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For years Rep. Leger has been spearheading efforts to create a high-quality passenger rail line connecting New Orleans and Baton Rouge. He co-sponsored legislation to create the Louisiana Super Regional Rail Authority, and currently serves as a representative of Orleans Parish on the Commission. The Rail Authority was formed to deliver a project that will yield long term benefits by connecting a growing corridor and providing residents and commuters a reliable, safe and efficient alternative to traveling on the congested interstate.

According to the LSRRA, Passenger Rail Service in the Baton Rouge to New Orleans corridor would provide a number of benefits:

  • Safe, efficient and reliable alternative transportation option along the corridor
  • Foundation for economic competitiveness and development opportunities at or near the stations
  • Energy efficiency and environmental quality
  • Interconnected livable communities with improved access to jobs and essential services
  • New means for evacuation in the event of natural disasters

Please join the cause and sign the pledge to support passenger rail.

More at

The Aspen Institute announced that Representative and Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger, III has been selected to join the next class of Rodel Fellows, a highly selective public leadership program designed to bring together the top young 'rising stars' of American political life in a program that fosters bipartisanship, political civility, and opportunities for reflection on the great values of western democracy. The selection process singles out leaders who have established reputations for intelligence, thoughtfulness, and a willingness to reach across partisan divisions in carrying out their public responsibilities.

“It is truly an honor to have been selected to join such an esteemed group of leaders from across the country,” said Rep. Leger. “I look forward to digging in and honing my skills so that I may better serve my constituents and help lead Louisiana to a more prosperous future.”

The Rodel Fellowship program is open by invitation only, to men and women who hold a publicly elected office. Selected annually, each class will consist of 24 Fellows, 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats, identified by the Aspen Institute as America's most promising new public leaders, with reputations for intellect, thoughtfulness, and a commitment to civil dialogue. The two year program consists of at least three weekend-long seminars held at the Aspen Institute's facilities. There will also be week-long seminars in both China and the Middle East where Fellows will meet with regional leaders and learn about the challenges and opportunities those areas pose for the future of America.

The program is led by Mickey Edwards who spent 16 years in Congress as a member of the House Republican leadership, and then taught at Harvard's Kennedy School for 11 years. Mickey's passion is our form of democratic government which depends for its vitality on civil dialog between competing points of view.

In addition to Speaker Pro Tempore Leger, the new Rodel class includes New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Guided by experienced moderators, Aspen-Rodel Fellows will study and discuss a broad range of questions concerning the origin of American values, the tension between principle and compromise inherent in democracy, and the challenges of public leadership. The overseas segments will be a hands-on look at those very different cultures and their ambitions and fears.

The nearly 250 members of the fellowship include members of the President's Cabinet, governors, members of Congress, mayors of many of America's leading cities, statewide officials, and state legislators.  

LSU Health New Orleans recognized Rep. Leger for his “superior leadership and exceptional support of fiscal and policy-related issues affecting LSU Health Sciences New Orleans during the 2015 Legislative Session. According to LSU Health New Orleans, Rep. Leger and fellow honored legislators played a critical role in preventing catastrophic reduction to the institution’s base budget. Rep.Leger and his colleagues supported funding to ensure that the LSU Health hospital’ private partners – University Medical Center, Our Lady of the Lake and University Health in Lafayette – had the requisite resources to fulfill their role in training future health care professionals and providing health care to the most vulnerable citizens of our state, as well as funding for programs such as LSU Health New Orleans’ Louisiana Tumor Registry, its Breast and Cervical Health Program, and the Louisiana Cancer Center Consortium.

LSU Health New Orleans Foundation President and CEO Chad Leingang says these first- time awards are significant for several reasons. “No one would deny this past legislative session was extremely challenging on many levels. These six legislators went above and beyond to minimize the negative outcomes LSU Health New Orleans could have faced and instead kept us on a positive path moving forward.”

Dear Friend,

If you’ve been following the news lately, you already know this legislative session was all about the budget- namely, dealing with the projected $1.6 billion deficit for the year beginning July 1. Unfortunately, many other important issues were put on hold as the legislature focused on providing funding to Louisiana's higher education and health care systems. To cap off the already difficult situation, the governor’s gimmicky schemes to nominally avoid breaking his “no-tax pledge” put the basic needs of our state directly in harm’s way.  

