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New AAUW Rankings Released, Louisiana Is Dead Last for Pay Equity

BATON ROUGE — Today the American Association of University Women (AAUW) released their latest state rankings for the gender pay gap, and Louisiana is now ranked dead last for pay equity, with Louisiana women earning 66 cents for every dollar Louisiana men make.

“Louisiana no longer has the privilege of ranking higher than Wyoming — we are now the worst state in the nation for equal pay,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “Senator Mary Landrieu has been a champion on this issue, but Republicans like David Vitter and Bill Cassidy keep voting against equal pay legislation. When Louisiana women earn less, that translates into less money for feeding their families, paying off student loans and saving for retirement. Lawmakers like Cassidy and Vitter are denying economic security for Louisiana families.”

Just last week, Sen. David Vitter joined with 24 of his Senate Republican colleagues in voting to block the Paycheck Fairness Act.

In 2009, Congressman Bill Cassidy also voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The latest AAUW gender pay gap rankings by state and congressional district are available here:



Louisiana Democratic Party Releases New Video: “LAGOP Shutdown”

BATON ROUGE — The recklessness of shutdown fever is catching in Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District, with three of the Republican candidates running for the open seat saying publicly they would back another government shutdown, like the one last fall that cost Louisiana more than $90 million in economic activity.

“The Louisiana Republican Party has become the party of reckless irresponsibility, as their candidates in the Sixth District have enthusiastically endorsed shutting down the federal government and endangering the livelihoods of thousands of Louisiana families,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “But what can you expect when one of their leaders, David Vitter, blithely stated, ‘I’m all for it,’ before the last shutdown?”

At a forum held last Tuesday by the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish, three of the candidates went on the record as backing another shutdown:

Craig McCulloch: “If we have to shut the government down, so be it.”

Lenar Whitney: “I would shut the government down.”

Norman Clark: “In the last government shutdown, the country ran better with the government not there.”

“The voters of Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District deserve a representative that will work across the aisle to find solutions, not someone that merely parrots whatever the Tea Party extremists are saying,” said Handwerk.


Sen. David Vitter Votes Against Equal Pay Legislation… Yet Again

BATON ROUGE – This week equal pay advocates won a victory when the Senate voted 73-25 to move forward with the Paycheck Fairness Act, but Sen. David Vitter sided with extremists in trying to block the bill, despite the fact that Louisiana ranks second-worst in the nation for pay equity.

“Even as more and more Republicans are seeing the light, David Vitter continues to stand in the way of equal pay for equal work,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “Louisiana women earn only 67 cents for every dollar a Louisiana man earns, but Vitter refuses to take action to address this injustice. Louisiana’s working families deserve better.”

On Wednesday Vitter joined with 24 of his Senate Republican colleagues in voting to block the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Vitter has a long history of opposing equal pay legislation. In April, Vitter voted with the entire Senate Republican Caucus and blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. In 2009, Vitter voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored protections against pay discrimination based on sex, race, national origin, age, religion and disability.

According to the AAUW, Louisiana ranks 50th in pay equity, with Louisiana women earning an average of $31,586 annually compared to $47,249 by Louisiana men.

For more on Vitter’s anti-women record, visit


Democrats Call on Jindal to Fund Health Care and Hospitals

BATON ROUGE — Leading Democratic legislators from Baton Rouge gathered Tuesday across the street from the Baton Rouge General Hospital’s Mid-City location to highlight the Jindal Administration’s hypocrisy and call for the governor to accept Medicaid expansion dollars and protect Louisiana hospitals.

Last week, the hospital announced that pressure from uninsured patients would force it to close the Mid-City emergency room. The Jindal Administration responded by claiming it found $18 million to keep the ER open.

Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, also pointed out that Congressman Bill Cassidy has yet to say a public word about the emergency room crisis in his own district.

Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge, reminded voters that accepting Medicaid expansion dollars would help fund all state hospitals.

“We are continuing to fight because more than 240,000 Louisianians don’t have health coverage because they make too much for Medicaid and not enough for subsidies. They have fallen into what we call the Jindal Gap,” Broome said.

