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.

Failures in Accountability Plague Our Assistance Programs

Failures in Accountability Plague Our Assistance Programs

Accountability in our assistance programs is essential to helping Louisiana families. The Louisiana Legislative Auditor reported that the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) failed to enforce work verification requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The TANF program issues grants to states so that they can provide financial support...

By Aly Rau

Louisiana Posts Some of the Worst Economic Performance in the Nation

Louisiana Posts Some of the Worst Economic Performance in the Nation

Just before the Independence Day holiday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the most recent report of economic activity for states, measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The report showed that the average state’s GDP decreased by 1.6 percent and only four states had positive GDP growth. But even within this bleak picture of the...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Our Tangled Safety Net Needs an Overhaul

Our Tangled Safety Net Needs an Overhaul

The Louisiana Workforce Commission’s (LWC) mission, “put people to work”, should be made as simple as possible. Complexity in the safety net often leads to fraud and a web of requirements that ensnare people who are trying to rebuild their lives. Along with the entangled net of state programs, the LWC manages unemployment programs under...

By Ryan Roberts

Statement: Occupational Licensing Reform Signed Into Law

Statement: Occupational Licensing Reform Signed Into Law

For media inquiries please contact Ryan Roberts (504) 481-9931 or ryan@pelicaninstitute.org. Baton Rouge — CEO of the Pelican Institute, Daniel Erspamer released the following statement after Governor Edwards signed two bills that will reform Louisiana’s occupational licensing laws and restore the right to earn a living for Louisianans: “Louisiana is one of the most onerously licensed...

By Ryan Roberts

Louisianans Deserve a Fair Chance at an Occupational License

Louisianans Deserve a Fair Chance at an Occupational License

We often talk about barriers to employment and how hard it can be for people to follow their chosen career path in Louisiana. This is especially the case when it comes to people exiting the justice system. They often face ambiguous “good character” provisions that disqualify them from occupational licensure whether their conviction is directly...

By Ryan Roberts

Louisiana Driver’s License Suspensions Hurt the Poor Without Improving Safety

Louisiana Driver’s License Suspensions Hurt the Poor Without Improving Safety

The suspension of a person’s driver’s license should be a consequence of poor driving that threatens the safety of the driver or other people, not a punitive tool for non-traffic infractions. Driver’s license suspensions used to enforce non-traffic infractions are often counterintuitive due to the likelihood of negative employment effects from transportation restrictions. To pay...

By Raheem Williams

Latest Economic Report Suggests Recession on the Way

Latest Economic Report Suggests Recession on the Way

America’s low unemployment rates had many believing that it was smooth sailing ahead for the economy. However, the most recent report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that the American economy shrank during the first quarter of 2022 and a recession is likely on the horizon. The amount of economic activity increased by $380...

Every Louisianan Should Have the Right to Earn a Living

Every Louisianan Should Have the Right to Earn a Living

Originally Appeared in the The Advocate Every person has a dream. It could be to see the Saints win the Super Bowl or for LSU baseball to win another College World Series. More realistically, however, countless Louisianans dream of escaping poverty and finding fulfilling work. Our people should be able to pursue their dreams and...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

March Jobs Report Shows Louisiana Unemployment Rate Above National Average

March Jobs Report Shows Louisiana Unemployment Rate Above National Average

As the Louisiana Legislative Session is well underway, many of the most important policies that bring jobs to Louisiana are under consideration. These debates are only more essential as the latest state job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Louisiana falling behind the rest of the nation. While there are national concerns with...

Letter: Occupational licensing limits economic mobility for lower-Income Louisianans

Letter: Occupational licensing limits economic mobility for lower-Income Louisianans

Originally Appeared in the Daily Advertiser If you’re a working Louisianan, there’s a high likelihood you’ve had an encounter with occupational licensing. In fact, roughly one in four professions in Louisiana require a government permission slip to work. Louisiana has some of the most onerous and burdensome licensing laws in the country. These regulations don’t...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

The Right to Earn a Living Act will Reignite the American Dream for Louisianans

The Right to Earn a Living Act will Reignite the American Dream for Louisianans

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’m just trying to pursue my happiness.” – Daltonio Elaire, Former Mobile Barber The American dream of being able to rise up and build a prosperous life for yourself has been a fundamental part of our country since its beginning. As Americans, we believe this is the land...

By Ryan Roberts

Louisiana is Falling Behind Mississippi Again

Louisiana is Falling Behind Mississippi Again

People who already have an occupational license in another state often face mandatory fees or redundant training requirements to continue their profession when they move to Louisiana. At least 12 states have adopted universal recognition policies to streamline this process and recognize licenses granted by licensing bodies in other states. Since other states have begun...

By Raheem Williams

As Session Begins, Where Does Louisiana’s Economy Stand?

As Session Begins, Where Does Louisiana’s Economy Stand?

Last week marked the start of Louisiana’s legislative session. As lawmakers work to find solutions to our biggest issues, it’s important to know the state of jobs and opportunity in Louisiana. The latest state jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers some important data to this question about the state of Louisiana’s economy....

Three Ideas to Improve Worker Freedom in Louisiana

Three Ideas to Improve Worker Freedom in Louisiana

The Pelican Institute has decided to pursue a pro-worker agenda centered around challenging unfair regulations that hurt everyday Louisianans. We know that quality policy reforms regarding occupational licensure will enable more people to better provide for themselves, their families, and the communities they live in. That is why we are including three key bills on...

By Raheem Williams