While the budget shortfall represented one of the largest funding crises this state has faced in more than a quarter century, my goal throughout the session was to increase fiscal responsibility by prioritizing dollars and identifying potential revenue for the government programs and services that yield the largest return for Louisiana citizens. This has been a year of extensive cuts and great challenges, so my objectives met with some successes and some obstacles. 

One of the biggest and most offensive distractions this session was the so-called "Religious Freedom" debate. You can click here to read my Op-Ed on the matter published in the April 13 edition of | The Times-Picayune

Through all of this difficulty, the positive news is that more money will be invested in our public schools than last year, a new University Medical Center will open and be appropriately funded in downtown New Orleans, and our colleges, universities, and community and technical colleges will not face devastating cuts.  All in all, we will persist toward a better day and down a new path after the elections of the fall of 2015.

HERE is the Louisiana House's 2015 Session Wrap Report:

BELOW is a snapshot of some of the major issues and outcomes and how new legislation may affect you.



Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives



To avoid the governor’s veto pen and the possibility of a government shutdown, the legislature passed a budget full of compromises, short-term fixes, and, most disappointingly, the SAVE sham. As you’ve probably heard, SAVE creates a fake fee offset by a fake tax credit. If you fail to see the logic in charging a fee that no one actually pays, you are not alone. While fortunately no students will be held responsible for this new “assessment,” the fact that its inclusion was required simply to satisfy the presidential ambitions of Governor Jindal marks a new low in Louisiana politics.

The SAVE bill was a false tax credit. I simply refused to support such a farce, especially considering that I was offering the Louisiana New Markets Job Acts Tax Credit as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit as potential offsets to tax increases. These programs amounted to true offsets that would have benefited the people Louisiana, not false offsets that only benefited the pledge.

Despite the governor’s pretenses, the budget contains several revenue-raising measures, including a 50 cent increase on the cigarette tax, as well as a reduction in some business subsidies. Certain sectors did see increases in funding, notably K-12 education, which received a $50 million bump over last year’s spending.

Since many of the holes were plugged with money that will not be available in the future, expect more budgetary battles to come, but, for now at least, the most catastrophic scenarios have been avoided.



For myself and many of my colleagues, shielding higher education from bearing the brunt of the budgetary woes was the overarching theme of this legislative session. Toward that end, I introduced three bills to protect and increase higher education funding.

HB 323 proposed a constitutional amendment that would have been presented to voters in October. This amendment would have prohibited the governor and the legislature from reducing the total appropriation for higher education below the appropriation for the prior year without a two-thirds majority. It would further have ensured that universities do not lose state funds in the event that their revenue from tuition and fees increases from one year to the next. Although I successfully passed this bill by more than a 2/3 majority vote in the House, the instrument was eventually deferred by the Senate Finance Committee.

On a more positive note, HB 386 is currently awaiting the governor’s signature. It dedicates interest earnings of the Deepwater Horizon Economic Damages Collection Fund to higher education. The legislation stipulated that this funding be truly new- meaning in addition to current state appropriations- not a replacement or way to cut other funds. Furthermore, it ensures that civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and monies received through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process will remain dedicated to our Coastal Master Plan and securing our coast for future generations.

Finally, HB 250, which authorizes additional deposits into the Workforce Training Rapid Response Fund, won approval by the legislature. For more information on how this will benefit our workforce and Louisiana’s community and technical colleges, please watch LCTCS President Monty Sullivan’s Legislative Minute.  

With the threat of $600 million budget cuts to higher education in Louisiana, the Student Government of Louisiana State University organized an initiative to evaluate the performance of state legislators annually. I am honored to have made this year's "Honor Roll"  with a 100% score. 

View the report card here:

It’s a given that post-secondary education paves the pathway to the middle class. Moving forward, I am gearing up to continue the fight to protect and support our institutions of higher learning.



The failure of legislation to double the earned income tax credit ranks among my great disappointments for the session. Louisiana is known for having one of the most regressive tax policies in the country. Our lower-income citizens shoulder a disproportionate burden, especially compared to similarly-situated individuals in other states.

I introduced HB70 to increase the earned income tax credit from 3.5 to 7 percent. While this is just one small step in the right direction toward a more equitable tax policy, it could have made a real impact on working families struggling to make ends meet. 

