Rep. Lenar Whitney successfully presented HB 701 to the House Health and Welfare committee this past Wednesday morning.  This measure would ensure that no one could perform or attempt to perform an abortion based on the gender of the unborn child.  Louisiana Right to Life Federation has been involved in the crafting and promotion of this legislation and we therefore thank this organization as well as Rep. Whitney for their efforts to continue to establish Louisiana as a state that upholds the dignity and life of the unborn.

A final attempt during this legislative session to move Louisiana toward accepting Medicaid expansion – which would benefit hundreds of thousands of poor and vulnerable LA citizens who go without health care coverage – failed in Senate Health and Welfare.  SB 10 authored by Sen. Karen Carter-Peterson would have enabled LA citizens to vote via a constitutional amendment whether or not they would favor their state accepting Medicaid expansion.  We thank Sen. Peterson for her efforts which are consistent with the themes of Option for the Poor and Vulnerable as well as Life and Dignity of the Human Person expressed clearly within our THEMES OF CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING.

VIEW LCCB’s testimony on SB 10 giving thanks to both Sen. Peterson as well as Sen. Ben Nevers both of whom have been champions on the issue of Medicaid expansion for the past three years:  (Beginning at the 1:53:28 mark)

In other news, the House Appropriations committee moved HB 119 which increases the tax on cigarettes within the state onto the House floor.  This measure was ultimately approved by the House as part of a comprehensive package to raise revenue in an attempt to fill the void caused by an over $1 Billion budget deficit.  On Thursday, the House passed various pieces of legislation that would raise a total of $664 million.  The bishops have supported an increase on the tobacco tax in the past, specifically when revenue generated was dedicated to health care.

Looking ahead, the executive budget will be considered by the House Appropriations committee on Monday.  We will likely see the Sex Education in Public Schools bill be heard on the House floor, and potentially the prohibition of abortion based on sex selection within the same forum as well.

We encourage all to pray for our legislators as they grapple not only with clear moral and ethical issues, but with the complicated and critical work of attempting to balance LA’s budget despite a monumental deficit.  May they be blessed with the virtue of Prudence in their deliberations!