Legislative Wrap 2019 | June 2019 | Louisiana Public Square

Legislative Wrap 2019 | June 2019 | Louisiana Public Square

Articles, Blog , , 0 Comments


EXCELLENCE IN LOUISIANA PUBLIC BROADCASTING AND FROM VIEWERS LIKE YOU. HELLO AND WELCOME TO A SPECIAL EDITION OF LOUISIANA PUBLIC SQUARE. I’M BETH COURTNEY, PRESIDENT OF LPB. JOINING ME IS NEWS ANCHOR NATASHA WILLIAMS. BUSY SESSION. IT WAS A VERY BUSY SESSION. IT’S OFFICIAL, THE 2019 LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS IN THE BOOKS. ABSENT THIS YEAR WAS THE BUDGET DRAMA SEEN IN PREVIOUS SESSIONS THANKS TO A SALES TAX PASS LAST YEAR AND AFTER MUCH BACK AND FORTH. DISAGREEMENT THIS SESSION CENTERED ON HOW TO SPEND NEW MONEY RATHER THAN THE USUAL WHERE TO CUT DEBATE. LAWMAKERS APPROVED $30 BILLION STATE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR STARTING JULY 1ST. SPENDING WILL BE INCREASED FOR COLLEGES, HEALTH SERVICES AND EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. THE TOPS TUITION PROGRAM WILL BE FUNDED TO COVER ALL ELIGIBLE STUDENTS. AND 96,000 PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS, SCHOOL PERSONNEL AND SUPPORT WORKERS WILL SEE A BUMP IN PAY. THE ISSUE OF TEACHER PAY RAISES WAS THE TOPIC OF JANUARY’S LOUISIANA PUBLIC SQUARE. QUESTIONS STILL REMAIN. HOW COULD A RAISE BE FUNDED? SHOULD IT BE ACROSS THE BOARD OR USED AS AN INCENTIVE TO RECRUIT NEEDED SUBJECT AREA TEACHERS? WE BROUGHT TOGETHER EDUCATORS, ADMINISTRATORS AND DECISION MAKERS TO EXPLORE THE VALUE OF TEACHERS. WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS WE WERE CALLING BAD THAT WE SAID ARE UNFAIR? WHAT ARE WE SAYING THOSE THINGS ARE? MS. ERIN? INJUSTICES. AMELIA GILLMORE IS USING A BOOK ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT TO TEACH HER SECOND GRADE STUDENTS WRITING, READING AND COMPREHENSION SKILLS. WE’RE LEARNING ABOUT DIFFERENT CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS AND HOW THEY ADDRESSED INJUSTICES AND WE’RE DOING MAIN IDEA AND DETAILS. GILLMORE IS NEW THIS YEAR TO THE BATON ROUGE CENTER FOR VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS. BUT SHE’S IN HER FOURTH YEAR OF TEACHING. A PERK IS A SHARED FUND FOR CLASSROOM SUPPLIES. AN EXCEPTION RATHER THAN THE RULE. PREVIOUSLY, I WAS AT A SCHOOL WHERE I HAD TO SPEND HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS OF MY OWN MONEY SUPPLYING MY STUDENTS WITH SUPPLIES IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE THEM. GENERAL SUPPLIES FOR MY CLASSROOM SUCH AS PRINTER INK AND THINGS LIKE THAT. AND ADDITIONALLY, BOOKS FOR MY CLASSROOM LIBRARY I WOULD PURCHASE. GILLMORE HAS A MASTER’S DEGREE AND EARNS ABOUT $3,000 LESS THAN THE SOUTHERN REGIONAL AVERAGE OF $50,955. LOUISIANA TEACHERS, ON AVERAGE, EARN ABOUT $1200 LESS OR $49,745. GOVERNOR EDWARDS PLANS TO RECOMMEND A $1,000 TEACHER PAY INCREASE TO THE LEGISLATURE THIS APRIL. TEACHERS HAVEN’T RECEIVED A RAISE IN A DECADE. $1,000 IS NOT ENOUGH. KEITH CORVEL L IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS FOR LOUISIANA. HIS GROUP IS PUSHING FOR $3,000 INCREASE. TEACHERS SALARIES ARE FUNDED BY THE STATE THROUGH THE MINIMUM FOUNDATION PROGRAM OR MFP. WITH ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS ADDED BY LOCAL DISTRICTS. BUT HE SAYS A RAISE NEEDS TO HAPPEN AT THE STATE LEVEL. IN ORDER TO INCREASE OUR STATE AVERAGE , WE HAVE TO GO TO THE MFP AND STATE FUNDING SOURCES. AS IT IS NOW, THERE ARE SEVERAL RURAL PERISHES IN LOUISIANA THAT ARE UNABLE TO PROVIDE HIGHER PAY FOR TEACHERS BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE THE LOCAL BASE OF REVENUE. STEVEN IS A MEMBER OF THE MFP TASK FORCE. INCREASING THE AMOUNT OF THE MF P IS ONE OPTION TO FINANCING A PAY RAISE. IF YOU INCORPORATE THE SALARY SUPPLEMENT INSIDE, THE THOUGHT IS IT BECOMES MORE LIKELY TO BECOME A CONTINUOUS OR RECURRING INVESTMENT. THE LEGISLATURE DOING — THAT IS MORE COMMONLY DONE FOR A ONE YEAR OR MAYBE TWO-YEAR INVESTMENT AND NOT AN AUTOMATIC RECURRING INVESTMENT. HE HOPES WHATEVER THE FINAL PLAN IS, IT ADDRESSES TEACHER SHORTAGES AND GIVES DISTRICTS FLEXIBILITY. WE WOULD ENCOURAGE POLICY MAKERS AS YOU IMPLEMENT THIS MUST NEEDED PAY RAISE, TRY TO PRIORITIZE IT IN HIGH NEEDED AREAS LIKE EARLY EDUCATION AND MATH AND SCIENCE. AND THOSE TEACHERS PERFORMING AT A HIGH LEVEL SO YOU CAN REWARD THEM AND ENCOURAGE OTHER TEACHERS TO REACH THAT LEVEL. COMPLICATING THE POSSIBILITY OF A TEACHER PAY RAISE IS THE FAILURE OF LEGISLATURES FORECAST. HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADERS TWICE BLOCKED EFFORTS TO RECOGNIZE $43 MILLION IN NEW REVENUE CITING CONCERNS ABOUT DROPPING OIL PRICES. I THINK IT’S PRUDENT OF THE SPEAKER AND CHAIRMAN HENRY TO WAIT UNTIL WE ACTUALLY HAVE SOME, YOU KNOW, SET NUMBERS AND WE KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH MONEY WE’RE GOING TO HAVE BEFORE WE CAN SAY WHETHER WE CAN AFFORD IT OR NOT. NANCY LANDRY IS REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE AND CHAIR OF THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE. THE MAJORITY OF MEMBERS SUPPORT RAISING TEACHER’S PAY. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THEIR SALARY IS COMPETITIVE. THE ONLY CONCERN IS THAT THERE’S NOT AN APPETITE TO RAISE TAXES. SO IF IT WOULD REQUIRE A TAX INCREASE, YOU WOULD SEE OPPOSITION TO IT. RIGHT NOW, WE’RE STILL HOPEFUL THAT WE CAN ACCOMPLISH SOME SORT OF PAY RAISE WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. LANDRY WOULD ALSO LIKE TO SEE DISCUSSIONS ON INCREASING TEACHER ADVANCEMENT OPPORTUNITIES AS WELL AS EXPLORING WHERE CURRENT EDUCATION MONEY IS GOING. WE’VE BEEN SPENDING AT THE NATIONAL AVERAGE BUT OUR OUTCOMES ARE AT THE BOTTOM. AND SO IT MAKES SENSE TO EXAMINE THE WAY WE’VE BEEN SPENDING THE MONEY AND MAKE SURE WE’RE SPENDING IT IN A SMART WAY IN THE FUTURE. WE WANT TO HAVE DIFFERENT OUTCOMES, BETTER OUTCOMES FOR OUR STUDENTS. LOUISIANA SPENDS OVER $12,000 PER STUDENT ON PUBLIC EDUCATION. JUST $300 LESS THAN THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. OVER 2,000 MORE THAN NEARBY SOUTHERN STATES. YET LOUISIANA RECEIVED A D-MINUS IN 2018 K-12 INDEX. A LARGE PART OF LOUISIANA’S PER PEOPLE SPENDING