“Now it appears our hospitals are starting to fall into the Jindal Gap, too,” Broome said.

“Many months ago Democrats stood in this very spot and warned of the consequences if Louisiana did not accept the Medicaid dollars. We warned that hospitals like Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City Campus were in danger,” Broome said.

“It’s important to remember that when a hospital closes in your community, it doesn’t just close for uninsured people. It closes for everyone. Everyone should care about what’s happening at Baton Rouge General because it could be coming to your community in the very near future,” said Rep. Alfred Williams, D-Baton Rouge.

“As we stand here today, the governor’s hospital privatization deals are still in limbo. Earlier this year the federal government rejected the Jindal Administration’s proposal. This was something that we all warned could happen,” said Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge.

“The hospital privatization scheme by the Jindal Administration has been nothing short of a disaster. But there is a way forward. In states that have accepted the Medicaid Expansion dollars, hospitals are thriving. In states that have not, hospitals are closing,” Smith said.

“This fiasco is far from over. The Jindal Administration claimed to have magically found $18 million to keep open Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City emergency room but they won’t tell us where the dollars are coming from,” Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge.

“I submit to you that they don’t know,” James said.

“Keep in mind that last year’s budget was $24 million out of balance. The Jindal Administration had to borrow money from this year’s budget to close out last year’s budget,” James said.

James also pointed out that projections show a $1.2 billion shortfall for next year’s budget.

“Medicaid expansion could alleviate the problems that we face today. Those are our tax dollars that are going to other states. We want those tax dollars to come to Louisiana to care for our people,” said Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge.

“Silence speaks volumes. Bill Cassidy is the congressman from this district. This hospital is in his district. He holds himself out as a doctor who cares about people. Where is Bill Cassidy today? He has been silent,” said Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans.

“He remains silent while my colleagues in Baton Rouge are struggling to meet the needs of their constituents,” Carter Peterson said. “I’m looking for Bill Cassidy to come to his district and represent the people who are in need of health insurance.”

State Rep. Regina Barrow,  state Rep. Edward "Ted" James, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome and state Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith call for action to prevent more hospitals from falling into the "Jindal Gap."

State Rep. Regina Barrow, state Rep. Edward “Ted” James, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome and state Rep. Patricia Smith call for action to prevent more hospitals from falling into the “Jindal Gap.”


Louisiana Democratic Party Statement Honoring Women’s Equality Day

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Democratic Party today released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson honoring Women’s Equality Day:

“As we recognize the 94th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment as Women’s Equality Day, it’s important to remember the struggle for women’s suffrage was not an overnight victory. It took decades of hard work to enshrine this right in our Constitution, and it took decades more to extend the 19th Amendment’s protections to all women.

“Today American women exercise their right to vote at a higher rate than men, but we still lag in the numbers of women serving in elected office. Louisiana has the lowest percentage of women serving in the legislature of any state in the nation, and we must do more to encourage Louisiana women to run and then train them to win.

“Given the low percentage of women serving in the statehouse, it shouldn’t be surprising that our policies do not reflect the needs of Louisiana women and their families. Our state ranks 50th in the nation for pay equality, and this legislative session we actually went backward on this issue. We have a strong champion on the issue of equal pay in Senator Mary Landrieu, but she’s running against a GOP opponent who has actually voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Paycheck Fairness Act.

“On this Women’s Equality Day I would encourage all Louisianians to honor this day by making a plan to make their voices heard at the ballot box in 2014 and beyond.”


Cassidy Has Been Official Senate Candidate for 24 Hours, Already Violating Senate Rules

BATON ROUGE – Bill Cassidy has been a candidate for U.S. Senate for one day, so perhaps it’s time for the congressman to brush up on Senate rules because he’s already violating a prohibition against the use of coverage of Senate proceedings for political campaign purposes to solicit donations.

“It’s no surprise when a politician like Bill Cassidy that takes his cues from David Vitter would have ethical lapses,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “It’s just surprising that he’s been an official Senate candidate for 24 hours, and he’s already violating the Senate’s rules. Ultimately, Cassidy is just a partisan puppet who will do and say whatever his Republican leaders tell him to do, no matter what the rules are.”

