50,000. The cash bond must be posted within 60 days of requesting a jury trial. This is in addition to the bond set by the clerk or court. The direct action statute was not amended. Changes were made to the Code of Evidence: Insurer identity and existence of insurance coverage generally not admissible unless the coverage is a disputed issue or it falls within one of the exceptions, such as to prove bias; jury may only see billed medical expenses; and, in all cases brought against an insurer pursuant to direct action R.S. 22:1269 or pursuant to good faith duty R.S.22:1973, at the opening and closing of the trial, the court shall read instructions to the jury that there is insurance coverage for the damages claimed by the plaintiff. Recoverable past medical expenses (collateral source): Generally, medical expenses paid plus plaintiff’s cost-sharing plus 40 percent of the difference between amounts billed and paid if private health insurance or Medicare is used. Does not apply in cases of health-care liens or if other funding is used. Does not apply in claims of medical malpractice or in claims brought against local and state governments. Comparative fault: Failure to wear a safety belt may be considered. Prospective application only and shall not apply to a cause of action arising or action pending prior to Jan. 1, 2021. (Amends C.C.P. arts. 1732, 1733(A), and 4873(1) and C.E. art. 411; adds R.S. 9:2800.27; repeals R.S. 32:295.1(E)) HB 57 (ES) Schexnayder. Act 37. Effective Jan. 1, 2021; (Repeals R.S. 32:295.1(E)) SB 9 (ES) Hewitt. Act 36. Effective Jan. 1, 2021
Legal proceedings/civil and criminal deadlines
Suspends prescriptive and peremptive periods and other legal deadlines from March 17, 2020, through July 5, 2020, while maintaining the right to enforce any suspended claim expiring on July 6, 2020; party or attorney adversely affected by COVID-19 may seek an extension by contradictory motion or declaratory judgment, but in no case shall the deadline be extended beyond Sept. 1, 2020; otherwise, ratifies suspensions contained in the governor’s proclamations. Retroactive. (Adds R.S. 9:5828-5830) HB 805 Pressly. Act 162. Effective June 9, 2020
Allows the Louisiana Supreme Court to suspend the running of prescriptive, peremptive, and abandonment periods for a period up to 90 days if a state of emergency or disaster is declared by the governor. Further, allows the court to order the suspension of certain criminal legal deadlines for up to 30 days at a time. (Adds C.C. art. 3472.1 and C.C.P. art. 562) HB 5 (ES) Marino. Act 3. Effective June 25, 2020; (Adds C.Cr.P. art. 958) HB 759 Marino. Act 285. Effective June 11, 2020
Provides for interruption and extension of bail enforcement time periods. (Amends R.S. 22:1573(F); adds C.Cr.P art. 311(6) and (7), 331(J) and (K), and R.S. 22:1587) HB 421 Brown. Act 267. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Requires any advertisement for legal services that references a settlement amount or jury award to disclose all attorney fees associated with the case and assigns rulemaking to the Supreme Court. (Adds R.S. 37:223) SB 115 Connick. Act 231. Effective Jan. 1, 2021
Requests the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana State Bar Association to implement a lawyer-advertisement-review-recognition program to identify all ads that have been reviewed by LSBA for compliance with the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct and implement a public database of the review-recognition program. SCR 57 Hewitt.
Prohibits venue stipulations or conditions in insurance contracts. (Amends R.S. 22:868(A); adds R.S. 22:868(D)) SB 156 Luneau. Act 307. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Military deployment in excess of six months cannot be used in the risk classification of an auto or homeowner’s policy, but it may be considered for premium discounts. (Adds R.S. 22:1482(D) and 1482.1(C)) SB 16 Luneau. Act 49. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Auto insurance. Requires premium discounts on motor vehicle insurance when an insured consents to have data provided to third parties. (Amends R.S. 22:1457(D)-(G); adds R.S. 22:1457(H)) HB 808 Magee. Act 95. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Requires the commissioner of insurance, after consulting with insurers authorized to issue motor vehicle insurance, to approve a reasonable plan (Louisiana Automobile Insurance Plan) that is to function exclusively as a residual market mechanism for those good-faith applicants unable to procure coverage through ordinary means in order to insure private passenger motor vehicles, commercial motor vehicles (including garage liability insurance), and other motor vehicles. (Amends R.S. 22:1475; repeals R.S. 32:1043) SB 71 Smith. Act 53. Effective Jan. 1, 2021
Requires coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and delays payment of any patient cost-share until 2023. (Adds R.S. 22:1057) SB 426 Barrow. Act 230. Effective June 11, 2020
Requests the commissioner of insurance to report to the legislature how the savings attributable to tort reform legislation will be measured and tracked. Requests the first report to be submitted by Oct. 1, 2020, and every six months thereafter, whether and to what extent any reductions to automobile insurance rates for the residents of Louisiana have been realized and the methods employed to determine and track those savings. SR 26 (ES) Jackson.
Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Act. Peer-to-peer car sharing is the authorized use of a vehicle by someone other than the vehicle’s owner for financial considerations through a business platform. Requires a peer-to-peer car sharing program to assume liability of a shared vehicle owner during the car sharing period for bodily injury or property damage to others in an amount not less than the state minimum policy limits with exceptions. Does apply to losses sustained by a third party. Requires a peer-to-peer car sharing program to also verify that the policy either covers the use of the vehicle as a shared vehicle by a shared vehicle driver in a peer-to-peer car sharing program or does not exclude such use. (Adds R.S. 22:1300.1-1300.13) HB 532 Jordan. Act 277. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Electric-assisted bicycles. Modifies the definition of a “bicycle” to include electric-assisted bicycles and classifies them into three categories based on the speed of the bicycle and motor assistance. Allows electric-assisted bicycles to be used on roadways in the same manner as a bicycle. Provides for the operation, rights, requirements, and restrictions applicable to electric-assisted bicycles and allows each city and parish the discretion to overrule the guidelines. (Amends R.S. 32:1(4), (38), (40), (41), 203(C), 401(17), (19) and (20), 851(5), 1252(1) and (30); adds R.S. 32:1(95) and 204) HB 514 Willard. Act 152. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Allows third-party delivery services to deliver beer and wine via contract employees. (Amends R.S. 26:271.2(2)(b), 271.4, and 308(A), (B), (C)(1), (2), (8) and (11)(b), (D), (E), and (F)(1); adds R.S. 26:241(26)) SB 178 Allain. Act 115. Effective June 9, 2020
Prohibits third-party delivery services from advertising and promoting a relationship with a merchant without an agreement. (Adds R.S. 51:3171 and 3172) HB 458 Miller. Act 192. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Adds organ procurement organizations’ acts or omissions to private and state medical malpractice acts. (Amends R.S. 40:1231.1(A)(15) and 1237.1(A)(5); adds 1231.1(M) and 1237.1(D)(3)). HB 615 Seabaugh. Act 201. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Adds physician assistant as an individual who may provide direction to a licensed practical nurse to perform their necessary duties. (Amends R.S. 37:961(4)). HB 702 Bagley. Act 295. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Emergency medical services. Provides relative to emergency medical services in life-threatening situations protocols for rendering services and for the role of EMS medical directors. (Amends R.S. 40:1133.14(B) and (2), (C), and (E), 1135.3(C)(1)(c), and 1135.8(C)(4)(f)) HB 164 Davis. Act 67. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Dental. Recreates a retired volunteer dental hygienist license for dental hygienists who want to work with dental patients on a voluntary basis. (Adds R.S. 37:764.1 and 795(B)(1)(o)) HB 363 Duplessis. Act 188. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Consent to Medical Examinations Act. Requires written consent before a pelvic or rectal exam on unconscious or anesthetized patients. Any violation may constitute grounds for adverse licensure action. (Adds R.S. 40:1160.1-1160.4) HB 435 Jordan. Act 269. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Practice and procedure
Signing of civil pleadings. Requires a physical address for service of process. If mail is not received at the physical address for service, a designated mailing address must also be provided. (Amends C.C.P. art. 863(A)) HB 98 Magee. Act 13. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Small successions. Authorizes testate successions to be administered without judicial approval when the person died testate leaving no immovable property and probate of the testament of the deceased would have the same effect as if the deceased had died intestate. (Amends C.C.P. arts. 3421, 3431(A), and 3432.1(A)(8)) HB 142 Carter. Act 173. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Successions. Requires the clerk of court, rather than the court, to issue letters of independent administration or executorship. (Amends C.C.P. art. 3396.1) HB 499 Seabaugh. Act 107. Effective June 9, 2020
