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.

An Opportunity Roadmap: Ensure Everyone Has the Right to Earn a Living

An Opportunity Roadmap: Ensure Everyone Has the Right to Earn a Living

As a part of our recently released Alliance for Opportunity Roadmap, we’ve been exploring the policy fundamentals needed to lift countless Louisianans out of poverty. A key pillar of this roadmap is removing barriers to work. Employment sets off a chain reaction of positive factors such as less dependence on social welfare systems, more housing...

By Raheem Williams

An Opportunity Roadmap: Building a Better Social Safety Net

An Opportunity Roadmap: Building a Better Social Safety Net

As part of the Alliance for Opportunity, we released a policy roadmap with the goal of bringing poverty relief to countless Americans. The roadmap is broken up into three key sections: keeping vulnerable Americans on track, ensuring everyone has the right to earn a living, and addressing poverty through the justice system. The first part...

By Aly Rau

A Look Back at Louisiana’s Economy in 2021

A Look Back at Louisiana’s Economy in 2021

This week, news regarding America’s economic growth dominated business headlines. The country’s economy grew by 6.9 percent in the 4th quarter of 2021, leading to an overall economic growth of 5.7 percent. But just as consequential to the people of Louisiana was the final jobs report examining state data from 2021. The jobs report showed...

By Eric Peterson

An Opportunity Roadmap to Help Vulnerable Americans

An Opportunity Roadmap to Help Vulnerable Americans

The South is the fastest-growing region in the country, but Louisiana is lagging behind our regional peers. Despite our favorable location with beautiful coastal waterfronts, access to the Mississippi, and tolerable weather, Louisiana struggles to prosper. Rampant inescapable poverty has been a staple of urban and rural areas in the South for generations. Many see...

By Raheem Williams

Over Half of People Leaving Louisiana are Looking for Work

Over Half of People Leaving Louisiana are Looking for Work

Everyone in Louisiana knows a friend or family member that has left the state to find work. A report by United Van Lines confirmed that Louisiana had the eighth-highest percentage of people leaving the state with over half of them moving to find work. In the United Van Lines study, Louisiana was the only southern...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Civil Asset Forfeiture Hurts Innocent Louisianans

Civil Asset Forfeiture Hurts Innocent Louisianans

Louisiana is one of the worst states in the country in regards to civil asset forfeiture. While some states require a criminal conviction before property can be seized, Louisiana allows private property to be seized whether someone is found guilty of a crime or not. Louisiana offers little to no protection against frivolous seizures which...

By Raheem Williams

Last Jobs Report of the Year Brings A Spot of Much Needed Good News

Last Jobs Report of the Year Brings A Spot of Much Needed Good News

The December state jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Louisiana was one of the 40 states to make significant gains in employment adding 8,500 jobs from October to November. This comes on the heels of the national jobs report where more than 210,000 new jobs were added in November, bringing the national...

By Eric Peterson

Economic ‘Freedom’ Study Ranks Louisiana Below Average

Economic ‘Freedom’ Study Ranks Louisiana Below Average

The Cato Institute has released this year’s edition of the “Freedom In the 50 States” index. Louisiana ranked below average in the study, which looked at state and local policies within the “fiscal, regulatory and personal realms” and used those policies to create a numerical list to rank all 50 states. Among the issues noted...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Louisiana Needs Occupational Licensure Reform

Louisiana Needs Occupational Licensure Reform

We Need To Reinstate Louisianans’ Right to Earn a Living Louisiana law and administrative codes are chock-full of burdensome regulations that keep countless Louisianans from realizing their full potential. Some of the most offensive examples of these regulations are expansive and burdensome occupational licensure requirements to pursue their dreams. Occupational licensure is a fancy way...

By Raheem Williams

Release: New Policy Report Shows Louisiana Licensing Laws Hurt Economic Mobility

Release: New Policy Report Shows Louisiana Licensing Laws Hurt Economic Mobility

The Pelican Institute’s report on occupational licensing shows how Louisiana is an outlier and low to moderate income Louisianans are held back because of the regulations. For media inquires contact Ryan Roberts at ryan@pelicaninstitute.org NEW ORLEANS– The right to earn a living is the cornerstone of the American Dream, but occupational licensure is an often-overlooked form...

By Ryan Roberts

State seizure of private property – How civil asset forfeiture has run amok in Louisiana

State seizure of private property – How civil asset forfeiture has run amok in Louisiana

Imagine you are driving home from work one day and are stopped and your car and personal belongings are taken. While this alone is a terrifying thought, it is more horrific when you realize that it isn’t a criminal that is taking your belongings but it’s an officer of the law. Unfortunately, this isn’t just...

By Raheem Williams

Louisiana’s Economic Growth is One of the Lowest In the Nation

Louisiana’s Economic Growth is One of the Lowest In the Nation

Louisiana has been struggling to create jobs and opportunities for months. Over the last year, 7 people have left the labor force for every 10 people who found employment. Beyond job numbers, the most recent report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for the second quarter on state Gross Domestic Products (GDP) further showed how...

By Eric Peterson

A Closer Look At Occupational Licensing & Public Safety

A Closer Look At Occupational Licensing & Public Safety

State enforced occupational licensure requirements are often defended as safeguards for public safety. In Louisiana, this argument has been effectively deployed to push back against any attempts to reform the system. However, it’s unclear if Louisiana’s expansive system of occupational licensure actually improves public health and safety outcomes. Nationally, there’s very little evidence to support...

By Raheem Williams

The August Jobs Report is A Massive Disappointment for Louisiana

The August Jobs Report is A Massive Disappointment for Louisiana

Louisiana’s August jobs report was underwhelming even with the lowered expectations due to the national jobs report which missed expectation by more than half a million jobs. Although, Louisiana’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.6 to 6.2, the reason for this decrease was not because people were finding jobs. Instead, the decrease was driven by people...

By Eric Peterson