It also makes just plain economic sense. Research indicates that lower-income workers tend to re-inject tax breaks directly back into the economy because they use the money for necessary purchases of goods and services. To use San Antonio as a case study, officials there estimated that each dollar spent on the earned income tax credit generates $1.58 in local economic activity. As another benefit, the tax credit is often used for purposes that actually enhance workforce stability, such as repairs to vehicles used for commuting, childcare expenses, and additional education or training. 

Watch the video clip below at 2:37:00 to see me urging my colleagues in the legislature to do the right thing:

The Editorial Board of | The Times-Picayune, the US Chamber Foundation, and many others support the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Read | The Times-Picayune Editorial here:

Read US Chamber Foundation Report here:

I am proud that I was able to secure bipartisan support and pass an amendment through the House, even though it was ultimately stripped in the Senate.

While my bill was unsuccessful this time around, my resolve to keep fighting for the working families of Louisiana is stronger than ever. 



I’m also disappointed to share that HB 725 about the Louisiana New Markets Job Acts Tax Credit did not pass. If you have not already seen it, please read my letter to the editor published in the June 8 edition of The Advocate about the importance of this tax credit. It has a proven track record of stimulating economic growth by supporting the state’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Other legislation of note that is improving the economy in communities across the state includes an extension to the tax credit for the rehabilitation of nonresidential historic structures. This popular credit, which has been the catalyst behind countless historic preservation efforts, will now continue until January 1, 2022.



The American Society of Civil Engineers graded Louisiana’s roads and bridges a D and D+, respectively, in their most recent report card. Motorists, however, likely did not need to see this ranking to know that there is a lot of work to be done to improve the state’s infrastructure. 

Despite the budget challenges this year, $100 million dollars of additional aid per year were added to the Transportation Trust Fund. Though this amount falls far short of addressing Louisiana’s $12 billion backlog of road and bridge needs, my bill to revise the process by which projects are selected to be included within the Highway Priority Program should help ensure these and all future appropriations are well directed.

HB 742 was developed with the support of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and is currently awaiting the governor’s signature. It stipulates that proposed projects should be subject to an objective analysis that considers the extent to which the project would enhance accessibility, improve safety (especially during evacuations), stimulate commerce and economic development, foster multimodalism, and protect the environment. In addition, the results of this rigorous screening process would be made public to increase government accountability.

The alliance Transportation for America spotlighted the significance of this legislation in a recent article. Read more about how the new process, slated to go into effect in 2017, puts Louisiana ahead of the curve when it comes to transparency in transportation spending.

Read Transportation for America Article here:



According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation. Though we have taken some preliminary steps to control the growth in the state's prison population, widespread systematic reforms are needed. Toward that end, I am pleased to announce the creation of the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force. The task force is charged with completing a comprehensive assessment of the criminal justice system and developing research-based policy recommendations. The goal of these recommendations will be reducing correctional populations and associated spending, holding offenders accountable, and reinvesting savings into strategies shown to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

Another resolution I sponsored, HCR73, has also been sent to the Secretary of State. It requests the Institute on Public Health and Justice to study the issue of raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include seventeen-year olds. Currently Louisiana is one of only nine states in the United States that automatically tries seventeen-year-olds as adults. We know from adolescent brain research that teens are significantly different from adults when it comes to impulse control, moral reasoning, and weighing the consequences of their actions. We also know from studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and the US Department of Justice that youth who have been sent through the adult criminal justice system are more likely to offend again than similar youth who remain in the juvenile justice system. 

I look forward to hearing the results of each of these investigations and will keep pushing for changes to improve the justice system in Louisiana.



As co-chair of the Coastal Caucus, protecting our coast has been one of my top priorities. I co-authored and shepherded through the Coastal Master Plan, co-sponsored legislation that dedicates Clean Water Act fines associated with BP to coastal projects, and sponsored and passed the annual Coastal Plan. This year, before session, I called on the governor to keep his hands off the Coastal Trust Fund, and I’m proud to say that we protected and preserved this fund for the sacred mission of securing and rebuilding our coast. 

At the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, I was honored to co-chair the "Toast to the Coast” presented by the America’s WETLAND Foundation at LSU Tiger Stadium to announce a new restoration project and to honor individuals who have made a difference in the fight to save Louisiana's coast.

In the House, I sponsored HB 352, which is headed to the governor’s desk for his signature. This legislation amends and reenacts approval for land acquisition for integrated coastal protection projects by "acquiring authorities.”

