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Louisiana Legislative Session Update, 03/08/17

Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards called for an Extraordinary Legislative Session last month to address the $304 million budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2017. The regular session of the Louisiana Legislature will begin on April 10, 2017, ending on June 8, 2017.

During the Extraordinary Legislative Session, which was held February 13-22, 2017 to address the state's current budget crisis and prepare a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, Governor Edwards and legislators did not consider reducing funding for Medicaid Waiver services or Long-Term Personal Care services. In fact, the final budget included language that does not allow the Louisiana Department of Health to make reductions to Medicaid Waivers or Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy for children with autism. 

The 2017 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature will begin on April 10, 2017. Governor Edwards' proposed state budget, released on February 23rd, calls for the Louisiana Department of Health budget to be reduced by $184 million, of which $30 million will be taken from hospital public/private partnerships. Although there are no current plans to reduce Medicaid Waiver services or Long-Term Personal Care services, the following services for people with disabilities will face budget cuts:

  • Early Steps - eligibility will be narrowed
  • Human Service Districts and Authorities - reduced funds for respite, personal care assistance, and emergency situations
  • LA Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN) - budget cut of $250,000

As this is only a proposed budget, it is important people with disabilities and their families and friends speak out to legislators about the importance of these services. Tell your story, and why these services are needed!

Article published: March 8, 2017, 10:00 a.m.