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.

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

An Opportunity Roadmap: A Smarter Criminal Justice System

An Opportunity Roadmap: A Smarter Criminal Justice System

The Alliance for Opportunity was founded to bring poverty relief to people across America. If we want to ensure every American has the opportunity to flourish, it’s time to address poverty that is brought about by our justice system. We need to refocus the current criminal justice system to point people towards successful reentry after...

By Raheem Williams

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...

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...