Center for Opportunity Policy

Systemic poverty threatens human dignity, endangers families, and is fundamentally antithetical to the American experiment. Unfortunately, too many of our government policies in the areas of criminal justice reform, social safety nets, workforce development, and occupational licensure present barriers to economic mobility and block off pathways to opportunity.

The Kane Center honors the work and passions of the Institute’s founder, Kevin Kane, who launched Pelican in 2008. Under his leadership the Institute played a leading role in a variety of critical issues, most notably in criminal justice reform. Kevin was honored by the Louisiana State Legislature following the passage of the landmark 2017 Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which will free thousands of Louisianans from the damaging cycles of recidivism and help these individuals re-enter society and find work. The scope of work in the Kane Center builds on this critical achievement and expands its reach to many others trapped by government policy that too often blocks meaningful pursuit of work and opportunity.

Occupational Licensing Reform Would Benefit All Louisianans

Occupational Licensing Reform Would Benefit All Louisianans

If you are legally allowed to cut hair in Mississippi and move to Louisiana, shouldn’t you be able to cut hair in Louisiana as well?  Shockingly enough, the answer is no due to something known as an occupational license. Occupational licenses are government permission slips to work in certain professions.  Obtaining an occupational license is often...

By Eric Peterson

A year later: Where are we?

A year later: Where are we?

by Eric Peterson, director of the Pelican Center for Technology and Innovation Policy This week is a somber anniversary, as it marks one year since Americans were forced to lockdown across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, after a year of health and economic devastation caused by the virus and subsequent government lockdowns,...

By Eric Peterson

Pelican Responds to Settlement in Oil and Gas Lawsuits

Pelican Responds to Settlement in Oil and Gas Lawsuits

by Morgan Wampold, director of communications Today, despite the lack of support expressed by state lawmakers, local elected officials, and industry leaders across the coast, state officials announced they have signed onto a proposed agreement seeking to settle coastal land loss claims against a single defendant that no longer operates in Louisiana. The following is a...

N.C. tax reform: A model for Louisiana

N.C. tax reform: A model for Louisiana

by Brian Balfour, senior vice president of research, John Locke Foundation If Louisiana wants to look for inspiration for tax reform, they could do no better than North Carolina. Aggressive, yet sensible, tax cuts paired with fiscal restraint is what made North Carolina “The national model for conservative tax reform,” according to Patrick Gleason, vice...

By Editor

State Job Numbers Are No Cause for Celebration

State Job Numbers Are No Cause for Celebration

As Louisianans celebrate a vastly different kind of Mardi Gras this year, the latest economic data shows that COVID-19 has resulted in far more than cancelled parades. State and local government officials’ response to the pandemic has also led to significant job losses. Louisiana’s new economic data shows that while the number of Louisianans on...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Reading Between the Lines on Latest Jobs Report

Reading Between the Lines on Latest Jobs Report

by Eric Peterson, director of the Pelican Center for Technology and Innovation Policy At first glance, the December State Employment and Unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics appeared positive for Louisiana. However, a closer look at the numbers reveals there is still a long way to go in the state’s economic recovery. The...

By Eric Peterson

2021 starts with a whimper

2021 starts with a whimper

by Eric Peterson, director of the Pelican Center for Technology and Innovation Policy The New Year’s celebrations brought with it a hope that the turning of the calendar would leave the bad news of 2020 behind us. Unfortunately, some of the first economic reports of the year signal we still have a long way to...

By Eric Peterson

Social worker sues state for opportunity to help kids in need

Social worker sues state for opportunity to help kids in need

by Sarah Harbison, general counsel & director, Pelican Center for Justice Ursula Newell-Davis lives in New Orleans and cares deeply about the well-being of her community. Through her work as a social worker and as a mother to her own special needs son, Ursula has seen first-hand that children with disabilities and their families need...

By Sarah Harbison

Last Jobs Report of the Year A Mixed Bag

Last Jobs Report of the Year A Mixed Bag

by Eric Peterson, Director of Policy During the holiday season, Louisianans have more on their mind than the latest state economic reports. Yet as we enter the New Year, it’s important to understand where our state’s economy stands. Two reports, one from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the other from the Bureau of...

By Eric Peterson

Despite hiccups, Louisiana economy slowly moving forward

Despite hiccups, Louisiana economy slowly moving forward

by Eric Peterson, Director of Policy As 2020 winds down, I can’t help but reflect on the difficulties we’ve all experienced, both on the health and economic fronts, throughout this year. Fortunately, as a vaccine appears within reach, so too is a return to a strong economy. The latest jobs release from the Bureau of...

By Eric Peterson

Unemployment Fraud in Louisiana?

Unemployment Fraud in Louisiana?

Two weeks ago, it appeared as though the Louisiana economy was once again headed for darker times. As other states were reinstituting stricter lockdown penalties and Mayor LaToya Cantrell was canceling Mardi Gras, the number of new Louisiana unemployment claims skyrocketed to over 40,000. It seemed the lack of travel to Louisiana might have resulted in...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Governor Edwards Adds New Economic Restrictions, Pelican Statement

Governor Edwards Adds New Economic Restrictions, Pelican Statement

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Louisiana is returning to Phase 2 of the state’s COVID-19 economic restrictions. In addition to ordering many bars across the state to close and sending most businesses back to 50 percent occupancy through the end of the year, Gov. Edwards also limited gatherings to 75 indoors and 150 outdoors. Additionally,...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Unemployment spikes again in Louisiana

Unemployment spikes again in Louisiana

Despite mostly good news on both the Louisiana health and economic fronts over the last few months, November has brought spikes in both unemployment and COVID-19 cases. While unemployment claims had been trending downwards for some time, even getting below 10,000 for a few weeks, the week ending November 14 saw claims jump to over...

By Eric Peterson

Good Economic News Continues

Good Economic News Continues

While most Americans were following the latest twists and turns in the election last week, some excellent economic news flew under the radar. On the state front, the number of Louisianans filing for unemployment continued its swift decline, with just over 7,700 individuals filing the week ending October 31. This is still about four times...

By Eric Peterson