GOES TOWARDS TEACHERS’ PENSIONS. THERE HAVE BEEN PROPOSALS OVER THE LAST COUPLE YEARS TO MODERNIZE OUR PENSION SYSTEMS AND MAKE THEM MORE RELEVANT TO TODAY’S TEACHERS AND SAVE COSTS FOR THE SUPERINTENDANTS AND SCHOOL BOARDS. THOSE EFFORTS HAVE BEEN BLOCKED BY THE UNIONS AND BY THE GOVERNOR. WE HOPE THEY CHANGE THEIR MIND THIS YEAR. APPROPRIATE TIME TO BRING THAT TOPIC UP. GILLMORE SAYS $1,000 RAISE IS APPRECIATED. AND A GOOD START. BUT THE STATE STILL HAS A LONG WAY TO GO IN TERMS OF VALUING ITS TEACHERS. THERE ARE DAYS WE ACT AS A MOTHER IN ADDITION TO TEACHERS, WE ACT AS A COUNSELOR IN ADDITION TO BEING A TEACHER. WE HAVE AN IMPACT ON OUR STUDENTS INDIVIDUALLY AS WELL AS AN IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY THAT OUR STUDENTS ARE A PART OF THROUGH THE THINGS WE SHARE WITH THEM. WE HAVE SUCH HIGH EXPECTATIONS NOW AND THE BAR HAS RISEN FOR STUDENTS. SINCE THE BAR HAS RISEN SO MANY TIMES, WE TEACHERS ARE EXPECTED TO HELP STUDENTS REACH THAT BAR. WE HAVE HAD TO WORK EXTRA HOURS. LOTS OF EXTRA HOURS. I HAVE NO PERSONAL LIFE. I DON’T HAVE A FAMILY LIFE. I ONLY GET PAID 7.5 HOURS PER DAY FOR 182 DAYS. I CALCULATED THAT I WORK AN EXTRA 500 HOURS PER YEAR WHICH COMES OUT TO BE OVER $19,000. THIS IS MY 35TH YEAR IN PUBLIC EDUCATION. AND I’VE SEEN SO MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES RETIRE EARLY. I’VE SEEN SO MANY OF THEM GO BACK TO GRADUATE SCHOOL AND I’M A SCIENCE TEACHER. THESE FOLKS ARE GOING BACK AND GETTING MASTER’S DEGREES AND GOING TO INDUSTRY AND THEY ARE LEAVING US. I’VE SEEN MORE AND MORE UNCERTIFIED TEACHERS COMING INTO OUR CLASSROOM. AND WE DO THE BEST WE CAN TO SUPPORT THEM. NOT ONLY DO WE TEACH CHILDREN, WE TEACH OUR TEACHERS AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER. THE GOVERNOR MADE A STRONG COMMITMENT HE WILL PROPOSE $1,000 ACROSS THE BOARD PAY RAISE FOR TEACHERS, $500 ACROSS THE BOARD FOR SUPPORT EMPLOYEES. I WAS IN A MEETING WITH HIM TODAY. HE HAS COMMITTED TO MAKING SURE THAT MONEY IS IN HIS EXECUTIVE BUDGET REGARDLESS WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE TALK AND THE DEBATE ABOUT THE REVENUE ESTIMATING AND SO FORTH. HE WILL DEFINITELY HAVE THAT IN HIS EXECUTIVE BUDGET. SHOULD IT BE FLAT ACROSS THE BOARD PAY RAZOR SOME STRUCTURE TO THE PAY RAISE MAYBE GIVING EXTRA WEIGHT TO SPECIAL ED TEACHERS? TO TRY TO LURE THEM IN TO THE PROFESSION? PERHAPS THE GOVERNOR SHOULD BE LOOKING AT THAT APPROACH RATHER THAN SAY ACROSS THE BOARD OF $1,000. BUT MAYBE SOME OF THOSE SPECIAL AREAS GET A LITTLE BIT MORE THAN THE REGULAR TEACHERS. A FLAT RATE ACROSS THE BOARD DOES NOT DO ANYTHING FOR THE DISPARITY BETWEEN DISTRICTS IN REGIONS OF THE STATE. THERE HAVE BEEN SCHOOL SYSTEMS THAT HAVE GONE OUT AND THEY HAVE PASSED SIGNIFICANT PAY RAISES FOR THE TEACHERS IN THOSE DISTRICTS. WHENEVER YOU LOOK BACK AT WHAT THE LEGISLATURE HAD DONE. AND OVER THE YEARS, THEY’VE GIVEN TEACHER PAY RAISES AND DONE IT IN SEVERAL FASHION. NUMBER ONE FLAT PAY RAISE. NUMBER TWO, 2013. AND THEN IT WAS INCORPORATED INTO THE MFP SO THEY COULD BE MAINTAINED. YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE VARIOUS SCENARIOS AND DETERMINE WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPACT A PROFESSION AND BRING IN PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET INTO EDUCATION. TEACHERS NEVER WILL GET RICH ON THE SALARIES THAT THEY MAKE. BUT THAT IS A TRADEOFF THAT WE MAKE WHEN WE GO INTO EDUCATION. KNOWING THERE ARE? PERKS AND OUR PENSION IS ONE OF THOSE PERKS. IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT OUR TEACHERS WERE PAID IN 1994 THROUGHOUT THE NATION, THE ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE HAS THOSE NUMBERS AND THEY ESTIMATED WE WERE BEING PAID ABOUT 2% LESS THAN OTHER SIMILARLY EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS. WE’RE BEING PAID 17% LESS AND THAT’S PROBABLY A GREATER DIFFERENCE TODAY. SO WE CAN’T OR WE AREN’T ACTUALLY KEEPING UP WITH THE SALARIES THAT ARE BEING PAID TO OTHER PROFESSIONALS SIMILAR TO OUR EDUCATIONAL LEVEL. SO WE HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO ATTRACT TEACHERS TO THE PROFESSION. IT’S ONE OF THOSE PERKS AND INCENTIVES TO BRING PEOPLE IN. THE SECRETARIES ARE THE PEOPLE WHO MEET OUR PARENTS OF THE THE CAFETERIA LADIES ARE THE ONES MADE SURE OUR CHILDREN ARE WELL NOURISHED. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE’RE WORKING TOGETHER AND EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL IS VALUED. ALL THESE EMPLOYEES WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ARE EMPLOYEES OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS. THEY ARE NOT EMPLOYEES OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA. AND I HAVE TO QUESTION AS THE LEGISLATURE WHY A LOT OF THESE DISTRICTS HAVE NOT GONE OUT TO THEIR PEOPLE TO THEIR VOTERS TO RAISE MILLAGES, FOR INSTANCE, AND INCREASE PAY LOCALLY. IN ADDITION TO SUPPORTING THE PAY RAISE, THE GOVERNOR IS SUPPORTING AN INCREASE IN THE — THAT’S SOMETHING THAT WILL BE SENT TO THE DISTRICTS THEY CAN USE FOR ANYTHING. IF THEY WANT TO ADJUST SALARY OR OTHER TYPE THINGS. IT IS TOTALLY UP TO THE LOCAL DISTRICTS HOW THEY WANT TO HANDLE THAT MONEY. LOUISIANA SPENDS $12,000 PLUS PER CHILD. $2,000 MORE THAN THE AVERAGE SOUTHERN STATE AND YET OUR RESULTS ARE DEAD LAST. THEY JUST CAME OUT AGAIN RECENTLY THAT WE ARE LITERALLY DEAD LAST IN THE SOUTH. AS A LEGISLATURE, ONE HAS TO ASK IF WE’RE SPENDING SO MUCH. SOME OF IT IS THE OLD UAL. BUT THAT DOESN’T EQUAL THE DIFFERENTIAL. IF WE’RE SPENDING THIS MUCH MONEY AND OUR TEACHERS WHO ARE NUMBER ONE MOST PRIORITY AS FAR AS GETTING QUALITY EDUCATION OR NOT GETTING PAID. WHERE’S THE MONEY GOING? ULTIMATELY, HOUSE MEMBERS IN A UNANIMOUS VOTE APPROVED A $1,000 RAISE FOR K-12 TEACHERS. SUPPORT WORKERS WILL RECEIVE AN ADDITIONAL $500 ANNUALLY. AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL GET $39 MILLION IN SPENDING INCREASES. THE SPENDING PLAN WAS THE SPENDING INCREASE OF THE GOVERNOR’S AGENDA. FIRST STEP IN MOVING TEACHER PAY TO THE SOUTHERN AVERAGE. ANOTHER AGENDA ITEM WAS AN INCREASE TO THE MINIMUM WAGE. THE TOPIC OF OUR FEBRUARY LOUISIANA PUBLIC