Partitions. Authorizes court-ordered partitions by private sale. (Amends C.C. art. 811 and C.C.P. arts. 4607, 4621, 4622, 4624, 4625, 4626, 4627, 4629, and 4643; adds C.C.P. art. 4626.1) HB 594 Seabaugh. Act 281. Effective June 11, 2020
Corporations. Adds requirement that a domestic or foreign corporation or other eligible entity must also be authorized by its organizational documents to act as the agent of the corporation for service of process to be a registered agent. Allows articles of incorporation to include a provision permitting or making obligatory indemnification of a director or officer under certain circumstances. (Amends R.S. 12:1-501, R.S. 12:262.1(C) and 406(A); adds R.S. 12:1-501(2)(b)(iii)) SB 54 Foil. Act 50. Effective June 5, 2020
Servitudes. Provides relative to servitudes of drainage. (Adds R.S. 9:1256 and 1257) SB 110 Allain. Act 59. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Electronic notarization. Ratifies the governor’s authorization of remote electronic notarial transactions executed during the public health emergency from March 11, 2020, until April 30, 2020. Does not apply to any testament; trust instrument; donation inter vivos; matrimonial agreement; act modifying, waiving, or extinguishing an obligation of final spousal support; or any amendments to such acts or authentic acts. Applies retroactively as well as prospectively. (Adds R.S. 35:701 and 702) HB 122 Miller. Act 131. Effective June 9, 2020
Louisiana State Law Institute
Remote Online Notarization Act. Establishes a framework for the electronic execution of instruments when parties are not in the physical presence of the notary, with standards to be promulgated by the secretary of state and adopted prior to Feb. 1, 2022. Provides for limitations, qualifications, procedures, duties, and rulemaking relative to the performance of remote online notarization. See act regarding contingent effective dates. (Amends C.C. art. 3344(A) and R.S. 35:6; adds R.S. 9:2760 and R.S. 35:621-630) HB 274 Garofalo. Act 254. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Trusts. Provides relative to the allocation of receipts and expense to income and principal in trusts. (Amends R.S. 9:2141-2144, 2145(1), 2146, 2147-2154, and 2156(A), (C), and (E); adds R.S. 9:2151.1, 2151.2, 2156.1, 2156.2, and 2164; repeals R.S. 9:2155 and 2157) HB 123 Miller. Act 17. Effective Jan. 1, 2021
Trusts. Provides for continuous revisions to the Trust Code with regard to who may be a trustee and to provide for the release of a trustee from liability by the beneficiary. (Amends R.S. 9:1783(A)(3) and 2207) HB 124 Miller. Act 18. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Succession. Provides for miscellaneous revisions to the law of successions. (Amends C.C. arts. 897, 1495, and 1505(A) and (B) and C.C.P. arts. 2952 and 3396.18(A); adds C.C. art. 1495.1; repeals R.S. 9:2401) HB 125 Miller. Act 19. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Bond for deed. Repeals unconstitutional laws relative to bond-for-deed contracts for purposes of homestead exemptions. Repeals R.S. 9:2948 in light of Const. Art. VII, § 20(A)(7) and the court’s ruling in Wooden v. Louisiana Tax Commission, 650 So. 2d 1157 (La. 1995). (Amends C.C. art. 477; repeals R.S. 9:2948) HB 126 Miller. Act 20. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Mineral lease. Clarifies the nature of production payments by stating explicitly that the interest at issue is one created out of a mineral lessee’s interest. Eliminates redundancy in terminology. (Amends R.S. 31:212.21) HB 227 Coussan. Act 76. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Tutorship. Provides relative to continuing tutorship for person with intellectual disability. Allows the court to name parents as co-tutors when they petition jointly or when it is in the best interest of the child. Further, provides for the naming of a tutor when one parent is dead, when the parents are divorced or judicially separated, and when the parents were never married to each other. (Amends C.C. arts. 355 and 356) SB 153 Foil. Act 218. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Increases the daily compensation for jurors in civil cases from $25 per day to $50 per day. Changes the mileage rate from 16 cents to an amount equal to the rate in effect for state officials (currently 58 cents per mile). (Amends R.S. 13:3049(B)(2)(a)) SB 270 Fields. Act 237. Effective Jan. 1, 2021.