Since last November, Cassidy has featured a YouTube clip that uses C-SPAN 2 footage from the floor of the U.S. Senate and concludes with an appeal for donations.


As recently as this week, operatives from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee, apparently clueless about Cassidy’s ethical transgression, were sharing the video on social media.

Cassidy can’t exactly plead ignorance of Senate rules because the body where he has served for the past six years — the U.S. House — has nearly the exact same rule banning the use of broadcast coverage and recordings of floor proceedings for any political purpose.


Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on the 79th Anniversary of Social Security Act

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Democratic Party today released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson on the 79th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act into law:

“Our nation took a giant step forward 79 years ago today with enactment of the Social Security Act, creating a program that has enabled millions of Americans to retire with dignity. Before Social Security, American seniors were some of our most economically vulnerable citizens. Today they can rely on Social Security to ensure a minimum level of income that has been earned through a lifetime of work. Without Social Security, about half of all Louisiana seniors would slip into poverty.

“Social Security works, but unfortunately, many Republicans, like Congressman Bill Cassidy, want to dismantle or undermine this critical program. Cassidy’s votes to raise the retirement age to 70 are callous and egregious. Louisiana’s seniors deserve better.

“That’s why I’m proud that Senator Mary Landrieu fought back against Republican schemes to privatize Social Security. We can’t leave this vital program up to the whims of Wall Street, and we shouldn’t force seniors to work until age 70 to access the benefits they’ve earned. Louisiana Democrats will keep fighting to preserve Social Security for generations to come.”

Democrats: Protecting Social Security Since 1935


Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on the 49th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Democratic Party released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson on the 49th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law:

“For far too long, the promise of America’s great experiment in democracy was a promise unfulfilled for women and people of color, who were barred from exercising their voting rights. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act 49 years ago today, many barriers to voting came crashing down, and so many who had been disenfranchised were finally brought into the political process.

“As a nation we’ve come so far, but in recent years, voting rights have come under attack in state after state. Burdensome voter ID laws that restrict access to the ballot box for women, people of color, seniors and low-income citizens are not just wrong — they’re un-American.

“The time is right to pass bipartisan legislation to renew the Voting Rights Act. We urge Louisiana’s members of Congress to take action on this critical legislation and ensure every eligible voter can register, that every registered voter can vote and that every vote is accurately counted.”


Louisiana Democratic Party Encourages Louisianians Living or Serving Overseas to Exercise Their Right to Vote

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson today encouraged Louisianians who are living overseas, as well as service members and their families who are stationed overseas, to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4 election and request an absentee ballot at

“There are millions of American citizens who live and work overseas, including many men and women in uniform, and for far too long they have faced too many obstacles in exercising their right to vote,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “However, we have done much in the past few years to streamline the process for overseas and military voters. We encourage all Louisianians who are living or serving abroad to register and request their absentee ballots now, in order to ensure they are counted on Election Day.”

A U.S. citizen living overseas who lived in Louisiana immediately before moving abroad can claim residency for absentee voter registration as long as the voter does not maintain a domicile in another state and is not registered to vote in another state. In order to vote from abroad, U.S. voters must register or request a ballot every year.

The deadline to register before the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 6, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is the day before the election. However, when servicemen and women are stationed in remote locations, mail service can delay the receipt and return of ballots.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) suggests that overseas and military voters register and request an absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application by Aug. 1. Louisiana allows voters to receive their blank ballot via mail, email or fax. Military and civilian overseas voters from Louisiana can complete the Federal Post Card Application using Alternatively, the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website offers its own online application:

The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act requires election officials to send absentee ballots to overseas and military voters starting 45 days before Election Day. FVAP recommends that voters who are overseas or on a deployed naval vessel return their voted ballots by Oct. 7. FVAP suggests that stateside service members and their family members return their voted ballots by Oct. 28.

If overseas or military voters are duly registered and have not received their requested ballot by Oct. 4, they can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot as a backup in order to vote in federal elections. The tool also helps voters properly complete the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot.

