June 3, 2013: HB 671 granting additional fees for higher ed, including the LSUSD, was voted successfully out of the Senate this afternoon! Now, on to concurrence in the House and onto the Governor's desk!
May 29, 2013: HB 671 granting additional fees for higher ed, including the LSUSD, passed out of the Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee today! The bill should be headed to the full Senate soon. Session ends June 6.
May 22, 2013: SR 106, the LDA's Senate Resolution that urges BESE and the LA Department of Education to expand/improve oral health education in schools, and HB 671, assisting the LSUSD in collecting a dental protective supply fee and a prosthetic device fee and helping with deferred maintenance costs, both passed favorably out of Senate Education today!
May 21, 2013: HB 671 has been scheduled for Senate Education for tomorrow (Wed., May 22). If your legislator is on Senate Education (http://senate.la.gov/education/Assignments.asp), please contact them right away personally or through the Call to Action emailed out to members this morning!
May 20, 2013: Two bills on Medicaid Expansion had made it out of committee and the house of origin and were still alive in the Louisiana Legislature. Today, one of the last two bills died in the Senate Finance Committee after nearly four hours of testimony.
May 16, 2013: SR106 is the LDA's Senate Resolution and it has been introduced in the State Senate. It urges BESE and the LA Department of Education to expand/improve oral health education in schools.
May 15, 2013: HB 671, assisting the LSUSD in collecting a dental protective supply fee and a prosthetic device fee and helping with deferred maintenance costs, passed out of the House of Representatives 80 to 18.
May 8, 2013: HB 671, assisting the LSUSD in collecting a dental protective supply fee and a prosthetic device fee, passed out of House Education 9 to 3. Also, Medicaid Expansion in LA (HB 233) was amended to copy the Arkansas model, then passed by Health & Welfare 10-9.
May 1, 2013: By a 4 to 3 vote, the Senate health and Welfare Committee voted last night to report favorably (as amended) SB 125, which (if passed and not vetoed) would expand Medicaid in Louisiana to include individuals up to 138% of the federal poverty level under provisions of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ACA or "Obamacare"). The amendments would require that the expansion include subsidizing the purchase of coverage through health insurance exchanges (a.k.a. the Arkansas option) and the automatic termination of the program if federal support ever falls below the levels specified in ACA. The bill now goes to the full Senate. The influx of federal funds resulting from Medicaid expansion could be significant in forestalling steep budget cuts, which undoubtedly is a selling point for many legislators. Since VERY little in the way of dental benefits is required for adults under Medicaid, the main impact on dentistry would likely be more kids who are already eligible actually enrolling as their parents also become eligible. Still, ALL new enrollees are likely to have trouble finding Medicaid providers if reimbursement rates don't increase.
April 30, 2013: HB 194 was reported favorably w/ amendments by the House Education Committee yesterday. The amendments would make the authority to increase tuition granted in the bill contingent upon an institution's performance based on metrics included in the Grad Acts of 2011-12, as well as those established by a new task force. Another amendment will require 10% of the new revenues be used for financial aid. The bill now goes to the full House, so be sure to contact your state representative and urge him/her to support HB 194.
April 29, 2013: Currently, Louisiana is the only state that requires a 2/3's vote of the legislature to increase tuition and fees. The Board of Regents is pursuing legislation (HB 194 by Rep. Walt Leger) that would allow universities (subject to management board's approval) the authority to increase tuition up to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Average. The legislation would also allow institutions to charge differential tuition based upon the cost of a particular program and allow tuition on a per credit hour basis. It is crucial that universities be empowered in setting prices for services within the ceiling of the SREB average. The ability to set the pricing for the goods/services provided is fundamental aspect of our capitalism system and would allow universities to function more like a business. The LDA's support of this bill is in direct relation to its ability to help the LSUSD face past and future budget cuts, and will be even more crucial to sustain the school's four-fold mission of education, patient care, research and community outreach.
At this time, the bill is scheduled to be heard in House Education on Tuesday, April 30. Please contact your Representative and urge them to SUPPORT HB 194!
April 26, 2013: HB 1, the State Appropriations bill that provides for the ordinary operating expenses of state government, is scheduled to be reported out of House Appropriations next week. We need YOUR help in letting legislators know that Louisiana can’t afford to have any additional cuts to Medicaid and specifically to the EPSDT and Adult Denture dental programs. If you are in the district of one of the House Appropriations members, please respond to the Call to Action the LDA sent out this afternoon or call or email them at the following: Capitol House of Representatives line at 225-342-6945 or the committee list and their email addresses can be found at this link: http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Cmtes/H_Cmte_AP.asp.
April 24, 2013: Medicaid Expansion bills are scheduled to be heard before BOTH the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees today. The LDA is not necessarily opposed to Medicaid Expansion in any form but has serious concerns if there are no provisions to address issues that already plague the system, including low reimbursement rates, high rate of "no show" patients, and a cumbersome claims process. A major barrier to access is a lack of providers, and these issues would suggest that it could be problematic to expand Medicaid and expect that there will be enough providers enrolled to provide care to the many new eligibles expansion would create. The proposed alternative being considered for Arkansas would appear to have some merit as private insurer reimbursement rates and the possibility of patient copays might be helpful in addressing some of the aforementioned concerns.
April 15, 2013: In the House Ways and Means Committee, ALL remaining bills to repeal personal income taxes were voluntarily deferred. Committee Chair Joel Robideaux asked the bills' authors to do so, in essence, because there just wasn't the political will to pass a repeal with no consensus plan as to how to make up for the lost income during a time of continuing budget shortfalls.
April 10, 2013: HB 671 by Rep. Franklin Foil authorizes LSUSD to charge students fees for supplies & (2nd yr only) prosthetics. Since LSUSD tuition is among lowest in the country, LDA Council on Govt Affairs voted to support this bill provided the Legislature doesn't use it as an excuse to further reduce LSUSD's state general funds.
The 2012 Louisiana Legislative Session ended Monday, June 4. For a wrap-up of LDA's legislative priorities,
visit the Legislative Session Recap link.
FUTURE SESSION INFORMATION
2013 Regular Legislative Session
To convene at noon on Monday, April 8, 2013.
Final adjournment no later than 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2013.
2014 Regular Legislative Session
To convene at noon on Monday, March 10, 2014.
Final adjournment no later than 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 2, 2014.
2015 Regular Legislative Session
To convene at noon on Monday, April 13, 2015.
Final adjournment no later than 6:00 p.m. on June 11, 2015.
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