SQUARE. UNITED WAY REPORT NOTES THAT TWO THIRDS OF JOBS IN LOUISIANA PAY LESS THAN $15 AN HOUR. A CHALLENGING WAGE FOR A HOUSEHOLD WITH CHILDREN. THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE FROM $7.25 TO $8.50 AN HOUR. IS RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE THE BEST WAY TO LIFT RESIDENTS OUT OF POVERTY? EMPLOYERS CAN’T FIND SKILLED CANDIDATES. WE BROUGHT TOGETHER BUSINESS OWNERS, ANTI-POVERTY EXPERTS TO LOOK AT HOW WE CAN MOVE BEYOND THE MINIMUM WAGE. GRACE BAILY’S WEEKLY ROUTINE BEGINS FROM A TRIP FROM HER HOME TO LSU. MONDAYS AND TUESDAYS, 8:30 TO 3:30. AND WEDNESDAY/THURSDAYS I’M INTERNING AT THE FAMILY TREE AT THE CLINICIAN. SO ALL DAY LONG DOING COUNSELING WORK. FROM THERE WILL TEACH A YOGA CLASS AND FRIDAY, SAME THING. AND MEDITATION GROUP. A SINGLE MOTHER RAISING A 9 YEAR OLD, BAILY IS WORKING ON A MASTER’S DEGREE IN SOCIAL WORK. DESPITE HOLDING DOWN TWO JOBS, SHE CONSTANTLY FACES FINANCIAL ANXIETY. THE COST OF LIVING IS EXTREMELY HIGH. AND SO PAYING RENT IS ALWAYS AN ISSUE. AND I TRY TO BUDGET OUT IN ADVANCE. THINGS COME UP. MY CAR BATTERY DIED THE OTHER DAY TRYING TO GET UP AND GO TO BATON ROUGE. I DON’T KNOW HOW I’M GOING TO PAY FOR THAT. BAILY IS A MEMBER OF THE STATE’S WORKING POOR. OVERLOOKED BY TRADITIONAL POVERTY CLASSIFICATIONS. THE UNITED WAY IDENTIFIES THESE INDIVIDUALS AS ALICE. COUNTS THE PEOPLE NOT JUST UNDER THE POVERTY LINE BUT ABOVE THAT LINE WHO ARE STILL WORKING AND HAVING — BUT STILL HAVING A LOT OF TROUBLE MAKING ENDS MEET. YAHN HEADS THE PROJECT. LOUISIANA HAS THE NATION’S SECOND LARGEST POVERTY RATE. WHILE 19% OF RESIDENTS LIVE IN POVERTY, ANOTHER 29% QUALIFY AS ALICE. WHEN WE THINK OF POVERTY IN LOUISIANA, WE THINK ABOUT HALF THE POPULATION HAS TROUBLE MEETING THEIR BASIC NEEDS ON A MONTH TO MONTH WEEK TO WEEK BASIS. THAT PROBABLY NEEDS SOME SORT OF HAND UP IN ORDER TO SURVIVE. SOME OF THOSE HAND UPS INCLUDE LOUISIANA’S EXPANSION OF MEDICAID AND THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR LOW-WAGE EARNERS. ANOTHER BOOST FOR THE WORKING POOR WOULD BE TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE. THIS SESSION, THE GOVERNOR WILL BE PUSHING FOR $1.25 INCREASE. THE FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE HAS BEEN STUCK AT $7.25 SINCE 2009 AND LOST PURCHASING POWER. SO RAISING IT TO $8.50 IS ONLY GOING TO RECOVER A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT WE’VE LOST OVER THE PAST DECADE AND WE THINK IT NEEDS TO GO A LOT HIGH ARE. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS INDICATE 40,000 WORKERS EARN AT OR BELOW THE MINIMUM WAGE. A BUMP FOR THEM WILL LIKELY MEAN RAISING OTHER WORKERS’ PAY. WITH THE LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY. IF I’M MAKING 9 AND NOW I’VE BEEN AT THE BUSINESS FOR SIX MONTHS OR A YEAR AND THE PERSON NEXT TO ME JUST GOT A RAISE NOT BY DOING ANYTHING MATERIALLY, THEY ARE NOT BEING MORE PRODUCTIVE, NOTHING’S REALLY CHANGED, I’M PROBABLY GOING TO WANT A RAISE TOO. SO THIS UPWARD PRESSURE OF WAGES IS WHAT IT CAUSES. AMAR SAYS COMPANIES ARE LEERY OF ACROSS THE BOARD WAGE INCREASE THAT APPLIES TO EVERY TYPE EMPLOYER. THAT SITUATION CAN BE EASILY RESOLVED. LOUISIANA WAS ONE OF THE FIRST STATES IN THE COUNTRY IN THE 1990s TO PASS A STATE LAW THAT FORBIDS CITIES AND MUNICIPALITIES FROM DECIDING ON THEIR OWN WHAT THE MINIMUM WAGE SHOULD BE. IF WE LIFTED THAT LAW, EVERY CITY IN THE STATE CAN DECIDE WHETHER THEY WANT A MINIMUM WAGE. MAY NOT BE A CASE WHERE ONE SIZE FITS ALL. ARKANSAS, A STATE WITH A POVERTY LEVEL CLOSE TO LOUISIANA’S HAS SEEN TWO INCREASES APPROVED BY VOTERS IN 2014. WHILE AMAR ADMITS A SMALL BUMP WON’T BREAK THE ECONOMY, A MEASURE OVERLOOKS THE REMEDY FOR THE WORKING POOR. HOW DO WE TRANSITION THESE PEOPLE, GIVE THEM THE TRAINING THAT REALLY IS GOING TO LIFT THEM OUT OF POVERTY? GIVING ME $40 A WEEK IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE HELPFUL. IF I CAN MAKE ANOTHER 200, 300, $500 A WEEK RATHER THAN 40, THAT’S LIFE CHANGING FOR ME. LOUISIANA BY THE YEAR 2020 WHICH IS UPON US, 53% OF THE JOBS THAT ARE OUT THERE ARE GOING TO NEED SOME KIND OF POST-SECONDARY DEGREE, CREDENTIAL, COLLEGE DEGREE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THE PROBLEM WE HAVE IN LOUISIANA IS ONLY ABOUT 45% OF OUR POPULATION HAVE THAT DEGREE OR CREDENTIAL. BERRY IRWIN HEADS THE COUNCIL FOR LOUISIANA. THE LOUISIANA COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM IS COMBATTING THE STATE’S EDUCATION GAP THROUGH PROGRAMS LIKE WORK READY YOUTH. AND JUMP STARTS. WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO FOCUS ON IS GETTING KIDS WHILE THEY ARE STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL TO GET A CREDENTIAL THAT’S LEADING TO A HIGH DEMAND JOB, A HIGH QUALITY JOB AND A JOB THAT PAYS A GOOD SALARY. THERE ARE ALSO CHALLENGES ON THE EMPLOYMENT SIDE. LOUISIANA BUDGET PROJECT REPORT INDICATES THAT OF THE STATE’S TOP 10 JOB GROWTH OCCUPATIONS, HALF PAY BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR. IN THE SPRING, BAILY WILL GRADUATE. SHE PLANS TO HELP OTHERS LIKE HERSELF WHO FACE FINANCIAL UNCERTAINTY. WHEN YOU ARE IMPOVERISHED, THERE’S ALMOST MORE EXPENSES. APPLYING FOR CREDIT CARDS, THE INTEREST IS GOING TO BE HIGHER. YOU ARE DRIVING A CAR THAT HAS A LOT OF MILEAGE ON IT. AND SO HAVING TO REPAIR THOSE PARTS CONSTANTLY. THERE’S SO MANY THINGS ABOUT BEING IMPOVERISHED THAT BECOME MORE COSTLY IN THE LONG RUN. IT’S EXPENSIVE TO BE POOR. I’M AN ANTI-HUNGER POLICY ADVOCATE AND ONE THING THAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE POPULATION ON FOOD ASSISTANCE IS THAT TWO THIRDS OF PEOPLE RECEIVING FOOD STAMPS ARE EITHER DISABLED, ELDERLY OR CHILDREN. AND OF THE REMAINING THIRD, MOST PEOPLE DO WORK. AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS THE WAGES THEY HAVE AREN’T ENOUGH TO SUPPORT THEM OR THEIR FAMILIES. AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE IS THE PATHWAY FOR A PARENT TO WORK TO CONTINUE SCHOOL, TO ACCESS TRAINING SO THAT THEY CAN POSITION THEMSELVES BETTER FOR A LIVING WAGE JOB. TWO OUT OF EVERY THREE CHILDREN IN OUR STATE HAVE EITHER BOTH PARENTS OR SINGLE PARENTS IN THE WORKFORCE OR IN SCHOOL. SO MANY PARENTS ARE NEEDING TO HAVE RELIABLE CARE NOT ONLY TO GIVE THEIR KIDS A GREAT START IN SUCH AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTAL TIME OF THEIR LIVES BUT IT HELPS THEM TO HAVE WHAT THEY NEED AS A FAMILY TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE WORKFORCE. ABC OFFERS A HIGH SCHOOL OUTREACH. SOMETHING FOR THEM TO DO TO LEARN A TRADE. A LOT OF TIMES IN HIGH SCHOOL, EITHER THEY ARE THINKING I’M GOING TO COLLEGE OR NOT. IF THEY ARE NOT GOING TO COLLEGE, THAT’S THE END OF THE ROUTE. SO WHAT ABC OFFERED BEING ABLE TO SPONSOR THAT INDIVIDUAL, THEY OFFERED OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO LEARN A TRADE. I GOT A TRADE BEHIND ME NOBODY WILL EVER BE ABLE TO TAKE AWAY. AND FROM THAT, YOU CAN PROGRESS AND GROW AND OPEN IT UP A WHOLE NEW LADDER FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, FOR YOUR FINANCES. AND ONCE I’M ACTUALLY IN THAT INDUSTRY, CREATING AN INCOME TO SUPPORT MY FAMILY, I DON’T OWE ANYBODY EITHER. WHAT ARE THE BARRIERS TO INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE? WHAT’S THE BIGGEST HURDLE THAT IS KEEPING THAT FROM HAPPENING? I THINK ONE OF THE BIGGEST BARRIERS IS FOR SOME REASON, SOME OF OUR FRIENDS SEEM TO THINK THE WORLD WILL COME TO AN END. IF WE INCREASE THE MINIMUM WAGE, BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO FLEE. BUSINESS IS GOING TO GO TO OTHER STATES. GUESS WHAT? YOU WON’T FIND ANY LOWER THAN US. THE REALITY IS THE WORLD WILL COME TO AN END HASN’T PROVEN TO BE TRUE. EVERY TIME THE MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE AND ON AND ON, THOSE WHO SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE BAD WERE PROVEN TO BE WRONG. FOR A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER WHICH IS VERY DIFFERENT THAN A LARGE BUSINESS OWNER, THEY ARE GOING TO DO BUSINESS DIFFERENTLY. AND WHENEVER YOU FORCE DOWN ARBITRARILY HIGHER LABOR COSTS ON A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, THEY ARE ALREADY DOING WHAT THEY CAN TO MAKE THEIR BOTTOM LINE WORK TO KEEP EMPLOYEES WORKING. THEY ARE DOING EVERYTHING TO KEEP THEIR DOORS OPEN AND CREATE JOBS. SO THE SECOND YOU PUT DOWN ARBITRARY NEW LABOR COSTS WHICH IS VERY EXPENSIVE, THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE DECISIONS AND MAKE ONE OF FEW DECISIONS. ONE IS DO I CUT HOURS ON THOSE HOURLY EMPLOYEES? DO I CHOOSE CHEAPER LABOR AS IN PART TIME? OR GO TO LESS EXPENSIVE LABOR THAT THEY ARE GOING TO GET SOMEBODY WITH EVEN LESS EXPERIENCE? OR DO I CUT JOBS? $1.50 AN HOUR IS NOT GOING TO RAISE ANYBODY OUT OF POVERTY OVER THE NEXT YEAR OR SO. SO WHAT DO WE REALLY NEED TO BE DOING TO DO THAT? SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS, ONE OF OUR BIGGEST ISSUES AND TOP PRIORITIES IS NOT HAVING SKILLED WORKERS. NOT HAVING PEOPLE WITH SOFT SKILLS OR PARTICULAR SKILLS TO BE ABLE TO FILL THE JOBS THEY HAVE OPEN. A MEANINGFUL INCREASE MAY NOT MOVE EVERYONE OUT OF POVERTY, IT’S GOING TO MOVE PEOPLE CLOSER TO BEING OUT OF POVERTY. AND WE HAVE TO TAKE MODEST BUT MEANINGFUL STEPS. WE DO NOT — IT’S NOT THE GOAL TO PUT ANYONE OUT OF BUSINESS. THE MINIMUM WAGE IS NOT CURRENTLY WAGE RECORDS FROM LOUISIANA EMPLOYERS BEAR OUT IT IS NOT AN ENTRY LEVEL WAGE. NEARLY 20% OF OUR WORKERS REMAIN AT THAT WAGE FOR OVER A YEAR. AND IT’S PRIMARILY WOMEN OVER THE AGE OF 24. WOMEN TAKING CARE OF CHILDREN. WHICH MEANS ARE CHILDREN SUFFER. SO ANYTHING WE CAN DO TO HELP OUR CHILDREN WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. AND THERE IS ALSO THE GENDER GAP. WOMEN IN LOUISIANA EARNING 69 CENTS TO THE DOLLAR TO A MAN. AND AFRICAN AMERICAN AND LATINO, WE’RE GOING TO EARN EVEN LESS. ATTEMPTING TO ELIMINATE THE GEOGRAPHIC DISPARITIES TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES IN EVERY PLACE SO THAT EVERYONE HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET TO THAT MIDDLE CLASS STATUS. THIS YEAR, WE’RE ON PACE FOR 30,000 GRADUATES ON AVERAGE WILL EARN $45,000 A YEAR. WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT OUR PER CAPITA INCOME AT JUST OVER 25,000. NEARLY DOUBLING THE INCOME BY COMPLETING AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE OR SHORT-TERM CERTIFICATION IN OUR COMMUNITY OR TECHNICAL COLLEGES, IT’S A GAME CHANGER. CHANGES AROUND CHILD CARE, TRANSPORTATION, FOOD SECURITY. WE COULDN’T BE MORE PROUD OF THE WORK WE’VE DONE. THE REALITY IS WE HAVE MUCH MORE WORK TO BE DONE. WE’RE WORKING VERY CLOSELY WITH A NUMBER OF OUR PARTNERS IN THE WORKFORCE COMMISSION IN DCFS AND OTHERS TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR STUDENTS TO HAVE BENEFITS LIKE SNAP, LIKE HEALTHCARE BENEFITS ON THE COLLEGE CAMPUS. SHORT-TERM OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE A BENEFIT TO SOMEONE HELPING THEMSELVES TO MOVE OUT OF POVERTY. SO 20 YEARS, I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT THE NEXT 20 YEARS WILL HOLD AS A RESULT OF THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING HAPPENING AT OUR COLLEGES. WELL, WHEN ALL WAS SAID AND DONE, THE LEGISLATURE HANDED GOVERNOR EDWARDS HIS FOURTH DEFEAT IN ATTEMPTING TO DECREASE THE MINIMUM WAGE. PROPOSAL TO LET VOTERS DECIDE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT WAS PULLED ONCE IT WAS EVIDENT IT LACKED THE SUPPORT NEEDED. THE HOUSE LABOR COMMITTEE VOTED DOWN BILLS AND REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR LOUISIANA WOMEN. IN MARCH AS THE NATION’S CLEEJ AT BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP KICKED OFF, FOCUSED ON ANOTHER ISSUE. THE LEGALIZATION OF SPORTS BETTING. FOLLOWERS OF MARCH MADNESS WAGERED $8.5 BILLION DURING THE TOURNAMENT. WHILE EFFORTS TO ALLOW SPORTS BETTING FAILED IN 2018, A RENEWED PUSH WAS MADE THIS SESSION WITH SOME LAWMAKERS SUGGESTING REVENUE BE DEDICATED TO EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. WE BROUGHT TOGETHER OPPONENTS AND PROPONENTS WHAT ARE THE ODDS? SPORTS BETTING IN LOUISIANA. THE SUPREME COURT RULED SPORTS BETTING IS ALLOWED IN ALL 50 STATES. SINCE THEN, THERE’S BEEN A RACE TO LEGALIZE IT. TODAY THERE ARE ABOUT 7 STATES THAT ARE FULLY IN ON SPORTS BETTING. YOU HAVE SOME ISOLATED SPORTS BETTING AT TRIBAL CASINOS. AND IN 20 OTHER STATES, IT’S BEING DEBATED RIGHT NOW. RONNIE JONES IS CHAIRMAN OF THE GAMING CONTROL BOARD. HE SAYS NEIGHBORING MISSISSIPPI IS AMONG THOSE STATES WITH SPORTS WAGERING ALREADY UP AND RUNNING. I THINK IN THE FIRST FIVE MONTHS THAT IT WAS LEGAL OVER THERE, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN SEPTEMBER AND DECEMBER, THE AMOUNT WAGERED WAS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF $160 MILLION. IN FACT, THE 12 CASINOS ALONG MISSISSIPPI’S GULF COAST BROUGHT IN MORE MONEY LAST YEAR THAN THEY HAVE IN THE PAST DECADE. IN LOUISIANA, RIVERBOAT CASINOS SAW REVENUE DROP 5% IN FEBRUARY COMPARED TO LAST YEAR. WHILE SPORTS BETTING ISN’T A HUGE MONEY MAKER, JONES SAYS IT’S USED TO ATTRACT ADDITIONAL INCOME FROM NONGAMING ACTIVITIES. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO MAY NOT HAVE BEEN INCLINED TO GO TO A CASINO BEFORE. BUT THEY ARE INCLINED TO GO SPEND TIME IN A SPORTS BAR, PLACE A COUPLE BETS, HAVE A MEAL AND SPEND THE NIGHT. IF I WAS A BETTING PERSON, I’D SAY THIS WILL PASS. THEY ARE INTRODUCING SPORTS BETTING PROPOSALS THIS SESSION. SENATOR MARTINI WILL BE BRINGING THE SPORTS BETTING BILL LAST SESSION. AND THAT AUTHORIZES GAMING THAT WOULD HAVE TO BE PUT THROUGH A STATEWIDE ELECTION. A STATEWIDE VOTE IN NOVEMBER WHICH LEGALIZED FANTASY SPORTS GAMES ONLINE FOR CASH PRIZES PASSED IN 47 OF LOUISIANA’S 64 PARISHES. SPORTS FANS WILL HAVE TO WAIT TO PLACE THEIR BETS UNTIL THE STATE DETERMINES HOW TO TAX AND REGULATE IT. UNDER MARTINI’S CURRENT BILL, SPORTS BETTING WILL ONLY TAKE PLACE IN BRICK AND MORTAR ESTABLISHMENTS. I THINK OUR INITIAL INTENT IS TO START WITH THE FACILITIES THAT ARE ALREADY LICENSED FOR GAMING WHICH WOULD BE LAND BASE CASINO, 15 RIVERBOAT CASINOS AND FOUR RACETRACKS. TOTAL OF 20 LOCATIONS. THE AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION AND INDUSTRY GROUP ESTIMATES TAX REVENUE FROM LEGALIZED SPORTS BETTING COULD BE 52 TO 62 MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR. WHERE THIS MONEY WILL GO REMAINS TO BE SEEN. THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT WANTING TO DEDICATE IT TOWARDS EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. ALSO HAD PEOPLE CONTACT ME TO SAY WE WANT TO DEDICATE THAT STRICTLY TO INFRASTRUCTURE. THE INITIAL VERSION OF THIS BILL IS GOING TO START OUT WITH THIS MONEY GOING INTO THE GENERAL FUND. IT’S A BAD BET FOR THE STATE OF LOUISIANA. BAD BET FOR THE FAMILIES IN LOUISIANA AND BAD FOR CHILDREN. GAMBLING’S ONLY PRODUCT ARE LOSERS. GENE MILLS IS PRESIDENT OF LOUISIANA FAMILY FORUM. THE GROUP SAYS IT IS COMMITTED TO DEFENDING FAKE, FREEDOM AND THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY. OBJECTIONS IS THAT IT FURTHER EXPANDS MISLEADING BUSINESS MODELS. WE TELL PEOPLE PLAY EVERYDAY AND GET LUCKY EVERY NIGHT. THAT’S NOT TRUE. NOBODY’S CALLED THEM ON THAT. THERE’S A DEPRECIATION OF THEIR PROMISES IN TERMS OF WHAT THEY RETURN ON INVESTMENT TO THE COMMUNITIES AND IMPACT UPON FAMILIES, UPON INDIVIDUALS AND UPON BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITIES THAT THE REVENUES DO NOT NEARLY OFF SET. MILLS SAID 2016 STUDY BY YOU KNOW YOU KNOW OF LOUISIANA WHICH FOUND OVER 200,000 RESIDENTS EXPERIENCE SOME PROBLEM WITH GAMBLING ADDICTION. AND ASK ANYBODY AT DCFS OR DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HOSPITALS, DOES LOUISIANA INCUR THE COST OF THOSE FAMILIES WHO IMPACT THOSE 200,000 FAMILIES? AND THEY WILL TELL YOU ABSOLUTELY AND IT’S A STEEP PRICE. ANOTHER OPPONENT IS THE NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION. THE GROUP WAS ONE OF THE LOSING PARTIES LAST MAY. THE NCAA IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE SPORTS AND ATHLETES. PAUL WEST IS AN ATTORNEY WHO SPECIALIZES IN CASINO GAMING LAW. HE SAYS HIGH STAKES GANLING CAN CREATE SITUATIONS WHERE A STUDENT ATHLETE MAY BE LURED INTO ALTERING A GAME OUTCOME. THIS HAPPENED TO A BASKETBALL PLAYER CHARGED WITH POINT SHAVING IN 1985. IT WAS A TULANE UNIVERSITY SHUT DOWN THEIR PROGRAM FOR I THINK CLOSE TO TEN YEARS. A FELLOW WAS INDICTED. AND TWO OR THREE OTHER PEOPLE. WILLIAMS WAS CHARGED WITH SEVERAL COUNTS INCLUDING ACCEPTING BRIBES. BUT FOUND NOT GUILTY. OTHER CRITICS SEE SPORTS BETTING AS A FURTHER EXPLOITATION OF COLLEGE PLAYERS AND AMATEUR STATUS. THEY ARE NOT MAKING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THEY ARE IN THE NBA. AND AGAIN, HERE WE ARE BETTING ON STUDENT ATHLETES TOO YOUNG TO EVEN MAKE A BET. AND SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT’S AN ABUSE AND TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THE YOUNG COLLEGE STUDENTS. NO MATTER WHAT TYPE OF SPORTS GAMING LEGISLATION IS PROPOSED, THE GAMING BOARD WON’T TAKE A POSITION. BUT FROM A REGULATOR STAND POINT, THE PUBLIC IS ALWAYS BETTER SERVED IN A REGULATED GAMING MARKET COMPARED TO UNREGULATED MARKET. AND HUGE UNREGULATED MARKET TODAY. MY QUESTION DEALS WITH THOSE COLLEGE ATHLETES. I GRADUATED FROM A COLLEGE THAT WAS ROCKED BY A SCANDAL IN 1950. AND PLAYERS WERE PRESSURED BY THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY TO SHAVE POINTS AS WAS MENTIONED EARLIER IN THAT VIDEO CLIP. WHAT WOULD BE DONE TO PROTECT COLLEGE ATHLETES FROM THE UNDUE PRESSURES THAT WILL BE PUT ON THEM? EVEN PUTTING ASIDE THE ENORMOUS SOCIAL COST THAT ATTEND THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY IN THE WAY WE HAVE SEEN, THERE’S SO MANYING NATURAL RESOURCES. GAMBLING IS AN MIRAGE. IT DISAPPEARS AND WE HAVE TO BUILD OUR STATE ECONOMY ON SOMETHING STRONGER THAN THAT. SO NOW THAT MISSISSIPPI HAS PASSED SPORTS BETTING, WE’RE LOSING TAX REVENUE. THE GAMBLING ENTHUSIASTS IS GOING TO GO TO MISSISSIPPI. SO WE HAVE TO RECAPTURE THAT. IF WE’RE GOING TO PASS THIS, WE NEED TO HAVE THINGS IN PLACE. THEY NEED TO PUT MORE REVENUE INTO TREATMENT. WE NEED ANOTHER INPATIENT FACILITY. IF THEY ARE GOING TO PROVE THIS, WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE. SPORTS BETTING, THE WAY I HAVE ALWAYS DESCRIBED IT IS NOTHING MORE THAN AN AMENITY TO CUT OFF THE ABILITY OF MISSISSIPPI AND ARKANSAS AND THE INDIAN CASINOS TO CHERRY PICK OUR