Court closures. Permits official public notice to be provided through an electronic bulletin board located on a centralized online portal for clerks of court. Prohibits the clerk from refusing to accept an electronic filing that complies with the procedures for electronic filing. Requires that if the filing party fails to comply with requirements the electronic filing, the filing has no force or effect. Authorizes district courts to provide by court rule for other matters related to filings by electronic transmission. (Amends R.S. 1:55(E)(2) and R.S. 13:754(E)(1), (5), (8), and (10); adds R.S. 13:754(E)(13)) HB 404 Farnum. Act 264. Effective Aug. 1, 2020
Eliminates the age limit for all justices of the peace and constables. (Amends R.S. 13:2582(A) and 2583(A)) HB 144 Green. Act 23. Effective June 4, 2020
2nd JDC. Eliminates the requirement that the judges of the 2nd Judicial District Court reside in the parish where the division is located. (Amends R.S. 13:621.2; repeals Act 669 of the 1999 R.S.) HB 53 Jefferson. Act 166. Effective June 11, 2020
14th JDC judicial elections. Changes how the magistrate judge is elected in the 14th Judicial District. Requires three judges to be elected from each election section: Divisions F, H, and J to be elected from election section one; Divisions C, D, and G to be elected from election section two; and Divisions A, B, and E to be elected from election section three. Creates a new judgeship (Division J) effective Jan. 1, 2021, to be elected at the congressional election in 2020 and limits the subject matter jurisdiction of Division J to family and juvenile matters. Eliminates the Division I judgeship effective midnight, Dec. 31, 2020. Retains the jurisdiction of Divisions A and C over family and juvenile matters. (Amends R.S. 13:477(14), 589(A), and 621.14) HB 62 Carter. Act 126. Effective June 9, 2020
Reapportionment Third Circuit Court of Appeal. Provides for the composition of the election sections of the Second District of the Third Circuit Court of Appeal. (Amends R.S. 13:312(3)(b)(ii)) HB 93 Carter. Act 338. Effective June 13, 2020
Persons, businesses, public entities, event planners, and personal protective equipment providers. The following individuals and groups are not liable for damages related to COVID-19 exposure as long as the relevant institutional and/or public-health guidelines are followed, unless damages were caused by gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct: natural and juridical persons, businesses and public entities in performance of business operations, event organizers, PPE makers and providers. Further, provides that employees not covered by workers’ compensation shall have no remedy in tort against their employer for exposure to COVID-19 unless caused by an intentional act. Retroactive to March 11, 2020. (Adds R.S. 9:2800.25 and R.S. 29:773) HB 826 Pressly. Act 336. Effective June 13, 2020
Restaurants. Immunity for owner, operator, employee, contractor, or agent of a restaurant that is in substantial compliance with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; no civil liability for injury or death due to COVID-19 infection transmitted through the preparation and serving of food and beverage products by the restaurant during the COVID-19 public-health emergency unless the injury or death was caused by gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct. Retroactive to March 11, 2020 (Adds R.S. 29:773) SB 508 McMath. Act 305. Effective June 12, 2020
Schools. Immunity for public, nonpublic, and charter schools from civil liability from damages resulting from exposure to COVID-19 or acts undertaken in an effort to respond to the COVID-19-public-health emergency. Prohibits causes of action related to the contraction of COVID-19 at a public, nonpublic, or charter school facility, bus, or event and at a public or nonpublic postsecondary education facility or event based on the actions or failure to act of school agents. Provides that schools and postsecondary institutions shall not be immune from civil liability for damages resulting from actions or inactions that (1) are in violation of a policy adopted by the school and (2) are determined to be grossly negligent or wanton or reckless misconduct. Retroactive to March 11, 2020. (Adds R.S. 17:439.1 and 3391) HB 59 (ES) Mincey. Act 9. Effective March 11, 2020
During COVID-19 public health emergency, no person or entity, including any local or state governmental entity or employee, shall be liable for damages or personal injury resulting from or related to an actual or alleged exposure to COVID-19 in the course of or through such person or entity’s business services or while engaged in the performance of such person or entity’s duties provided that the person or entity was relying on and generally followed applicable government standards and guidance related to COVID-19 exposure or unless such damage was caused by gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. Retroactive to March 11, 2020 (Amends R.S. 29:735(A)(1); adds R.S. 29:773) SB 435 Abraham. Act 362. Effective June 12, 2020
Declared emergencies. There shall be no liability for damages resulting from gratuitous or voluntary provision of emergency efforts or products during a declared state of emergency unless actions are taken with gross negligence or willful misconduct. Retroactive to March 11, 2020. (Amends R.S. 29:735.3.1(A); adds R.S. 29:735.3.2) SB 491 Hewitt. Act 303. Effective June 12, 2020
HB 267/Act 367 allows the use of the Budget Stabilization Fund, commonly called the Rainy Day Fund, for expenses due to a federally declared disaster.
HB 360/Act 368 allows the presence of oil or gas to be included when determining the fair market value of an oil or gas well for ad valorem taxes.
HB 425/Act 447 (2019 RS) declares that no provision of the state constitution protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.
HB 464/Act 366 requires the legislature to establish a procedure to determine the expenditure limit, keeping growth below 5 percent in a single year.
HB 525/Act 369 increases the income threshold for purposes of qualifying for the special homestead exemption assessment level.
SB 12/Act 38 (ES) creates the Unclaimed Property Permanent Trust Fund and dedicates unclaimed property funds.
SB 272/Act 370 establishes an ad valorem tax exemption for property subject to a cooperative endeavor agreement requiring the property owner to make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT).