Senator Jean-Paul "JP" Morrell was born and
raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. The third of four boys, he grew up in the
7th Ward of New Orleans. His parents, Arthur and Cynthia, an attorney and
public school principal respectively, impressed upon him the importance of
education, advocacy and public service from an early age. Both of his
parents served in various appointed and elected positions throughout
He attended McDonogh #15 Elementary School and
graduated from the prestigious Metairie Park Country Day School. He
received his Bachelor of Political Science from Spring Hill College in
Mobile, Alabama before returning New Orleans to earn his Juris Doctorate
from Tulane University Law School.
Before election to the legislature, JP served as
member of the Orleans Parish Office of Indigent Public Defender Program (OIDP)
for Magistrate Court, providing legal services for clients who could not
afford an attorney for misdemeanor offenses.
JP was first elected to the Louisiana House of
Representatives in 2006, in a special election, to fill the unexpired term
of his father, Arthur, who had previously represented House District 97 for
24 years. As a new House Member in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, JP
was heavily involved in recovery efforts, neighborhood participation and
voter advocacy in the wake of that disaster. After being re-elected with
opposition in 2007, JP was selected to chair the House Municipal, Parochial
and Cultural Affairs committee, making him one of the youngest chairmen in
the history of the Louisiana House of Representatives.
In 2008, JP was elected to the Louisiana State
Senate in a special election to replace Senator Derrick Sheppard. Upon
entering the Senate, he was immediately promoted to the chairmanship of the
Senate Municipal Affairs Committee. After his re-election in 2011, he went
on to serve as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary B Committee and, after
being re-elected without opposition in 2015, he is currently the chairman of
the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, which sets all tax policies
for the State of Louisiana.
In his time in the legislature, JP has proven to
be a capable leader who builds bipartisan coalitions to pass complex and
JP has passed extensive ethics and governmental
reform legislation; such as substantially restructuring the Orleans Parish
Sewerage and Water Board for the first time in over 100 years, as well as
banning companies involved in bribery schemes from continuing to contract
with municipal, parish or state entities.
JP also authored comprehensive sentencing and
criminal justice reform. He passed substantial changes to marijuana
sentencing guidelines, building consensus among law enforcement and reform
advocates, to dramatically reduce the penalties for simple possession of
marijuana. JP fought to change the age for adult prosecution in Louisiana
from 17 to 18 years of age, bringing Louisiana into conformity with the rest
of the United States, as part of his extensive juvenile justice reform
package. Additionally, he has authored numerous bills to afford increased
educational opportunities for incarcerated adults as well as legislation to
promote more expansive probation and parole eligibility.
Recently, JP passed sweeping legislation
regarding a plethora of women’s issues, such as; increased transparency of
rape kit testing, comprehensive changes regarding sexual assault on college
campuses, increased protection for victims of domestic violence as well as
expanding the remedies of domestic assault victims to get immediate divorces
and sue their abusers for support. JP is a champion regarding reproductive
rights and has authored bills regarding Equal Pay for Women.
JP currently serves as a member of the Senate
Judiciary B Committee, Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee, Senate
& Governmental Affairs Committee. He also serves on the Select Committees
for Disaster Recovery and Oversight of the Deepwater Horizon Claims
Facility. He serves as a member of the Bond Commission, Joint Legislative
Committee on the Budget as well as Joint Committee on Capital Outlay. JP is
also member of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, the Louisiana Rural
Caucus, the Senate Democratic Caucus, the Orleans Parish Delegation as well
as the Jefferson Parish Delegation.
Outside of the legislature, JP is currently 'of
counsel' with The Middleberg Riddle Group Law Firm, a multi-state law firm,
located in Louisiana and Texas. As an attorney, JP specializes in
insurance, health care, regulatory and compliance law as well as
environmental, land use and zoning advocacy.
JP and his wife, Catherine live in the Gentilly
area within New Orleans with their three children; Jude, Fiona and