Log in

Log in

Public Policy & Advocacy

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • February 29, 2024 10:37 PM | Anonymous

    Gov. Jeff Landry's proposed state budget has raised concerns due to its significant reduction in funding for domestic violence victims, particularly for shelters. The change will reform the current criminal justice overhaul from 2017. The removal of $7 million from the state operating budget could result in the closure of new shelters and the scaling back of existing ones, affecting services for victims across Louisiana.

    Domestic violence is highlighted as a critical public safety issue in Louisiana, with statistics showing high rates of female homicide and a significant portion of victims being killed by intimate partners. Despite this, the reasons behind the funding cut for domestic violence shelters remain unclear, as the Landry administration has not provided a response.

    The $7 million allocation for shelters, added by the Louisiana Senate in 2023, was initially understood by advocates to be a permanent increase in funding. However, the Landry administration has described it as temporary, one-time support, leading to uncertainty regarding future funding.

    Gov. Landry's focus on other public safety measures, such as increasing prison expenses and funding for state police, alongside the reduction in funding for domestic violence shelters, has raised questions about budget priorities. Advocates argue that domestic violence shelters play a crucial role in supporting crime victims and preventing further violence.

    The Louisiana Legislative Auditor's investigation in 2021 highlighted the urgent need for more shelter beds for domestic violence victims, pointing out the significant gap between available spaces and the number of requests for shelter beds. The lack of a domestic violence shelter in central Louisiana, despite high demand, underscores the necessity of adequate funding and support for such services.

    Advocates emphasize the importance of domestic violence shelters in saving lives and breaking the cycle of violence. The potential closure of satellite locations and the inability to expand services, such as children's programming, due to funding cuts could have detrimental effects on victims and their families.

    Legislators, including Senate President Pro Tempore Regina Barrow, have expressed disagreement with Gov. Landry's decision to remove funding for domestic violence shelters and plan to prioritize reinstating the $7 million allocation during budget discussions.

    Overall, the proposed budget cuts for domestic violence shelters in Louisiana have raised concerns among advocates, legislators, and communities about the impact on victim support services and public safety efforts.

  • February 20, 2024 10:09 AM | Anonymous

    Attracting and retaining quality employees remains a pressing problem entering 2024. Solving it could well depend on their ability to connect with a generation whose members are widely viewed as socially attuned, altruistic, demanding and digitally always on.

    As Glassdoor observed in a 2024 workplace trends report, shifting workplace generational dynamics have created “a pivotal moment of cultural change that U.S. companies cannot ignore as Gen Z workers—who care deeply about community connections, about having their voices heard in the workplace, about transparent and responsive leadership, and about diversity and inclusion—make up a rapidly growing share of the workforce.”

  • February 20, 2024 10:08 AM | Anonymous

    special session of the Legislature began on Monday, February 19th at 1pm which Landry had called to fulfill his campaign promise of cracking down on lawlessness. The Republican governor urged lawmakers to approve a slate of tough-on-crime bills. The package of legislation seeks to reverse laws that trimmed Louisiana’s highest-in-the-nation prison rolls over the past seven years and saved the state nearly $153 million, according to a new audit.

  • February 20, 2024 10:06 AM | Anonymous

    DCFS Secretary David Matlock was recently interviewed on Talk Louisiana with Jim Engster to defend the state’s refusal of Summer EBT dollars that equates to $70 million in federal match from a state investment of $7 million. Matlock said this summer the state will provide 1.8 million more meals than before the pandemic to children in a congregate setting, he said that’s more ideal than adding funds to an EBT card.

  • February 20, 2024 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    The $2.5 billion Blue Cross-Elevance deal was rocked by a week of opposition.

    The proposed sale of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana to Elevance Health, along with the creation of the $3 billion Accelerate Louisiana Initiative, raised concerns regarding the governance structure of the foundation overseeing the funds. The changes included offering the new governor, Landry, a change to appoint a board member to the foundation, known as Accelerate Louisiana, while Temple would get a nonvoting seat.

    In addition, policyholders complained about how much of the deal’s proceeds they stood to receive. Doctors and hospitals worried about negotiating reimbursements with a larger company. Lawmakers — notably, many traditionally pro-business Republicans — feared rising health insurance costs.

  • February 16, 2024 11:46 AM | Anonymous

    What are Donor Advised Funds??

    Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are philanthropic vehicles that allow donors to make charitable contributions, receive an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants from the fund over time. Section 4966 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) governs the taxation of distributions from DAFs to public charities.

    Here's a review of the tax implications of table distributions from DAFs under Section 4966:

    1. Tax Deductibility of Contributions: Contributions to a DAF are tax-deductible in the year they are made, subject to certain limitations based on the donor's adjusted gross income and the type of asset contributed. Donors can contribute cash, appreciated securities, real estate, or other assets to a DAF.
    2. Tax Treatment of Distributions: When a donor recommends a distribution (grant) from the DAF to a qualified public charity, the amount distributed is not taxable to the donor, as long as it meets the requirements of Section 4966.
    3. Distribution Requirements: Distributions from DAFs must be made to qualified public charities, which are organizations described in IRC Section 170(b)(1)(A) or (B)(1)(A) (excluding private foundations). Distributions cannot be used to fulfill a legally binding pledge or satisfy a pre-existing legal obligation of the donor or related parties.
    4. Tax on Excess Benefit Transactions: If a distribution from a DAF is used to pay for goods or services that confer more than incidental benefits on the donor, advisor, or related parties, it may be considered an "excess benefit transaction." In such cases, penalties may apply to the donor, advisor, or related parties under Section 4958.
    5. Tax Reporting: DAF sponsoring organizations are required to report distributions made from DAFs on Form 990, the annual information return filed by tax-exempt organizations. Donors who recommend distributions from their DAFs do not need to report these distributions on their individual tax returns since they are not considered taxable income.
    6. Potential Impact on Estate Taxes: Contributions to DAFs can also reduce a donor's taxable estate, potentially resulting in estate tax savings for larger estates.

    Overall, Section 4966 provides a tax-efficient way for donors to support charitable causes through DAFs while maximizing tax benefits. However, donors should ensure compliance with the IRS regulations governing DAFs to avoid potential penalties and maintain the tax-exempt status of their contributions. Consulting with a tax advisor or financial planner familiar with charitable giving strategies can provide personalized guidance based on individual circumstances.

    SOURCES FOR THIS ARTICLE: Taxes on Taxable Distributions From Donor Advised Funds Under Section 4966

  • February 16, 2024 11:42 AM | Anonymous

    The executive budget presented by Gov. Jeff Landry's administration in Louisiana outlines several key points and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year:

    1. Reduction in Spending: The budget proposes a significant reduction in spending by $3.3 billion compared to the current year's budget. This reduction is attributed to the drying up of federal funds for COVID-19 response and the impending expiration of a temporary sales tax, which is projected to create a shortfall of over $500 million.
    2. Balanced Budget Requirement: Louisiana's state constitution mandates a balanced budget, meaning there cannot be any deficits when legislators finalize the budget during the regular session.
    3. Preparation for Shortfall: To prepare for the future shortfall, the administration has directed state agencies to find ways to reduce spending, including holding off on filling vacancies and other measures.
    4. Teacher Pay Stipends: The budget allocates $198 million for teacher pay stipends, similar to last year's proposal for teacher pay increases. However, the details of how this money will be divided among teachers and support staff are yet to be determined. The stipend is not proposed to be made permanent at this time due to the projected shortfall.
    5. Early Childhood Education Funding: Funding for early childhood education remains consistent with the previous year, with the Child Care Assistance Program receiving $87.7 million.
    6. TOPS Funding: The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) will be fully funded at $307 million.
    7. Major Repairs and Projects: $127.1 million will be allocated for major repairs and projects, including wildfire response equipment, air conditioning at a corrections facility, and replacing State Police vehicles.
    8. Healthcare and Public Safety: There is a $116 million reduction to the Louisiana Department of Health for Managed Care Organization (MCO) utilization, enrollment, and premium tax changes. Additionally, the Department of Corrections will receive an additional $20.5 million for operations, compensation, and supplies, while State Police will get $32.4 million, including funding for an additional New Orleans troop.
    9. Surplus Funds: An estimated surplus of $325 million from FY23 will be allocated, with $81 million going into the Rainy Day Fund and $32 million into Unfunded Accrued Liability. The remaining surplus will be divided among various departments and projects.
    10. Special Session: A special crime session is set to begin on Feb. 19, followed by the regular legislative session starting on March 11, during which the budget will be debated and potentially amended.

    In addition, the funds bill includes allocations for new voting machines and emergency response funds for future disasters. Overall, the budget reflects the administration's efforts to address fiscal challenges while prioritizing key areas such as education, public safety, and infrastructure.


    Gov. Landry presents first budget with $3.3 billion reduction

  • February 16, 2024 11:37 AM | Anonymous

    The ongoing debate over the Congressional Map for Louisiana has taken another turn with the filing of the Callais v. Landry case, which alleges that the newly passed and signed map constitutes an unconstitutional racial gerrymander and violates the 14th and 15th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. This case involves a 12-plaintiff challenge and will be heard by a three-judge panel, including one judge from the 5th Circuit and two from the Western District of Louisiana.

    The map in question, which was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by Governor Landry, includes the creation of a second majority-Black District as ordered by U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick in the Robinson v. Landry case. This new district stretches from Baton Rouge through Alexandria to Shreveport. The goal of the redistricting was to comply with federal and state laws regarding equal distribution of residents among congressional districts based on population changes reflected in the U.S. Census.

