Local Land Use Planning in an Era of Climate Change

by Bradley G. Oster

Introduction

The impacts of climate change combined with aggressive development are wreaking havoc throughout the State of Louisiana. Take this past year, for example. From August 27, 2020, to August 29, 2021, hurricanes and floods caused an estimated $104.5 billion in damages in Louisiana.[1] The impacts of climate change are not limited to New Orleans or the coastal parishes, though.[2] In fact:

Flooding—be it from storm surge, persistent high tides, increasingly heavy downpours, or rivers swollen from up-basin precipitation patterns—affects populations throughout the state. Even floods that do not force people from their homes disrupt lives, add financial and emotional stress to individuals and families, and strain resources that could be invested elsewhere.[3]

This is particularly true for homeowners. Following hurricanes Laura and Delta, it took 14 months for federal aid to arrive in southwest Louisiana, where many “homes still bear blue tarps and await roof repairs, businesses remain boarded up,” neighborhoods appear abandoned, and thousands remain displaced.[4] Moreover, multiple homeowners’ insurers have been forced out of business;[5] home insurance rates are expected to increase by five to ten percent;[6] and federally subsidized flood insurance, through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP),[7] is “expected to produce phased-in increases of more than 129% for around half of Louisiana policyholders,” while about 10% of Louisiana policyholders could see an increase upwards of 400%.[8]

Louisiana touts itself as being resilient and “Louisiana Strong.” However, the reality is that Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the country,[9] is among the most vulnerable states to the impacts of climate change,[10] and its population, and thus its tax base, is amongst the most rapidly declining.[11] While recent plans were announced to address greenhouse gases and industries of the state,[12] concerted efforts aimed at “land use policies hold the greatest long-term risk reduction potential.”[13] For Louisiana to be truly resilient, it is incumbent upon local governments, “[u]sing their state-delegated land use authority[,] together with state and federal assistance[,] . . . [to] create disaster-resilient communities that have increased capacity to adapt to the effects of natural disasters; this would result in less property damage, environmental impact, and loss of life.”[14]

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Prohibition of Non-Competition Agreements for Lawyers

by Alex Domingue

Introduction

With 23,241 licensed attorneys in our state,[1] one area of Louisiana law that is particularly regulated is a lawyer’s ability and freedom to practice.[2] With such a high number of attorneys, and consequently, a large number of law firms, the movement of attorneys among firms raises the issue of restrictions between a law firm and an individual attorney. This issue relates to both the business arrangement between the attorney and the firm upon the attorney’s departure and the consequences of financial obligations between the two of them.

Rule 5.6 of Louisiana’s Rules of Professional Conduct regulates this area. The rule provides that a lawyer cannot participate in a business arrangement that restricts another lawyer’s ability to practice after the termination of their relationship.[3] The policy justification behind such a stringent rule is to ensure that lawyers can practice freely and that clients are not restricted in choosing which attorney will represent them.[4] Despite its purpose, the rule can be relaxed, namely, through the exceptions listed in the rule and Louisiana jurisprudence. However, these exceptions, although drafted with good intent, have arguably made the rule even harder to follow.[5]

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NIL and NFTs Collide: LSU’s Expeditious Embrace

by Marina M. Speligene

Introduction

Name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are two separate but related topics that have attracted a great deal of attention in the last year, especially in the world of collegiate and professional athletics. Collegiate sports first witnessed the collision of these ostensibly distinct concepts following a June 30, 2021, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) decision that opened the door for student-athletes to take advantage of name, image, and likeness opportunities—business ventures that would have previously stripped them of their NCAA eligibility.[1] The NCAA’s new policy instructs that all NIL activity be consistent with the law of the state where the college is located or, in the absence or interim of operative state law, the school’s NIL policy.[2] As of today, more than half of states have enacted NIL laws, Louisiana included.[3]

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“Let Me Get This Right . . . I’ll Be Paid Just Because I Play for LSU?” The Potential Issues of Louisiana’s Name, Image, or Likeness Legislation

by Austin Pottorff

Introduction

In 2019, LSU football experienced an unprecedented national championship season, led by star quarterback Joe Burrow.[1] Burrow became a college football icon, winning numerous awards,[2] breaking multiple records,[3] and leading LSU to a historic, undefeated season.[4] Burrow’s accolades made his name a very valuable brand across not only Louisiana, but the entire United States. In fact, sports economist David Berri determined that Burrow’s worth to LSU was over $3.8 million during the 2019 season alone.[5] Despite Burrow’s worth to LSU, he was unable to profit off of his fame and recognition while he was a student-athlete. This outcome was a result of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) longstanding policy of forbidding collegiate athletes from profiting off their name, image, or likeness (NIL).[6]

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Kindergarten: The Foundation of Education

by Caroline Campagna

Introduction

Louisiana has steadily ranked nearly last in state-education-achievement rankings for childhood education, which includes kindergarten through twelfth grade.[1] In fact, Louisiana public schools are currently ranked 50th in the countryhigh school graduation rate among low-income students, median SAT and ACT scores, and math and reading scores.[2] Alarmingly only about half of kindergarten through third grade students in Louisiana are reading at their grade level.[3] Moreover, around 160,000 Louisiana students in kindergarten through fifth grade cannot read.[4] Because of these concerning statistics, Louisiana legislators are making education a priority within the state.[5] Lawmakers are investing in education by focusing specifically on kindergarten education.[6]

Until the 2022–2023 school year, children in Louisiana were able to avoid kindergarten altogether because the prior law did not require parents to send their children to school until the age of seven.[7] However, kindergarten may no longer be evaded due to the passage of Senate Bill 10.[8] Pursuant to this bill, all children who have reached the age of five will be required to attend kindergarten beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.[9] The bill unanimously passed in the Senate with a vote of 38–0, while the House of Representatives backed the bill with a vote of 70–32.[10] Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards supported the bill as part of his legislative package, and on June 16, 2021, he signed Act 386, enacting Senate Bill 10 into law.[11]

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