Questions about voting from abroad can be directed to:

Since the 1990s, Louisiana has used instant runoff voting for overseas and military voters, which allows them to order their federal candidate preferences in the event a runoff election is needed.


Gov. Jennifer Granholm Will “Power Up” Louisiana’s 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

BATON ROUGE — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will be the special guest “Power Up” speaker at Louisiana’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

“This year’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is all about ‘powering up’ the grassroots, and Governor Granholm will be the perfect speaker to inspire Louisiana Democrats to work day and night to help re-elect Senator Mary Landrieu,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “Her energy and enthusiasm brought down the house at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and we can’t wait to give Governor Granholm a warm ‘Who Dat’ welcome and second-line sendoff.”

Jennifer Granholm is a Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a senior research fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. She served as Michigan’s 47th governor from 2003 to 2011 and as Michigan’s attorney general from 1998-2002. After leaving office, she hosted Current TV’s political news analysis show “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm” and co-authored with her husband, Dan Mulhern, “A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future.” She is co-chair of Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that is supporting Hillary Clinton for President in 2016.

Granholm is one of the nation’s leading authorities on clean energy policy. During her tenure, she pioneered clean energy policies, working with business, labor, Republicans and Democrats, to create new economic opportunities in Michigan. Her leadership attracted to Michigan more than 89,000 clean energy jobs and $9.4 billion in investments in that sector.

Under her leadership, Michigan had the second-highest rate of child health care coverage in the nation. While serving as governor, Michigan was repeatedly named one of the top three states in the nation for business locations or expansions and was twice recognized by The Pew Center on the States as one of the best-managed states in the nation.

The Louisiana Democratic Party previously announced that former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell will keynote the 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

Click here for more information about the 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.


Louisiana Democratic Party Releases New Video: “Vitter’s Homework”

BATON ROUGE — As Sen. David Vitter prepares to tour the state to stoke his gubernatorial ambitions, the Louisiana Democratic Party today released a video of “highlights” from his Baton Rouge Press Club appearance, in which he admitted he still needed to do more “homework” on critical state issues.

“Louisiana needs a governor who has the experience and know-how to do the job on day one — not someone who has been running for the office for months, but still hasn’t done his ‘homework’ to know where he stands on issues like the state budget, Common Core or the levee board lawsuit,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “Vitter’s disregard for the issues facing this state isn’t surprising. He’d much rather campaign than do the hard work of governing. In that regard, he’s very much like his Republican friend and colleague, Bobby Jindal. The voters of Louisiana should send Vitter and Jindal to detention for remedial coursework in Government 101.”

For more information about Vitter’s dismal record, visit


Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson issued the following statement today on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act:

“After decades of activists struggling and fighting against injustice, Congress finally passed the Civil Rights Act, and President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law 50 years ago today. This was a triumph of a grassroots movement that brought together young and old, black and white and people of all faiths standing up and demanding that America fulfill its founding principles for all Americans.

“This is a fight that continues today, for women, for our LGBT brothers and sisters, for people with disabilities and many more who are excluded from participating fully in our democracy, our society and our economy. We cannot truly be free until all of us are free.

“On this day and over the next few months as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer, it is not just a right and a privilege, but it is our duty to take up the mantle of those who fought and struggled and even died to make America a more perfect union. The best way to celebrate today’s anniversary is by reaching out to your friends and neighbors to make sure they are registered and ready to vote this November. Democracy is not a spectator sport, and our nation is stronger when more Americans participate in the process.”



Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on Vitter’s Appearance at Baton Rouge Press Club

BATON ROUGE – The least effective member of the U.S. Senate, David Vitter spoke at the Baton Rouge Press Club today and admitted he still needed to do more “homework” on issues like the state budget, Common Core and the levee board lawsuit.

“Our junior senator took some shots at the governor for campaigning for higher office, but he’s doing the same thing — ignoring his current job, as he positions himself to run for another gig,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “David Vitter is Exhibit A of why Washington doesn’t work — he voted to shut down the government, and he’s held up important legislation time and time again.