    However, the plaintiffs in the Callais v. Landry case argue that the new map constitutes an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, potentially jeopardizing its adaptation for the 2024 congressional elections. If the three-judge panel rules in favor of the plaintiffs and finds the map to be unconstitutional, it could lead to further revisions or challenges to the congressional district boundaries in Louisiana. Until the case is resolved, the fate of the newly drawn map remains uncertain.

    Sources for this article are:  Mapping the Future Article       Voter's Sue over Louisiana's Second Majority Black District

  • December 07, 2023 1:49 PM | Anonymous

    The rumor is that Congress may adjourn for the holidays sooner rather than later. That means some major issues may be punted until 2024; however, giving is still down and the challenges nonprofits face continue to rise. Please take a few minutes to read the message below to remind Congress that there is a bill ready for their support and urge them to take action when they return in early 2024.

    Please tailor the message below to your nonprofit services, challenges and community support, and the difference that can be made if Congress passes the bipartisan Charitable Act (H.R. 3435/S. 566). Louisiana delegation members need to hear from you, your board members, volunteers, and community and business allies this week or early next. Nonprofits are important to all communities, but particularly vital to rural communities where they oftentimes fill in gaps of service where budgets are often limited. Shelly Dupré can provide you with email addresses for key contacts for your Representatives and Senators.


    Representative/Senator ______:

    I write to ask that you not leave DC for the holidays before taking action to advance legislation to promote charitable giving tax incentives. As you may know, charitable organizations saw a drop in giving in 2022, the year after the nonitemizer tax deduction expired. Late last month, the results from Giving Tuesday were flat and, alarmingly, the number of donors declined by 10%. These declines in resources for the work of charitable nonprofits come at a time when demand for services continues to rise and when organizations face unprecedented stresses due to natural disasters and other challenges.

    The Charitable Act (S.566 / H.R. 3435) would be a direct and immediate solution that would create a non-itemizer, universal charitable deduction. Specifically, the bill would enable taxpayers who take the standard deduction (about 88% of taxpayers) to deduct charitable donations of up to one-third of the standard deduction, or about $4,600 for individuals and $9,200 for married couples based on the current standard deduction.

    I am attaching a letter signed by more than 1,000 charitable organizations from all 50 states explaining the need for and impact of this vital legislation.

    The needs of the people charitable nonprofits serve and whom you represent are too important to ignore. Before Congress adjourns for the holidays, I ask you to cosponsor the Charitable Act and press for the expanded charitable giving incentive be included in any year-end legislation that goes to the House and Senate floors. 


    (Your name, title and organization)

  • December 07, 2023 8:56 AM | Anonymous

    Jan Masaoka, CEO of CalNonprofits, recently published an article (below) that is certainly worth a share. She very accurately provides a case for advocating for your nonprofit in addition to your specific issues. It's also worth noting that advocacy doesn't only extend to traveling to the State Capitol during the legislative session when there are a million things going on and where you are amongst a million people vying for the attention of a few legislators. Advocacy happens year-round and it includes making a plan to not only regularly visit your state legislators, but also your mayors, city council members and others who are both directly and indirectly influenced by your organization. These are also the people who travel to the Capitol during the legislative session when you may not have the time nor resources to do so. If you've built the relationship long before the legislative session, the chances of your issues and specific nonprofit garnering the attention needed should increase exponentially. To put it another way, start looking at advocacy as part of the entree instead of just a side salad.  

    Jan Masaoka's article below:

    A long, long time ago I was a research assistant for a nonprofit research firm. We embarked on a three-year national study of mental health clinics to see what factors were most critical to organizational sustainability. Were clinics more successful in urban or in rural areas? Was it better to have an executive director with a background in medicine or in operations? 

    I ended up leaving the job before the study concluded. But several years later I ran into my old ED and couldn't wait to ask her: What did that critical X factor turn out to be?

    Her answer: the amount of time the executive director spends at their state capitol.

    It was an important lesson. We in nonprofits often think about advocacy in terms of our causes: we advocate for children with disabilities, for mountain lions, for immigrants, for people leaving incarceration, for seniors living in poverty.

    We don't always realize that advocacy is not only the right thing to do to further our causes, but is also an important fundraising and business strategy. For example, a nonprofit might advocate for laws to increase senior housing. But if advocacy is also considered a business strategy, that same organization might try to package that housing with additional government support for community-based senior services that they could provide for the benefit of their neighborhood.

    Government funds nonprofits with about ten times the amount of money that foundations give. But that money doesn't just happen. It happens because nonprofit advocates have fought for it -- to serve their constituencies, and as part of doing so, to give their own nonprofit financial strength.

    One former animal welfare advocate commented to me that she realized she had spent years advocating for dogs, for cats, for whales, for kangaroos, for birds. But she hadn't thought to also advocate for her nonprofit organization. 

    So if you sometimes think, "We should do more advocacy but we don't have time," consider flipping your script to this: "We don't have time for fundraising either, but we make the time. Advocacy is a business strategy, too – why aren't we paying more attention?"

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

2041 Silverside Drive 
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Search our Site

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software