Last week, Louisiana's regular legislative session ended without the House and Senate agreeing on a state budget for next year. This is, obviously, very bad. The legislature immediately went into special session, with the House convening Monday to once again come up with a new budget bill (HB1).
The previous version of the House budget featured draconian cuts to spending, including an additional $65 million in cuts to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). These cuts would have slashed or eliminated entirely funding for an array of LINCCA (Low-Income and Needy Care Collaboration Agreement) programs relied upon by low-income and needy families.
As a number of you have pointed out, the cuts also would have devastated funding for programs designed to help people with disabilities, including:
⦁ Flexible Family Funds to help financially support developmentally-disabled children through age 18
⦁ Families Helping Families, a non-profit resource center for parents of disabled children
⦁ State Personal Assistance Services (SPAS), which assists disabled persons with daily living
⦁ People First, an advocacy group run by people with disabilities
⦁ Individual and family support services for disabled persons
⦁ School-based health clinics for kids with disabilities
⦁ Behavioral health services for people of all ages with disabilities
We still have time to save these programs. Today's local Call of the Day will be to your state House representative, telling them not to cut funding to the Department of Health!
Thanks to the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council and LaCAN (Louisiana Citizens for Action Now) for the idea for this call.
WHO TO CALL:
If you don't know who your state representative is, go to www.legis.la.gov. Click on "Who are my Legislators?" on the left side of the Home page and enter your address. Then click on your legislator's name to be taken to their website and their contact info. It's actually really quick to do, promise.
EXAMPLE: State Representative Helena N. Moreno: (504) 568-2740, email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Only call your own representative. Be concise - the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer - they don't set policy. If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal -- call back later!
Hi, my name is [Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from]. I don't need a response.
I'm calling because I oppose the cuts to the Louisiana Department of Health that were proposed by the House in the previous version of the state budget. Cuts to LDH's funding will only hurt people with disabilities, even force them into more costly institutional settings. (NOTE: If you have a personal story, please share it!) I do not want any more cuts to the LDH.
Thank you for your time, and your hard work answering the phones.
This call is courtesy of Metairie Indivisible.