“On the issue of Medicaid expansion, we welcome the senator to the conversation about covering more than 240,000 uninsured Louisianians. It’s a shame that he waited until after session to make his opinions known — his voice would have been a welcome one during Senator Ben Nevers’ committee hearing on his constitutional amendment. Just as he’s been working the phones for Congressman Scalise’s leadership run, we hope he’s been working the phones on this issue, too. If he’s truly serious, we hope he will urge the governor and his legislative allies to call a special session to expand access to affordable health care.”

“Ultimately, Louisianians need a governor that is ready to do the job now, someone who has been fighting back against the devastating policies of our current governor, not someone who still needs to do his ‘homework.’”

For more information about Vitter’s record, visit



Vitter’s Anti-Woman Record Grows, Votes Against Burwell as HHS Secretary

Vitter Also Voted Against Clinton, McCarthy and Yellen

BATON ROUGE — In just the latest example of his hostility to women leaders, Sen. David Vitter today voted against the confirmation of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, despite bipartisan support for Burwell’s appointment.

“David Vitter’s record on supporting women nominees to top Cabinet posts is dismal,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “He voted against Sylvia Mathews Burwell, even though she lined up support from noted conservatives like Tom Coburn. It’s just another instance in a pattern of disturbing behavior from our junior U.S. senator.”

Burwell has served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and she is a veteran of the Clinton White House. The final vote on Burwell’s confirmation was 78-17.

Vitter was one of two senators to vote against the confirmation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In addition, Vitter voted against confirming Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, the first woman to lead the Fed.

For more information about Vitter’s record, visit


Gov. Edward G. Rendell to Keynote Louisiana’s 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Aug. 9 in New Orleans

EGRportraitBATON ROUGE — Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell will deliver the keynote address at Louisiana’s 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

“We are thrilled to welcome Governor Ed Rendell to Louisiana for our 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “His leadership on issues like infrastructure and energy makes him a perfect fit for this event, which is focused on getting our grassroots activists and volunteers fired up and ready to help re-elect Senator Mary Landrieu and Congressman Cedric Richmond. As someone who has won tough elections at the state and local level, Governor Rendell knows what it takes to win over Democrats, Republicans and independents, and I can’t wait to hear his message for Louisiana Democrats.”

Rendell is currently an MSNBC contributor and co-chair of Building America’s Future, an organization that focuses on rebuilding and reinvesting in our country’s infrastructure.

Rendell served two terms as governor of Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011 and successfully cut wasteful spending and improved efficiency, leading to budget savings of more than $1 billion. Through his strategic investments, Rendell energized Pennsylvania’s economy, revitalized communities, improved education, expanded access to health care to all children and made affordable prescription drugs available to older Pennsylvanians.

Rendell has also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, as mayor of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2000 and as the city’s district attorney from 1978 to 1985.


Click here for more information about Louisiana’s 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on Close of 2014 Legislative Session

Republican Leadership in the Legislature Failed to Move Louisiana Forward in 2014

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Democratic Party released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson in response to the close of legislative session today.

“This legislative session has been a disaster for Louisiana’s working families. Even though Louisiana is ranked near the bottom in health care outcomes, Republicans blocked legislation that would have let Louisiana decide if we should accept billions in federal dollars to expand access to affordable health care. Meanwhile, the governor’s hospital privatization schemes were rejected by the federal government, and if the administration fails on appeal, Louisiana taxpayers could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Republicans also blocked attempts to increase the state’s minimum wage — a policy that more than 7 in 10 Louisianians support. Republicans and lobbyists for corporate special interests also advanced a ‘faux’ equal-pay bill that will undo all of the good work we did for Louisiana women last year.

“On the other hand, Democrats stood strong this legislative session and beat back a number of bad bills, including attacks on public-sector workers’ rights and attempts to clog our court system.

“Democrats championed issues with broad-based support, but sadly, the Republican leadership in the Legislature failed to listen to the people of this state. Republicans can keep defending corporate special interests and their well-heeled lobbyists. We’ll fight for fiscal responsibility and policies to help working families.”