GAMBLING. WE’RE STILL GOING TO HAVE THE PROBLEMS EVERYBODY IS MENTIONING. THE PROBLEM WE HAVE NOW IS THEY GO TO MISSISSIPPI. WHEN THEY COME BACK HERE WE HAVE TO TREAT THEM. BAD PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DO BAD THINGS. AS MANY LAWS AS YOU PASS AND AS MANY RULES. I CAN’T TELL YOU NOBODY IS GOING TO BRIBE A BASKETBALL PLAYER. IT EXISTED WHENEVER THE SCANDAL WAS BEFORE WE REGULATED GAMING IN THE STATES. OUR PASTORS KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. THESE PEOPLE ARE COMING AND HAVING TO USE OUR FOOD PANTRIES TO HELP THESE FAMILIES THAT RESULT FROM PROBLEM GAMBLING IN THE STATE. WE’VE GOT TO ADDRESS THAT. IF WE DON’T THINK ABOUT THAT AND DON’T PUT OUR ARMS OUT AND SAY WE’VE GOT TO STOP, WE’RE GOING TO CREATE A HORRIBLE SITUATION WE’LL NEVER GET AWAY FROM. AS FAR AS CHILDREN GAMBLERS, WE’RE ALREADY AT ABOUT AN AVERAGE OF 40% THAT ARE ENGAGED IN GAMBLING RIGHT NOW. WE’VE GOT TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO THAT. AND, AGAIN, WHEN WE LOOK AT WHAT GAMBLING ADDS TO THE BOTTOM LINE ON THE REVENUE SIDE OF THE LEDGER, WE NEED TO LOOK AT WHAT IT TAKES AWAY FROM ON THE EXPENSE SIDE. AND RIGHT NOW, JUST FOR ABOUT 100,000 PATHOLOGICAL GAMBLERS WE HAVE, IT NULLIFIES ALL THE PROFITS WE HAVE THAT ARE GOING INTO THE STATE COPPERS. SPORTS FANS, VERY INTERESTING TOPIC. LOUISIANA THERE ARE A LOT OF FACTORS THAT MAKE IT OF A LOT OF INTEREST TO PEOPLE GOING BY HOW MUCH FEEDBACK I GET WHENEVER I WRITE ABOUT IT. A LOT OF PEOPLE IN LOUISIANA ARE BIG SPORTS FANS BETWEEN THE SAINTS, PELICANS AND LSU. MISSISSIPPI HAS IT, WHY CAN’T WE? THERE’S GOING TO BE A BIG PUSH. BUT HAVING WATCHED CONSISTENT FIGHTS OVER THE BUDGET AND EVEN IF IT’S A SMALL POCKET OF MONEY, EVERYBODY HAS THEIR DESIGNS ON IT. THAT’S WHERE WE’RE GOING TO SEE SOME OF THE TENSION COME UP IS WHERE SHOULD THE MONEY BE DEDICATED TO IF IT’S DEDICATED ANYWHERE AND HOW PEOPLE SQUARE THAT ALL OUT. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THERE IS THERE’S MOBILE NOW ON THE STATE. AND OUR RESEARCH, WE FOUND IT’S OVER 100 WEB SITES YOU CAN GO ON TO RIGHT NOW AND PLACE BETS IN OFF SHORE ACCOUNTS. SO THAT IS A CONCERN ALWAYS FOR US. WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY GOING TO THESE WEB SITES FOR US TO REGULATE. WHETHER THE LEGISLATURE GOES TO MOBILE OR NOT MOBILE, RIGHT NOW, IT IS SOMETHING THAT’S HERE THAT WE CANNOT REGULATE. SPORTS GAMING APPEARED TO BE A SURE BET IN APRIL BUT BEGAN TO FALL APART IN LATE MAY. SENATOR’S BILL HAD GOOD SUPPORT IN THE SENATE BUT HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE IT WAS LOADED WITH AMENDMENTS ON REQUIRING LEAGUES LIKE THE NFL TO BE THE OFFICIAL PROVIDERS OF SPORTS DATA AND ALLOWING SPORTS GAMING IN THE 28,000 VIDEO POKER ESTABLISHMENTS. AFTER THOSE AMENDMENTS, THE BILL LOST SUPPORT FROM THE LOUISIANA CASINO ASSOCIATION AND THE GAMING COMMISSION. LAWMAKERS FAILED TO PASS PROPOSAL ON THE FINAL DAY OF THE SESSION. IN A BIZARRE TWIST, LEGISLATURES FAILED TO APPROVE THE TAX MECHANISM. THAT PUTS PLAYING ON THE ONLINE GAMES APPROVED BY VOTERS IN 47 LOUISIANA PERISHES IN LIMBO. LOUISIANA’S DEATH PENALTY HAS BEEN IN LIMBO FOR OVER FIVE YEARS. THE STATE’S USE OF LETHAL INJECTION WAS PUT ON HOLD IN 2014. AFTER A COURT CHALLENGE, LOUISIANA HAS BEEN UNABLE TO PURCHASE THE DRUG IT USES IN THE PROCESS FOR SEVERAL YEARS. THIS SESSION MEASURES TACKLING THE ISSUE FROM OPPOSING SIDES. THEY WERE INTRODUCED, ONE, TO MAKE IT EASIER TO GET LETHAL DRUGS BY LETTING PROVIDERS REMAIN ANONYMOUS. AND ABOLISH CAPITAL PUNISHMENT ENTIRELY. IN MARCH, LOUISIANA PUBLIC SQUARE HEARD PASSIONATE VOICES FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE DEATH PENALTY DEBATE. OPPONENTS WHO SAY IT’S EXPENSIVE AND MORALLY WRONG AND IT BRINGS JUSTICE TO CRIME VICTIM’S FAMILIES. TOGETHER, WE EXPLORED THE PENALTY OF DEATH. ON NOVEMBER 19TH, 1995, WAYNE AND CAROL GAZARDO’S LIVES TOOK A PAINFUL DETOUR. IT’S BEEN MISERABLE. ME AND MY WIFE ARE NOT THE SAME ANY MORE. THAT SUNDAY MORNING, THEIR DAUGHTER WAS KILLED BY PREPARING A DEPOSIT FOR THE RESTAURANT SHE MANAGED. TODD FOLLOWED THE BARTENDER INSIDE AND SHOT HIM. TODD WENT LOOKING FOR STEPHANIE WHO AFTER HEARING GUNFIRE HAD CALLED 911. WHILE SHE WAS ON 911, SHE GAVE HIM THE MONEY. AND WAS BEGGING HIM NOT TO KILL HER. PLEASE DON’T KILL ME. AND HIS EXACT WORDS WERE SHUT UP, BITCH AND HE SHOT HER. INJURED ANOTHER EMPLOYEE AND ATTEMPTED TO SHOOT HER IN THE HEAD BUT HIS GUN MISFIRED. HE FLED AND WENT CLOTHES SHOPPING. THEY CAUGHT HIM IN GARLAND, TEXAS NINE DAYS LATER. THEY BROUGHT HIM BACK TO BATON ROUGE AND STARTED OUR ORDEAL. OVER THE NEXT 21 YEARS, HE APPEALED HIS CONVICTION BUT REBUFFED EACH TIME. HIS LAST DENIAL WAS IN 2018 BY THE U.S. SUPREME COURT IN AN 8-1 DECISION. DURING HIS DEATH SENTENCE IS IN LIMBO. AHOLD WAS PUT ON EXECUTIONS IN 2014 AS RESPONSE TO LAWSUIT AGAINST THE LETHAL INJECTION PROCESS. SEVERAL YEARS AGO, THERE WAS A CASE IN ANOTHER STATE WHERE THAT PROTOCOL WAS USED AND AN INMATE — IT WASN’T EFFECTIVE. AND SO GROUPS CAME IN, FILED LAWSUITS THERE AND HERE AND MANY OTHER STATES BASICALLY ALLEGING IT WAS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT. WILL BETTER IS LOUISIANA’S CHIEF DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL. HE SAYS RATHER THAN POSTPONING THE LAWSUIT WHICH LOUISIANA HAS DONE FOUR TIMES, THE STATE SHOULD FIGHT IT. HE ALSO PROPOSES OPTIONS TO THE CURRENT INJECTION PROCESS AND HOW TO SECURE THE NEEDED DRUGS. SEVERAL STATES HAVE CHANGED THEIR PROTOCOL AND MOVED TO A DIFFERENT SET OF DRUGS. SOME OF THEM GO TO A TWO-DRUG PROTOCOL. MOST STATES HAVE ALSO GONE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE DISCLOSURE OF THAT INFORMATION, THE SUPPLIER OF THE DRUGS AND THE SUPPLY CHAIN OF THE DRUGS, MAKING THAT A NONPUBLIC RECORD AND CONFIDENTIAL. MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES WILL NOT SELL CERTAIN DRUGS TO LOUISIANA IF THEY WILL BE USED IN LETHAL INJECTIONS. PROPOSED LEGISLATION THIS SESSION WILL ALLOW COMPANIES WHO PROVIDE THE DRUGS TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS. GOING TOWARD AN AVENUE WHERE WE’RE SECRETING THE IDENTITIES, I THINK WE HAVEN’T GOTTEN TO A PLACE WHERE OUR SYSTEM HAS ENOUGH INTEGRITY TO DO THAT. ALANA IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ACLU OF LOUISIANA. THE GROUP IS OPPOSED TO THE DEATH PENALTY. AND CITES A LARGE NUMBER OF LOUISIANA DEATH SENTENCES THAT ARE REVERSED OR OVERTURNED. PER CAPITA, WE HAVE THE FOURTH HIGHEST EXXON RATION RATE. OUR RATE OF OVERTURNING SENTENCES OF CONVICTION IS ABOUT 85%. AND WE’VE HAD 11 EXONEREES OVER THE LAST DECADE. THE DEATH SENTENCE IS HANDED OUT DISPROPORTIONATELY TO BLACKS. 