Legislative and Administrative Drafting Services
The Public Law Center provides legislative and administrative drafting services to nonprofit and governmental organizations in the New Orleans metropolitan area and throughout Louisiana. The Public Law Center offers its expertise in legislative and administrative research and drafting to organizations and policymakers who are traditionally underrepresented in the legislative process. The Public Law Center also offers the support of students enrolled in its clinical courses in providing research, legislative analysis, and drafting.
Since its inception in 1988, The Public Law Center has been instrumental in the passage of many laws and rules affecting the public interest. A list of these accomplishments can be found at The Public Law Center Legislative and Administrative Accomplishments.
Community Benefit Agreements
Community Benefit Agreements (CBA’s) are a tool developed by social justice advocates, labor organizers, and community groups to address community and labor concerns related to economic development projects. CBA’s are legally enforceable contracts between community coalitions and developers. In exchange for support from community members, developers agree to deliver identifiable benefits to local area residents. CBA’s have been utilized to require that developers build affordable housing, give preference to local residents or low-income individuals in hiring, pay a living wage and provide benefits to employees, use environmentally-friendly building techniques, provide child care, establish job training and placement centers, provide for public green space, and deliver much more to the communities impacted by a proposed development.
On May 11, 2012, The Public Law Center (TPLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) co-sponsored a symposium on Community Benefit agreements (CBAs), entitled "Win-Win-Win: The Advantages of CBA's for the Community, Developers, Government, and You!" This event brought together representatives of local government, a community organization, and a private developer for a case study of successful CBA negotiations in Wilmington, Delaware. The video recording of this event contains eight segments:
Steven Bingler, President of Concorida, offers welcoming remarks and an introduction to the symposium (6 minutes).
David Marcello, Executive Director of The Public Law Center, provides a general overview of CBAs and the CBA negotiation process (22 minutes).
Marvin Thomas, President of the Southbridge Civic Association, describes how the community organization negotiated for benefits to the community with the Peninsula Compost Company (12 minutes).
Nelson Widell, Peninsula Compost Co., details the business advantages of participating in a CBA negotiation with the surrounding neighborhood, and how the agreement leads to mutual gains for the company and community (14 minutes).
Hanifa Shabazz, District Councilmember, describes the importance of CBAs for a struggling community, and her role as a neutral public official who brought this project to the attention of area residents (19 minutes).
William Gilchrist, Director of Place-Based Design and Development for the City of New Orleans, speaks to the importance of utilizing CBAs in New Orleans, and the likely benefits that would result (15 minutes).
Kysha Brown Robinson, Executive Director of the Central City Renaissance Alliance, describes her experiences as a participant in two New Orleans CBA negotiations (12 minutes).
Question-and-Answer Session (51 minutes).
Services to the Community
TPLC's Executive Director published an article in The Urban Lawyer, discussing how CBA's empower community groups in the planning process for major public-private developments: Community Benefit Agreements: New Vehicle for Investment in America's Neighborhoods.
The Public Law Center has worked with community groups in New Orleans on CBA campaigns that encourage developers to partner with community members and contribute substantive benefits to the communities in which they are locating their businesses and developments. Based on this experience, the Concentric Circles Organizing Memorandum was drafted to guide community groups in their efforts to create effective CBA campaigns. In addition, The Public Law Center has drafted the CBC Operating Agreement and Principles, an agreement between Coalition members establishing an organizational structure, leadership, and ethical guidelines that enhance effective opearation of the Coalition. Community groups are free to utilize these model documents for their own Coalitions and to make any changes necessary to meet the particular needs of their Coalition.
The Public Law Center has also published a summary of CBAs enacted over the last decade. This resource may be especially useful for community organizations considering what community benefits to request of a developer: Summary and Index of Community Benefit Agreements.
For more information on CBA’s and CBA campaigns nationwide, visit the websites of the following organizations:
A Project of Partnership for Working Families
Community Impact Research
The Public Law Center conducts policy research and legal analysis projects for nonprofit organizations and community groups. In response to one community organization’s concern about criminal activity around alcoholic beverage outlets in its community, TPLC drafted a summary of legal actions and remedies available to neighborhood organizations in response to. Neighborhood Nuisance Memo. This type of research empowers community members to take action for the betterment of their community.
Summary and Index of Community Benefit Agreements