10 New Louisiana Laws of 2023 that May Pique Your Interest
The Louisiana legislature passes new laws every summer. Every year, the Louisiana legislature staff writes a summary of each new bill, including those later enacted as Acts, and posts them on the website of the Louisiana legislature. Since 2006, Stone Pigman has gathered these summaries of the Acts, edited them slightly, and then assembled them in a logical order, primarily to alert our attorneys of the passage of new laws relevant to their practices.
This year we also prepared a quick list, with very brief descriptions, of the 10 Louisiana laws passed in 2023 that we expect to most significantly impact our legal practice. We believe these new laws are likely to interest many of our clients and friends as well, so we present the list below as a courtesy.
(To see the full sets of summaries for each year in downloadable PDF format, click here.)
Starting with number ten:
#10: Municipal Broadband Opportunities Program (Act 383)
This new law authorizes the Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity to promulgate rules for and administer a municipal broadband program. The new law requires the Office to identify eligible locations for grant funding and to award grants according to priorities established in federal law. The new law requires that a grant recipient contribute at least 25% of the total estimated cost of its project, and possibly reimburse the state the cost to finish a project if the grant recipient materially fails to complete the project. The new law also contains detailed provisions regarding protests, objections, and appeals to the Commissioner of Administration, the 19th JDC, the First Circuit, and the Supreme Court.
#9: Flow-Through Entity Exclusion Extended to Estates, Trusts, and Partnerships (Act 450)
This new law provides that, where an S corporation or other flow-through entity has elected and does pay income taxes as if it were a C corporation, such entity's owners who are estates, trusts, and partnerships (just like such entity's owners who are individuals), are entitled to an exclusion from their taxable income for net income and losses received from the entity. The new law requires such estates, trusts, and partnerships (just like individuals) to notify the Department of Revenue if changes are made to their federal income tax returns due to adjustments to an S corporation's income or losses. The new law also provides a means by which the majority owners of the entity may terminate the election, after which the election may not be made again for five years.
#8: Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide (Act 378)
This new law adds many new obligations relating to the geologic storage of carbon dioxide. The new law requires the submission of an environmental analysis as part of an application for a Class VI injection well permit and imposes various reporting and record-keeping requirements on the owner or operator of a Class VI injection well. The new law changes the required delay for an operator to apply for a certificate of completion from 10 years to 50 years (subject to variance by rule), adds further criteria that must be met, and restricts the circumstances under which the related liability release will not apply. The new law authorizes the commissioner to levy up to $5 million in fees on each storage facility subject to a maximum of $10 million per operator.
#7: Health Insurer Utilization Review Standards (Act 312)
This new law imposes numerous requirements on a health insurance issuer that requires a satisfactory utilization review as a condition of payment of a claim of a healthcare provider. Such an issuer must maintain a documented prior authorization program that utilizes evidence-based clinical review criteria and that meets standards set forth by a national accreditation organization. The new law addresses in great detail issuers' receipt of requests for utilization review, notifications of review criteria and need for information, maintenance of records, provision of expedited review, provision of ordinary review, notification of results of review, and provision of peer review of results.
#6: Online Judicial Sales (Act 390)
This new law authorizes, but does not require, judicial sales to be conducted through an online auction. The new law sets forth in detail for such, the procedures for conducting such auction. The new law also provides for the use and compensation of online auction companies and requirements for contracts with such companies and prohibits the sheriff from delegating certain duties.
#5: Renewable Energy Leases (Act 455)
This new law defines a "renewable energy lease" as a lease of immovable property entered for the purpose of engaging in the production of wind, solar, or hydroelectric energy using the leased premises. The new law provides that the lessee is bound to develop and operate the property as a reasonably prudent operator for the parties' mutual benefit but cannot be evicted by summary process. The new law also addresses the ability of the lessee to mortgage, assign, and sublease its rights; the effect of filing the lease for registry; requirements for notices of default; the calculation of damages; the lessor's privilege over the lessee's assets on the property; and judicial dissolution of the lease (including partial dissolution wherever construction of a renewable energy facility has not begun within 10 years), as well as various related matters.
#4: Mineral Rights and Leases and Related Matters (Act 88)
This new law contains a variety of provisions concerning mineral rights and leases. The new law clarifies that division orders may apply to proportional ownership not only in oil and gas, but also in any minerals or other substances. The new law clarifies various rules relating to the rights and responsibilities of co-owners, including usufructuaries, of land, mineral leases, and mineral servitudes. The new law changes what is sufficient to maintain a mineral lease and which tracts of land are affected. The new law repeals prior laws regarding the pledge of mineral and related rights and adds instead that the UCC governs the creation of security interests in minerals and their proceeds, as well as the rights of security interest holders. The new law also clarifies the applicable prescriptive regime.
#3: Actions Over the Ownership or Possession of Real Estate (Act 421)
This new law makes numerous changes to the rules governing petitory and possessory actions. The new law changes who may bring a petitory action and the burden of proof that must be met in a petitory action, a declaratory judgment, or similar proceeding. The new law also changes who may bring a possessory action, prohibits cumulation of a possessory action with either a petitory action or a declaratory action to determine ownership, and changes the consequences of improper cumulation. The new law changes when a defendant may assert title in a possessory action, and even changes the definition of "possession."
#2: Various Changes to the Code of Civil Procedure (Act 5)
This new law makes a variety of changes to the Code of Civil Procedure. The new law provides that an objection of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of an action is now a peremptory exception rather than a declinatory exception and provides for the procedure to be followed when the objection is raised. The new law addresses unopposed motions, defining them and setting forth the procedure for certifying them. The new law changes the standards for filing a supplemental petition or answer. The new law requires that a party withholding otherwise discoverable information as trial preparation material subject to protection or privilege must provide a privilege log. The new law addresses the sufficiency and means of proof of notices of intent to obtain a default judgment. The new law also allows judges to sign judgments out of state and forbids notices of a motion for a TRO from being sent from the court.
#1. Summary Judgment Procedure (Act 317)
This new law makes a number of revisions to summary judgment procedure. The new law (1) adds various new types of documents that may be filed in support of or in opposition to a motion for summary judgment; (2) addresses how filed documents may be referenced in the motion or opposition; (3) requires motions, oppositions, and replies to be filed and served electronically; (4) changes the time for filing replies; and (5) addresses which documents a court shall consider in deciding a motion for summary judgment. This new law also addresses (6) when objections to an expert's qualifications or methodologies shall be filed, heard, and decided; and (7) the effect of a reversal of the court's judgment on which persons may be allocated fault.
Bonus: Official State Nut (Act 123)
This new law designates as the official state nut – no, it's not anyone you might think – it's the pecan! The new law authorizes the use of the pecan on official state documents. So, who knows, perhaps the certificates of admission to the bar this year will feature a proud picture of a pecan!