Louisiana's efforts to move more individuals with developmental disabilities out of congregate living and back into the home with supports actually started pretty late compared to the rest of the country.
In the 1980s when other states were beginning to shut down their large, state-run facilities as part of the national de-institutionalization movement, Louisiana was still building. Only in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina forced the shutdown of the New Orleans metropolitan facility did the state start ramping up its de-institutionalizing efforts.
This is the first of a two-part series exploring the progress of that effort over the years since.
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.”
Lawmakers have put the final nail in the coffin to close LSU’s public hospital in North Baton Rouge. In Wednesday’s Joint Budget Committee, the Baton Rouge delegation pointed to gaps in care for pregnant women, prisoners and mental health services.
Sen. Sharon Broome said she was appalled that the decades-old initiative to revamp facilities at Earl K Long morphed into moving services. “And we tried our best to get a new facility," Broome said. "Administrations change, goals change. I understand that. But I am very concerned when goals change and people are not considered.”
The list of people Steve Schapiro has photographed reads more like a Who’s Who list of the 1960s and ‘70s. During his career, Schapiro worked for magazines such as Life, Time, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair and captured the images of influential politicians, celebrities and musicians. He also extensively covered the Civil Rights Movement in the South.
Those icons - Jackie Kennedy, Ray Charles and James Baldwin - are who Schapiro labels "Heroes" in an exhibit of work is on display at the West Baton Rouge Museum in Port Allen.
The Legislature is already taking up Gov. Bobby Jindal’s charge to move a bill to phase out the income tax, just a day after the governor ditched his own plan for repeal. The House will consider sending fiscal-hawk Rep. Kirk Talbot’s six-year income tax phase-out to the House Ways and Means Committee when it convenes at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Governor Jindal’s opening address to the legislature didn’t mention healthcare, higher education, or the budget in general. Instead, he flabbergasted lawmakers and media with a thirteen-minute long speech ditching his plan to raise sales tax revenue to replace the income tax. But he didn’t abandon the initiative altogether.
“I know that several of you have already filed bills to phase-out the income tax," Jindal said. "What I’m here to tell you is this: even as we park our bill, I call on you. Let’s work together. Let’s pass a bill this session to get rid of the income tax once and for all in the state of Louisiana.”
In a 13-minute speech kicking off the 2013 legislative session, Gov. Bobby Jindal said he still wants the legislature to get rid of the income tax in Louisiana, but he let go of his plan for doing so with a big sales tax hike, an increased tobacco tax and the removal of some tax breaks. Listen to the speech in its entirety.