April 18, 2017 12:14 PM

Rep. Jean Paul Coussan’s HB299 won unanimous approval from the House Commerce Committee on Monday. The bill would dissolve Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise’s governing commission and hand ownership and operating responsibilities to UL Lafayette.

Coussan introduced the bill at the request of the LITE Commission. “They asked for the bill,” Coussan told The Independent in a telephone interview on Tuesday morning. “Because the center operated as a separate political entity, it created inefficiencies in the way it operated. LEDA, LED and the university agreed that putting the center under the sole control of UL would make it operate more efficiently.”

Coussan’s bill transfers all assets of the commission to UL Lafayette and allows UL’s president to negotiate lease agreements without having to advertise for bids on those leases.

Coussan said LITE will continue to pursue its stated mission of promoting the development of immersive technologies in Lafayette and to recruit companies related to that industry here.

LITE has a super computer linked to the building’s distinctive “cocoon” shell which enables users to walk in visualizations of their data. The center has struggled to find its footing as a public private partnership, having gone through a number of leaders in the 11 years its been in existence.

Coussan calls HB299 “non-controversial” and expects it to move forward fairly quickly.

“We could have a vote on the bill in the House by next week,” Coussan said, noting that the schedule for bills is set by Speaker Barras.

Sponsored by