According to the Economist, the “Effects of 'religious freedom' outrage could be long-lasting.” The article states that while the political outrage over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act will inevitably fade, Indiana and its capital city will face "long-lasting" economic repercussions from the divisive law, which has stoked widespread fears of discrimination.

There have been dozens of articles and statements making the same point. In fact, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau has stated, "The adoption of certain types of overreaching, problematic and divisive legislation in Louisiana has the possibility of threatening our state's third largest industry and creating economic losses pushing past a billion dollars a year and costing us tens of thousands of jobs.”

Tangible Threats to Indy’s Economy:

  • Events, including Gen Con, a gaming convention with an economic impact upwards of $50 million, initially threatened to leave Indy. Salesforce, a tech company that acquired Indianapolis-based ExactTarget for $2.5 billion last year, promised to "dramatically reduce" its investment in Indiana and to stop sending its employees to the state for various programs.
  • Angie's List will pull out of a $40MM pending deal with the state and city to expand its headquarters in Indianapolis because of his disagreement with the state's passage of the "religious freedom" law.
  • NCAA President Mark Emmert made it clear the association wouldn't tolerate discrimination and was willing to take its business out of Indiana if the state's religious objections law wasn't fixed to his satisfaction.

Press Clips on RFRA and the Economy
Economist: Effects of 'religious freedom' outrage could be long-lasting

The Atlantic: The Economics of Religious Freedom Bills: Legislation signed in Indiana this week could allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples. Other companies are hitting back.

Indiana businesses concerned over economic impact of religious freedom bill

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act Is Bad for Business

Indiana Already Experiencing Negative Economic Impact of ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Will Indiana's new religious freedom law have local financial impact?

Indiana feels power of the boycott purse

Religious freedom law's economic damage immeasurable


High quality early childhood education is the catalyst for a stronger, better Louisiana.. Fueling young minds now will fuel our future economy.

Dear Friend,

The holidays are quickly approaching, but before your schedule fills up, there are a few important dates below that I hope you’ll mark on your calendar.



Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives


November 10-14

This week, I took the bus to work as part of Transit Week. So please, park your car and try public transit. Here’s a story from last year’s Transit Week about my streetcar ride to work:

Transit Week


November 14 -15

The New Orleans Book Festival starts this evening at Latter Branch Library and continues tomorrow at Big Lake at City Park. A special thanks to New Orleans First Lady Cheryl Landrieu for creating such a wonderful event all about reading. Learn more at

Book Fest


November 19

Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Generations Hall there will be a fundraiser for NOPD Officer Jonathan Smith, who was shot multiple times while working an off-duty detail. Officer Smith is currently at home recovering from his injuries. Pre-sale tickets are available at each NOPD district station and at the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation website:

Let’s give Officer Smith the support he deserves. I hope to see you there!



November 1 - 30

This is my second year not shaving for the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues. I received such an overwhelming positive response last year that I passed HCR20, legislation recognizing No Shave November in Louisiana. Encourage a man in your life to get a prostate or colon cancer screening. Join in the cause! #LETITGROW with @waltleger. 


December 6 

The past session I championed a bill to allow you to vote on a proposition to maintain our school facilities in New Orleans. Be sure to vote “yes” to repurpose an existing bond millage and dedicate it to the preservation and maintenance of our public school buildings. The Orleans Parish School Board has never had dedicated revenue to maintain its school buildings, which is why the schools were in terrible disrepair prior to Katrina. With $2 billion in FEMA and Insurance proceeds invested in rebuilding schools, it is critical we dedicate funding to maintain these facilities for future generations. 













Paypal donation link




Dear Friend,

We’ve entered into fall, but things aren’t cooling off. I’m working to keep up the heat to make sure that the government is responsive to your needs. A set of issues remains at the top of Louisianans’ list of priorities; we want good jobs, safe streets, smart schools, and affordable health care. Below are a few examples of what’s been going on in each of these areas.

If you would like any additional information, or to share your thoughts, please contact me atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives


Affordable Health Care:

The Office of Group Benefits Extends Annual Enrollment Period for 2015 Health Plan

My colleagues in the Legislature and I received the message loud and clear from groups opposing the Jindal administration’s new health care plan that would affect about 230,000 state workers, teachers, and retirees throughout Louisiana. We shared those concerns and communicated them to the Governor’s office. As a result, earlier this week the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) announced it would extend the annual enrollment period for its heavily criticized 2015 health plan options through the end of November 2014. Government workers, state employees, teachers and retirees will have an extra month to enroll in the new plans, which will now begin October 1 and last through November 30. The health plan changes are scheduled to begin March 1, 2015 instead of January 1 when the plan year begins.

