Kevin Kane 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.

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

Latest Jobs Report Has Bad News for Louisiana

Latest Jobs Report Has Bad News for Louisiana

This hasn’t been a year of positive news. Over the last few months, however, there have been some bright spots for Louisiana and the nation’s economies, as they have been steadily moving in the right direction. But, the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has some sobering news for those who expected...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Amendment 4 will Get Louisiana Working

Amendment 4 will Get Louisiana Working

When facing difficult financial circumstances, Louisiana families take the steps they need to rein in their spending and plan responsibly for future expenses. This is not the case when it comes to how our state currently approaches budgeting. Fortunately, Louisianans Constitutional Amendment 4, is on the Nov. 3 ballot, is offering an opportunity for Louisianans...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Damage of Louisiana’s Shutdown Becoming Clearer

Damage of Louisiana’s Shutdown Becoming Clearer

As the Louisiana legislature debates adding checks and balances to the state’s emergency powers, reports from both the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) are painting a picture of just how economically damaging the state’s shutdown has been. Let’s start with the worst news. The BEA reported Louisiana’s economy shrank...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Louisiana Lags as America Recovers

Louisiana Lags as America Recovers

The most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed the U.S. economy is about halfway to recovery. Meanwhile, Louisiana job numbers are still falling well behind the rest of the nation. Overall, the report wasn’t surprising, as it revealed employment rose by 1.4 million in the month of August while the unemployment...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Louisiana Moving to Phase 3, Statement from CEO

Louisiana Moving to Phase 3, Statement from CEO

Today, Governor John Bel Edwards announced Louisiana will begin moving into Phase 3 of the state’s economic restrictions on Friday. Pelican Institute CEO Daniel Erspamer released the following statement in response to this decision: “Gov. Edwards’ announcement today is a step in the right direction to get Louisiana working. After months of urging Louisiana leaders to...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

COVID-19 and Workforce Development

COVID-19 and Workforce Development

How are school closures impacting Louisiana’s workforce? Today at 1:10 p.m. on the PeliCast, we dive into this topic with Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Co.’s Kim Carver and Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Senior Vice President of Economic Competitiveness Liz Smith!

By Editor

Protect Life and Liberty in a Pandemic

Protect Life and Liberty in a Pandemic

Did Louisiana’s government infringe on the rights of its citizens with its COVID-19 mandates? Today, the Pelican Institute released a report to answer that question and offer approaches for addressing the ongoing pandemic and future disasters while safeguarding both public health and individual liberty. In future legislative sessions, lawmakers should consider the lessons learned from...

By Sarah Harbison