66% OF THE PEOPLE ON DEATH ROW ARE AFRICAN AMERICAN. AND OF THE STATES AROUND THE COUNTRY WITH MORE THAN THREE PEOPLE ON DEATH ROW, LOUISIANA HAS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF AFRICAN AMERICAN PEOPLE ON DEATH ROW. WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT A SYSTEM THAT CONTINUES TO TARGET AFRICAN AMERICAN PEOPLE TO BE EXECUTED IS SIMPLY UNCONSCIONABLE. IT’S AN ABSOLUTE WHETHER IT’S THE UNBORN, ACCIDENTALLY BORN OR THOROUGHLY GUILTY. IT’S MORE EXPENSIVE THAN LIFE IN CARS RATION. THE MAJORITY ON THE FRONT END. WE HAVE TO HAVE ANOTHER TRIAL FOR DEATH PENALTY TRIAL. HAVE TO HAVE THE GUILT PHASE AND IF THERE’S A CONVICTION OF A DEATH ELIGIBLE OFFENSE, THEN YOU HAVE THE PENALTY PHASE. IT’S GOT TO THE POINT THAT ONLY 8 OF OUR DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ARE USING THE DEATH PENALTY ANY MORE. THE REST OF THEM HAVE THROWN IN THE TOWEL BECAUSE OF THE EXPENSE. THIS SESSION STATE SENATOR A REPUBLICAN IS JOINING WITH DEMOCRAT REPRESENTATIVE TERRY LANDRY TO SPONSOR LEGISLATION WITH A GOAL OF ABOLISHING THE DEATH PENALTY. ATTORNEY GENERAL STYLES SAYS THE PUBLIC HAS SPOKEN. AND INCUMBENT ON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH TO CARRY OUT JURY DECISIONS. PROOF THE PROCESS WORKS. EVERYONE WHO GETS SENTENCED TO DEATH HAS A FULL OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE HIS CASE VETTED BY MULTIPLE COURTS AND WHEN HE GETS TO THAT FINAL JUDGMENT AND THAT CASE IS OVER WITH, WE CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT PERSON HAS HAD ONE OF THE FAIREST MOST DUE PROCESSES IN ALL OF THE WORLD. THEY SAY THEY WOULD NEVER WANT TO SEE AN INNOCENT PERSON EXECUTED. THE FACTS ARE THERE. THE WITNESSES ARE THERE. THE EVIDENCE WAS THERE. THE BALISTICS WERE THERE. EVERYTHING PROVED HIM GUILTY. WE WANT JUSTICE. THERE IS NEVER CLOSURE. WE WILL TAKE THIS TO OUR GRAVES WITH US. I WAS ON DEATH ROW. I WENT IN AT THE AGE OF 21 AND FALSELY CONVICTED. WHAT HAPPENED? MY SON DIED OF PNEUMONIA. I WAS CHARGED WITH SMOTHERING AND WENT TO PRISON FOR IT. I NEVER WANT TO SEE AN INNOCENT MAN BE EXECUTED. WITH THE AMOUNT OF APPEALS WE WENT THROUGH 23 YEARS. ALL KIND OF OBJECTIONS AND EVERYTHING. FOR 23 YEARS HE WAS FOUND GUILTY. WENT ALL THE WAY TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT. VOTED 8-1. AND I TAKE IT AS AN INSULT WHEN SOMEONE SAYS THAT IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE TO EXECUTE. THEY ARE PUTTING A PRICE TAG ON MY DAUGHTER’S LIFE. THE EVIDENCE THAT WE HAVE SHOWS THAT LOUISIANA DISPROPORTIONATELY TARGETS PEOPLE OF COLOR. IS LOUISIANA HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST RATES OF EXXON RATIONS AND ONE OF THE HIGHEST RATES OF DEATH PENALTIES THAT ARE OVERTURNED. I WANT JUSTICE FOR MY DAUGHTER. THAT’S WHAT I WANT. AND I DON’T CARE. YOUK WHEN WE WERE TOLD — DO YOU THINK WHEN WE WERE TOLD IF OUR DAUGHTER WAS KILLED THAT WE ASKED WHETHER HE WAS PURPLE OR GRAY OR BLACK OR GREEN? NO. HE KILLED OUR DAUGHTER. WE LOST ONE OF THE MOST PRECIOUS THINGS IN OUR LIFE OTHER THAN OUR SON. SO DO I HAVE ANY SYMPATHY FOR HIM? NONE AT ALL. I THINK VIOLENCE — I THINK DEATH IS SO FINITE AND PERMANENT THAT TAKING A LIFE IS A FORM OF VIOLENCE WHETHER IT’S THE GOVERNMENT EXECUTING OR THE VIOLENCE ON THE STREET. IF WE ARE REALLY GOING TO PRACTICE LIFE AND THE SANCTITY OF LIFE, I WOULD HAVE TO SAY WE HAVE TO PROTECT IT. THERE ARE PEOPLE I BELIEVE THAT SHOULD NOT BE AMONG US IN SOCIETY. AND SHOULD BE PUT IN A PROPER PLACE. AS I INQUIRE ABOUT THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT COMMIT SOME OF THESE CRIMES THAT ARE HEINOUS, MANY OF THEM HAVE MENTALLY DISTURBED. ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY SINCE 2007. IF YOU LOOK AT THOSE 7 STATES, THEY ARE TINY STATES. AT LEAST IN MARYLAND AND NEW MEXICO, THE RATE OF MURDER SKY ROCKETED. NOW, THERE HAVE ONLY BEEN TWO OR THREE YEARS SINCE THE STATES HAVE ABOLISHED IT. THAT’S TRUE. I CAN SHOW YOU THE STATISTICS FROM THELE DEATH PENALTY CENTER THAT SHOW THAT. LOUISIANA’S DEATH ROSE AS TWICE AS MANY AFRICAN AMERICAN PRISONERS ON IT AS MAKE UP THE POPULATION OF OUR STATE. IT IS DOUBLE THE RATE. THERE ISN’T THE SLIGHTEST QUESTION IN TERMS OF MURDER RATE, RATE OF PROSECUTIONS FOR THE DEATH PENALTY. PEOPLE WHO WILL BE OFF AND PEOPLE WHO JURIES WILL GIVE THE DEATH PENALTY TO THAT THERE IS A HUGE INCREASE IN THE IMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY ON AFRICAN AMERICAN DEFENDANTS AND CHARGED WITH KILLING A WHITE PERSON. WE HAVE 33 COUNTS OF DEATH PENALTIES. WHEN YOU GO TO THE MAJORITY OF THOSE AND I DON’T HAVE THE EXACT NUMBER. PROBABLY THE MAJORITY OF THEM WERE PROSECUTED BY AFRICAN AMERICAN PROSECUTORS IN FRONT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN JUDGES WHO YOU WOULD THINK WOULD BE SENSITIVE TO THIS ISSUE. AND WE HAD DEATH PENALTY AFTER DEBT PENALTY RETURNED WITH AN AFRICAN AMERICAN PROSECUTOR IN FRONT OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN JUDGE. SO WE HAVE GREAT DIVERSITY NOW. AND I DON’T THINK THAT’S HAPPENING. PEOPLE WILL SAY THOSE EXXON RATIONS ARE FROM THE BAD OLD DAYS OR DEFENSE LAWYERS WEREN’T WELL TRAINED. HE WAS CONVICTED OF A CRIME HE DIDN’T COMMIT AND SENTENCED TO DAEKT ONLY A FEW YEARS AGO UNDER THE MODERN SYSTEM. JUST SOMETHING HUMAN BEINGS SHOULDN’T BE MESSING WITH. WE’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR IT. SINCE 2017 THAT 53 PEOPLE CONVICTED OF FIRST DEGREE IN THE STATE OF LOUISIANA HAVE HAD THEIR SENTENCES COMMUTED. DO YOU KNOW THAT? 53. I KNOW THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I TOOK A PLEA TO FIRST OR SECOND DEGREE. I TOOK THE DEATH PENALTY OFF THE TABLE AND TOLD A FAMILY THAT THAT PERSON WHO KILLED THEIR LOVED ONE WOULD BE THERE FOREVER. I CAN’T TELL THEM THAT ANY MORE BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW. REPUBLICAN SENATOR PUT AN AMENDMENT ABOLISHING THE DEATH PENALTY WAS REJECTED 25-13. DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE TERRY LANDRY PULLED HIS BILL SINCE THERE WASN’T ENOUGH SUPPORT IN HIS CHAMBER. AND AFTER BEING APPROVED IN THE HOUSE, A PROPOSAL KEEPING LETHAL DRUG PROVIDERS CONFIDENTIAL WAS REJECTED IN THE SENATE COMMITTEE OVER TRANSPARENCY CONCERNS. AND A WIN FOR THE GOVERNOR TWEAKED TO HIS 2017 CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM LEGISLATION ULTIMATELY GAINED THE SUPPORT OF STATE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS. WHILE WE PREPPED YOU THE MAJOR TOPICS, THE LOUISIANA THE STATE WE’RE IN BROUGHT YOU A LEGISLATIVE WRAP. THROUGH WOETH PROGRAMS, LPB IS ABLE TO PROVIDE VIEWERS WITH UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FROM DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE STATE. I INTERVIEWED SEVERAL LAWMAKERS FROM AROUND LOUISIANA TO EXPLAIN THE WINS AND LOSSES TO THEIR DISTRICTS. ROADS AND EDUCATION IS TWO OF THE TOP PRIORITIES WITH OUR CITIZENS ANY TIME THAT YOU TALK ABOUT THEM, WE’VE DONE A LOT OF OTHER THINGS HERE THIS SESSION. BUT THOSE ARE THE TWO MAJOR PIECES. AND I THINK WHEN WE GET BACK HOME AND PEOPLE SEE WHAT’S HAPPENED, THEN I THINK THEY SHOULD FEEL GOOD ABOUT THIS SESSION. SENATOR FANNON SAYS ONE BILL HE PASSED WILL HELP ENCOURAGE THE FARMERS OF HIS RURAL DISTRICT. FUTURE FARMERS OF AMERICA WERE DWINDLING IN NUMBERS. WHAT I DID IS PASS A PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT EXEMPT SALES TAX ON ALL PURCHASES FOR STUDENT FARMERS. SO THEY GET A BREAK WHEN THEY ARE PURCHASING THESE THINGS WHEN THEY WANT TO SHOW AN ANIMAL AND DO SOMETHING IN THE GARDENING ASPECT THAT TEACHES THEM WHAT AGRICULTURE IS TRULY ABOUT. THEN WE’RE GIVING THEM THE BREAK OF SALES TAX. WE DIDN’T DO MUCH IN TERMS OF TAX REFORM WHICH I KNEW BECAUSE IT WAS AN ELECTION YEAR. STILL COULDN’T PASS MINIMUM WAGE. THE SESSION WAS SUCCESSFUL. THE TEACHERS GOT A PAY RAISE FOR THE CAPITAL REGION. WE MADE A REALLY BIG INVESTMENT IN SOME OF OUR LONGSTANDING PROJECTS. SO WE WERE ABLE TO MOVE SOME DOLLARS FROM THE BP SETTLEMENT AND FOCUS THOSE ON INFRASTRUCTURE. AND IN THAT BILL INCLUDED A BIG PROJECT FOR EVERYONE ACROSS THE STATE. A PERSONAL WIN FOR REPRESENTATIVE TED JAMES CAME ON HOUSE BILL 358 DEALING WITH MEDICAL MARIJUANA. THE HOUSE PASSED A MEASURE THAT WOULD LET CANNABIS PATIENTS USE AN INHALER LIKE ASTHMA PATIENTS USE. THE BEAUTY OF IT IS SO MANY SENATORS THAT VOTED AGAINST IT ON SUNDAY NOT ONLY VOTED YES BUT TOOK TO THE FLOOR BECAUSE THEY RECEIVED CALLS FROM FOLKS IN THEIR DISTRICTS. IT SHOWED HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR EVERYDAY CITIZENS TO REALLY BE A PART OF THE PROCESS. THOSE PERSONAL CALLS REALLY IMPACTED. AND WE PICKED UP 12 VOTES. WE GOT IT OFF THE FLOOR WITH 31 VOTES. BEEN A LEARNING EXPERIENCE. LIKE TURNING OVER IN SCHOOL. EACH DAY IS A NEW DAY. YOU THINK YOU KNOW SOMETHING AND THE NEXT DAY, YOU DON’T KNOW TOO MUCH. WAYNE McMAN HAD SEVERAL BILLS PASSED. ONE DEALT WITH THE REBRANDING OF HIS COLLEGE. TECHNICAL COLLEGE IN MENDON. CONVERTED IT TO A COMMUNITY TECHNICAL COLLEGE. THAT’S VERY IMPORTANT MOVING FORWARD. IT’S GOING TO HELP US CONTINUE TO DO WHAT WE’VE DONE FOR THE LAST 40 PLUS YEARS AND EDUCATE THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN IN OUR PERISH AND REALLY ALL OF NORTHWEST LOUISIANA. WE WERE PUSHING FOR SOME RELATED TO CHILDREN IN PARTICULAR FOSTER CHILDREN AND THE WAY THEY ARE FUNDED AND HOW THE FINANCES REALLY STAYED WITH THE PARENTS INSTEAD OF GOING WITH THE CHILDREN. AND THAT BILL WILL NOW MAKE SURE THE CHILDREN ARE TAKEN CARE OF THROUGH WHATEVER SOURCE OF FUNDING AND SUPPORT ALL THE WAY THROUGH REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY ARE. STATE REPRESENTATIVE MIKE JOHNSON WAS ONE OF 14 FRESHMAN TACKLING HIS FIRST SESSION. ANOTHER BILL HE PROPOSED AND PASSED DEALT WITH ELDER CARE. A BILL RELATED TO HEALTHCARE AND MAKING SURE WE PROTECT THE ELDERLY AND BACKGROUND CHECKS ARE RUN ON PEOPLE THAT HAVE ANY KIND OF CARE WITH OUR ELDERLY AND THOSE MOST VULNERABLE. IN A WAY, IT’S BEEN TEDIOUS IN SOME INSTANCES. I THINK THE THINGS WE’VE GOT NOW ARE MOST IMPORTANT. THE TEACHER PAY RAISES AND THE MONEY WE’VE GOTTEN. STATE REPRESENTATIVE PAT SMITH LIKE MANY OTHERS VOICING HER DISAPPOINTMENT IN FAILED ATTEMPTS TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE AND EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN. SO UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND THE WORTHWHILE THAT MINIMUM WAGE EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN. BECAUSE WE ARE AN IMPOVERISHED STATE. HELPS US MOVE PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY. AND THAT’S IMPORTANT THEY DON’T RECOGNIZE IT. THE NEXT ELECTION CYCLE ROUGHLY ONE-THIRD OF STATE LEGISLATURES ARE TERM LIMITED AND BEFORE THE NEXT ELECTION, WE WILL BE HIGHLIGHTING — THESE ARE POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA. THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS RESEARCH COUNCIL AND COMMITTEE OF 100. THEY ARE VITAL TO LOUISIANA’S FUTURE SUCCESS BECAUSE WE NEED TO LEARN THE BACKGROUNDS OF IMPORTANT ISSUES. YOU MAY LEARN MORE AT RESET-LOUISIANA.COM. YOU CAN VIEW ALL THE EPISODES ONLINE AT LPB.ORG/PUBLICSQUARE OR ANY OF THE LOUISIANA PUBLIC SQUARE PROGRAMS ON THE NEW LPB APP. BROWSE THE RECENT ONES UNDER NEWS. OR CLICK ON THE ARCHIVE LINK TO FIND OLDER EPISODES. COMING UP IN THE NEW SEASON WHERE WE HAVE DIALOGUE ABOUT DIFFICULT TOPICS, DID YOU REALIZE LOUISIANA LEADS THE COUNTRY IN THE RATE OF YOUNG PEOPLE MURDERED THROUGH GUN VIOLENCE AND UNINTENTIONAL SHOOTINGS. FIND OUT WHAT THE STATE IS DOING TO COMBAT GUN VIOLENCE ON YOUTH AND GUNS WEDNESDAY JULY 24TH HERE ON LOUISIANA PUBLIC SQUARE. THANKS FOR WATCHING AND GOOD NIGHT. GOOD NIGHT, EVERYONE. FOR A COPY OF THIS PROGRAM, CALL 800-973-7246 OR GO ONLINE TO LPB.ORG.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *