LSU Ok to Lease Hospitals Without Lege Approval, DOE Seeks Restructuring
Legislative approval is not required for LSU to lease its hospitals, that’s according to an opinion issued Thursday by State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. A law passed in 1997 gave governance of hospitals to LSU, and a 2003 amendment didn’t include leases on the list of things LSU has to go to the Capitol for – so Caldwell ruled leasing “intentionally omitted.”
The opinion hasn’t stopped the legislature from trying to intervene in privatization. The House moved a resolution to stop the process until the legislature has more information.
Rep. Regina Barrow sponsored the resolution. She said it doesn’t interfere with Caldwell’s opinion.
Teachers unions are saying a bill to restructure the Dept. of Education would mean less accountability for the department if passed. The bill would condense some of its school-subject oriented departments into the teams that conduct outreach programs to local districts.
Mary Patricia Rae testified for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. “By sinking the same amount of money into fewer budget units accounting for specific expenditures will become harder and harder," Rae said. "One would hate to think that the department’s definition of efficiency is devoid of accountability. The same accountability that they tout as all-important.”
Rae pointed to the DOE’s recent appearance before the Appropriations Committee. Lawmakers there were frustrated in trying to pin down contracted expenses.
All but a handful of representatives took part in their annual hour of ethics training Thursday. Ironically, the audio feed from the floor was cut because the House was technically “at ease” for training. One the topics discussed was transparency.