Monday, Jan. 13, 2014

Monday, Jan. 13, 2014

New LBP blog: PAR report on charity hospital partnership notes fiscal uncertainties; Ballard: Unions could help develop workforce; Committee studies pot legalization; Mann: Millennials will transform Louisiana; and LBP hosts free screening of “Inequality for All,” featuring Rob Reich. 7.5 percent – The portion of Louisiana’s labor force that is currently part of a union (Source: The Advocate)

New LBP blog: PAR report on charity hospital partnership notes fiscal uncertainties
If you were too filled with holiday mirth to check the morning papers – especially the Saturday before Christmas – you may have missed the fact that the venerable Public Affairs Research Council released a detailed analysis of the privatization of Louisiana’s charity hospitals. But the 45-page report deserves a close reading, and not just because it echoes many of the concerns raised by LBP and others in the past year. While the jury is still out on whether the partnerships will improve quality and control costs, as Gov. Bobby Jindal touts, the report makes it clear that the deals lack sustainable long-term funding. This, in turn, could lead to cuts in care, unless the Legislature is willing to make up the difference with an infusion of state dollars. You can read LBP’s new blog post about the PAR report, which summarizes the 45-page reports findings and places it within the larger context of Jindal’s rejection to expand the state’s Medicaid program.

Ballard: Unions could help develop workforce
Gov. Bobby Jindal says “workforce development” will be his top priority in the spring legislative session. The administration expects 250,000 jobs to be created in the near future, and training the workers to fill those positions will be the defining challenge of the next few years. While some expect workforce development programs to be offered through the vocational-technical college system, The Advocate’s Mark Ballard asks if unions will play a role in training Louisiana’s workers. Despite their disparate politics, organized labor and corporate management have a record of collaborating on long-term training programs to teach workers new skills. But such cooperation is unlikely in Louisiana, as Ballard notes: “(U)nions — along with gays and lawyers who represent victims against corporations — also are the designated bogeymen of Louisiana politics.”

Committee studies pot legalization
While Louisiana is an unlikely candidate to follow Colorado and Washington in legalizing pot – surveys that show nearly two-thirds of Louisianans favor lower penalties for possession – the state House Criminal Justice Committee will meet this month to discuss the “feasibility and effectiveness” of legalizing marijuana in Louisiana. Lauren McGaughy writes in’s Capitol Digest that state Rep. Dalton Honore, D-Baton Rouge, requested the meeting. Current state law allows anyone possessing any amount of marijuana to be jailed up to six months on a first offense, while repeat offenders can be sentenced up to five years with a $2,500 fine. A third offense can result in a 20-year jail sentence and up to a $5,000 fine.

Mann: Millennials will transform Louisiana columnist Bob Mann forecasts that Louisiana’s politics and culture will look radically different a decade from now due to the state’s changing demographics. As younger adults – called “Millennials” – become more civically engaged and comprise a larger share of the state’s population, Mann writes that the state laws on issues ranging from gay marriage to marijuana legalization are likely to change. Millennials are twice as likely to support both these issues than their parents’ generation. But Mann also notes that millennials will not simply vote for every traditional liberal option; many tilt towards fiscal conservatism.

LBP hosts free screening of “Inequality for All,” featuring Rob Reich
LBP invites you to attend a free screening of the film “Inequality for All.” A passionate argument on behalf of the middle class, the film features former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich as he demonstrates how the massive consolidation of wealth by a few has a devastating impact on our economy and on the foundation of American democracy itself. With the 2014 legislative session fast approaching, this is a unique opportunity to discuss solutions to one of the most pressing issues of our time. The screening will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the Baton Rouge Kress Gallery (447 3rd St. Baton Rouge, LA 70802; entrance on Main St. between 2nd St. and 3rd St.). You can join us for light refreshments beginning at 5 p.m. The film will start promptly at 5:30 p.m., followed by a post-screening Q&A. Seating is limited and available on a first come first serve basis. Please RSVP here so we can provide an adequate amount of refreshments. Note that an RSVP does not ensure a seat at the event.


7.5 percent – The portion of Louisiana’s labor force that is currently part of a union (Source: The Advocate)