Jessica Starns-Debetaz has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s top advisors on alcoholic beverage control law and policy. Born and raised in the Capital Region, Jessica served as the Executive Council and Director of Policy, Legal and Governmental Affairs for the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (“ATC”) from 2009 to 2016. While at ATC, she was seconded to the Governor's office to lead tax and commerce policy during the 2015 legislative session and served as Special Counsel to the Commissioner of Administration from Sept-Dec 2015. In 2016, Jessica launched a boutique legal and governmental affairs firm that now counts as its clients the LA Hotel & Lodging Association, Chase Health Care, and numerous alcoholic beverage, vape, and CBD clients. She also serves as legal counsel to numerous craft breweries and distilleries and national retail alcoholic beverage clients with a primary focus on providing federal, state, and local business licensing and regulatory compliance services.
Jessica is known nationally for her expertise on alcohol and tobacco policy and regulation. She is the author of "The Dangers of Common Ownership in an Uncommon Industry: Alcohol Policy in America and the Timeless Relevance of Tied-House Restrictions," published by the Center for Alcohol Policy in 2017. She has served as a guest speaker on alcohol and tobacco policy at over 25 state and national industry association, legislative, and legal conferences and previously served on the annual symposium policy planning committee for the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association.
During her time at ATC, Jessica was awarded as “Division Star” out of over 700 Department of Revenue employees for demonstrating exceptional personal performance standards. She played a vital role in converting a $500,000 agency deficit to over a $1.2M surplus by developing and implementing solutions to increase productivity and initiating technological advancements. She also drafted and played an instrumental role in the passage of over 55 bills and regulations focused on helping good businesses grow, enabling emerging marketing trends and practices, and simplifying regulatory processes. She is perhaps most proud of developing and executing an ATC initiative to bring public awareness to human trafficking. Jessica now uses these skills to serve her firm’s clients and advance their business agendas.
Jessica is a graduate of Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law where she was appointed to the Honor Council, was an administrative law research assistant, and was a member of the Tax Law Society and Public Interest Law Foundation. Starns obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University with a double major in sociology and mass communications.