We are still fighting to ensure that the new health care plan offers the best solution for those who depend upon it. 

Information on the 2015 plan options is available on OGB’s annual enrollment website


Good Jobs:

Leger Participates in “An American Town Hall” presented by The Atlantic

There are tons of jobs in the energy industry for the people of Louisiana, but no way for potential employees to get to them. I believe building transportation to help people get to these jobs will boost Louisiana’s economy.




Good Jobs:

JOB1 Offers a Variety of Employment Opportunities

JOB1 Business and Career Solutions provides employers with a skilled workforce and links job seekers to employment.  JOB1 provides employment and training services federally funded through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). 


Employers and Job Seekers can get started at:


Smart Schools:

The 2014-2014 Louisiana Business Challenge for Students

Attention high school students! The Louisiana Business Challenge is inviting you to design a promotional plan for Louisiana Seafood in grocery stores for a chance to win scholarship money!

The challenge is to create an innovative marketing plan to teach grocers and retailers how to promote and increase sales of Louisiana Seafood via social media. 

Your team must submit a proposal by Friday, October 31, 2014. The deadline for the submission of Executive Summaries is February 7, 2015. The top six teams will move on to the state competition at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on March 5 & 6, 2015.

Students compete for scholarships totaling $50,000 to be distributed across the winning teams. These scholarships are from sponsors and matching grants from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

For more information, visit


Safe Streets:


NOLA FOR LIFE is a cutting-edge, comprehensive strategy launched by Mayor Landrieu as one of the city’s top priorities to help make our community safe. The campaign boasts, “From prevention and intervention to enforcement and rehabilitation, we are fighting back to protect our families and make every person in New Orleans feel safe.”

For it to work, we all need to get involved, so please visit to sign up to do your part today.


Safe Streets:

It Can Wait

Accidents caused by texting and driving are 100 percent preventable. The It Can Wait campaign is working to not only raise awareness, but to actively keep people from texting and driving. Join me in texting #X to your friends and family when you’re about to get on the road, letting them know you’ll text them back once you’ve safely reached your destination. Spread the word about It Can Wait through Twitter, Facebook, or other forms of social media to promote safe driving. 

The third annual It Can Wait day of action was Friday, September 19. On this day, supporters of the It Can Wait campaign encouraged safe driving and drew attention to apps like AT&T DriveMode, which further help this important cause. 

I greatly encourage you to abstain from texting and driving, potentially saving not only your life but also the lives of others. Remember that no matter what it is you have to say, #ItCanWait until you’re off the road.

Learn more about the campaign at




I've made the pledge not to text and drive; and I'm using #X to let my friends know when I'm about to drive and can’t respond to their text messages. 

Please join me in helping to promote the It Can Wait Day of Action tomorrow, September 19. The campaign is asking people to take the pledge not to text and drive, and it provides a number of tools to help keep our roads safe. 

It Can Wait logo

I would like to thank AT&T Louisiana for championing this important message and providing these easy ways to help:


  • Get the #X Out on our third annual day of action on September 19th. Start now by spreading the word on social media — Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with this sample post: "We pledge not to txt & drv as we gear up for the annual #ItCanWait day of action on 9/19. Share tips for not txtng & drvng with @ItCanWait"
  • Promote and empower others to use tools like #X to help end texting while driving. Here’s another sample social media post to get the word out: "Post #X in social media, emails or texts before you start the car to let others know you are behind the wheel & can’t text. #ItCanWait"
  • Include information about It Can Wait through your organization’s website, blog, newsletter or email signature.
  • Encourage your family, friends, community and colleagues to download an app, like the AT&T DriveMode®, which is available for Android and Blackberry users.
  • Share your ritual or post what you would tell a driver to not text and drive with a short video clip, meme or creative image on your social networks.
  • For the first time this year, individuals in Louisiana can text their pledge! Text the keyword ICWLA to 464329, and you'll receive a text response/confirmation! The pledge — and the text — are free!

Learn more about #X and how you can get involved at Help us spread the word tomorrow and always drive safely! 






Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives



Walt accepted the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to to raise awareness and money to combat ALS, the neurodegenerative disease being battled by former Saints player Steve Gleason.

"The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice." (ALS Association)