Today’s veto override session occurs at a pivotal moment for our state, as businesses and our second-largest industry, tourism, strive to recover from the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19. With this in mind, it would be regrettable to take actions in the override session that undermine our recovering, but fragile, economy.
Senate Bill 156, which would limit student athletes to teams of the gender on their birth certificate, speaks to the concerns of many parents who want to promote fairness in sports. However, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association already has such a restriction in place. Consequently, enacting such legislation is not only unnecessary but could likely have a strong negative impact on our economy and workforce.
A prime example of this potential impact is the more than $2 billion dollars a year brought to Louisiana with major corporate and association meetings, and frequent national amateur and professional sporting events and championships — along with significant positive worldwide coverage. Such controversial legislation can result in financial loss to many Louisiana businesses and workers, and the wrong type of attention for our state.
In many ways, this past legislative session was one of the most encouraging in recent memory, with a range of growth-oriented policies, like tax reform, that showed a Legislature looking to the future. Louisiana is poised to begin to grow its businesses and create more jobs and opportunity for its citizens. This precarious moment is not the time to undermine our own progress, especially when there is no acute issue that requires solving. Regulations for competitive fairness are already in place.
We encourage our legislators to consider the economic consequences of potential actions and to put the future of Louisiana businesses and workers first.
STEPHEN PERRY and MICHAEL HECHT
New Orleans & Company, Greater New Orleans, Inc.
ADAM KNAPP and PAUL ARRIGO
Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Visit Baton Rouge