Louisiana Democratic Party Releases New Video: “Jindalbuster”

Jindal Scheduled to Speak at Republican Leadership Conference Tonight, While Louisiana Legislature Debates Key Issues Before Session Concludes Monday

BATON ROUGE — As Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal prepares to speak at the Republican Leadership Conference tonight in New Orleans, the Louisiana Democratic Party released a new video lampooning the governor’s “Jindalbustering” of reporter Tyler Bridges on questions that he has abandoned his GOP allies in the legislature and ignored his gubernatorial responsibilities.

“It’s not surprising this governor doesn’t want to answer questions about his performance as governor — even though it’s Jindal’s fellow Republicans who are raising those questions,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “Jindal can filibuster all he wants, but the facts are this — his budgets have been fiscally irresponsible, he has slashed higher education by more than any other governor in the nation, and Louisiana ranks at or near the bottom for education attainment, health care and poverty. This legislative session has done nothing to address those issues. Despite Jindal’s protestations to the contrary, it hasn’t been ‘a great session for the people of Louisiana.’ It’s been a disaster.”

Watch the video:

To listen to the original audio, click here:


AUDIO: Louisiana Democrats Conference Call on State Budget

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Democratic Party hosted a conference call with LDP Chair Karen Carter Peterson, House Democratic Caucus Chair John Bel Edwards and activist Bambi Polotzola to provide an update on the status of the state budget.

Click here to listen to the audio:



One Week and Counting… No Plan B in Sight for Louisiana’s Hospitals, State Budget


To: Interested Parties

From: Stephen Handwerk

Date: May 9, 2014

Re: One Week and Counting… No Plan B in Sight for Louisiana’s Hospitals, State Budget


Today marks the one-week anniversary since Gov. Bobby Jindal’s hospital privatization deals were shot down — and the Jindal administration still has offered no Plan B to fix the crisis with our charity and university hospitals or balance the resulting hole in the state budget.

Since last Friday, we have learned the following:

Kennedy: “My immediate worry is this fiscal year. We have funded this fiscal year, which as you know, ends July 1. We have funded higher education’s budget with some of these advance lease payments, which CMS has ruled illegal to the tune of about $35 million. And when you couple that with some other contingencies which I’m afraid aren’t going to happen, I’m worried that we’re going to have a shortage for higher ed this fiscal year to the tune of $35 to $50 million.”

  • Don Gregory, health care adviser to the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, contends that the hospital privatization deals falling through could mean a catastrophic budget deficit in future state budgets of up to $440 million.
  • While the Jindal administration has stated their intention to appeal the CMS ruling, they lost a similar appeal just this week in which the state had overbilled the federal government for hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition, Kliebert has acknowledged that appealing the rejection could take a year, leaving Louisiana’s hospitals and state budget in limbo well into 2015.

Given their track record, the Jindal administration’s assurances don’t exactly inspire confidence. And worse, their explanations are full of holes — just like their budget plan. Clearly Jindal hopes to kick the can down the road for the next governor and hope this Legislature won’t hold him accountable for his fiscal irresponsibility.

Finally, Jindal has refused to consider what columnist John Maginnis called “the only real alternative to the hospital partnerships” — accepting billions in federal Medicaid expansion dollars. WWL-TV commentator and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos has it right: “What Louisiana needs right now is a plan based in reality, not a pipe dream.”


Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on Jindal Hospital Deals Being Rejected

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Democratic Party today released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson in response to the federal government’s decision to reject the Jindal administration’s hospital privatization plans:

“I wish I could say that today’s announcement that our governor’s hospital privatization schemes failed to win approval was a surprise, but it was not. Legislative Democrats have been warning for years that the deals weren’t worth the paper – in some cases blank paper – they were printed on. Moving forward without federal approval was gross negligence on the part of the Jindal administration, and their admission during hearings that they had no Plan B for funding our charity and university hospitals was the height of irresponsibility. Workers have lost their jobs, their benefits and their retirement. Families are hurting. If Jindal were a doctor and not a governor, the people of Louisiana would be suing for malpractice.”



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