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High quality early childhood education is the catalyst for a stronger, better Louisiana.. Fueling young minds now will fuel our future economy.

Dear Friend,

The holidays are quickly approaching, but before your schedule fills up, there are a few important dates below that I hope you’ll mark on your calendar.

Sincerely,

Walt

Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives

 

November 10-14

This week, I took the bus to work as part of Transit Week. So please, park your car and try public transit. Here’s a story from last year’s Transit Week about my streetcar ride to work: http://rideneworleans.org/all-aboard-with-state-representative-walt-leger/

Transit Week

 

November 14 -15

The New Orleans Book Festival starts this evening at Latter Branch Library and continues tomorrow at Big Lake at City Park. A special thanks to New Orleans First Lady Cheryl Landrieu for creating such a wonderful event all about reading. Learn more at nolabookfest.org

Book Fest

 

November 19

Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Generations Hall there will be a fundraiser for NOPD Officer Jonathan Smith, who was shot multiple times while working an off-duty detail. Officer Smith is currently at home recovering from his injuries. Pre-sale tickets are available at each NOPD district station and at the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation website: http://nopjf.org/index.php/news/131-officer-smith-fundraiser.

Let’s give Officer Smith the support he deserves. I hope to see you there!

NOPD

 

November 1 - 30

This is my second year not shaving for the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues. I received such an overwhelming positive response last year that I passed HCR20, legislation recognizing No Shave November in Louisiana. Encourage a man in your life to get a prostate or colon cancer screening. Join in the cause! #LETITGROW with @waltleger. 

NO SHAVE NOVEMBER 

December 6 

The past session I championed a bill to allow you to vote on a proposition to maintain our school facilities in New Orleans. Be sure to vote “yes” to repurpose an existing bond millage and dedicate it to the preservation and maintenance of our public school buildings. The Orleans Parish School Board has never had dedicated revenue to maintain its school buildings, which is why the schools were in terrible disrepair prior to Katrina. With $2 billion in FEMA and Insurance proceeds invested in rebuilding schools, it is critical we dedicate funding to maintain these facilities for future generations. 

SCHOOLS

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

CONTRIBUTE

 


Paypal donation link

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

We’ve entered into fall, but things aren’t cooling off. I’m working to keep up the heat to make sure that the government is responsive to your needs. A set of issues remains at the top of Louisianans’ list of priorities; we want good jobs, safe streets, smart schools, and affordable health care. Below are a few examples of what’s been going on in each of these areas.

If you would like any additional information, or to share your thoughts, please contact me atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,

 

Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives

 

Affordable Health Care:

The Office of Group Benefits Extends Annual Enrollment Period for 2015 Health Plan

My colleagues in the Legislature and I received the message loud and clear from groups opposing the Jindal administration’s new health care plan that would affect about 230,000 state workers, teachers, and retirees throughout Louisiana. We shared those concerns and communicated them to the Governor’s office. As a result, earlier this week the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) announced it would extend the annual enrollment period for its heavily criticized 2015 health plan options through the end of November 2014. Government workers, state employees, teachers and retirees will have an extra month to enroll in the new plans, which will now begin October 1 and last through November 30. The health plan changes are scheduled to begin March 1, 2015 instead of January 1 when the plan year begins.

We are still fighting to ensure that the new health care plan offers the best solution for those who depend upon it. 

Information on the 2015 plan options is available on OGB’s annual enrollment website atwww.annualenrollment.groupbenefits.org.

 

Good Jobs:

Leger Participates in “An American Town Hall” presented by The Atlantic

There are tons of jobs in the energy industry for the people of Louisiana, but no way for potential employees to get to them. I believe building transportation to help people get to these jobs will boost Louisiana’s economy.

 

 

 

Good Jobs:

JOB1 Offers a Variety of Employment Opportunities

JOB1 Business and Career Solutions provides employers with a skilled workforce and links job seekers to employment.  JOB1 provides employment and training services federally funded through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). 

 

Employers and Job Seekers can get started at:

http://www.nola.gov/economic-development/workforce-development/job1/

 

Smart Schools:

The 2014-2014 Louisiana Business Challenge for Students

Attention high school students! The Louisiana Business Challenge is inviting you to design a promotional plan for Louisiana Seafood in grocery stores for a chance to win scholarship money!

The challenge is to create an innovative marketing plan to teach grocers and retailers how to promote and increase sales of Louisiana Seafood via social media. 

Your team must submit a proposal by Friday, October 31, 2014. The deadline for the submission of Executive Summaries is February 7, 2015. The top six teams will move on to the state competition at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on March 5 & 6, 2015.

Students compete for scholarships totaling $50,000 to be distributed across the winning teams. These scholarships are from sponsors and matching grants from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

For more information, visit http://business.louisiana.edu/lbc

 

Safe Streets:

NOLA FOR LIFE

NOLA FOR LIFE is a cutting-edge, comprehensive strategy launched by Mayor Landrieu as one of the city’s top priorities to help make our community safe. The campaign boasts, “From prevention and intervention to enforcement and rehabilitation, we are fighting back to protect our families and make every person in New Orleans feel safe.”

For it to work, we all need to get involved, so please visit nolaforlife.org/volunteer-jobs to sign up to do your part today.

 

Safe Streets:

It Can Wait

Accidents caused by texting and driving are 100 percent preventable. The It Can Wait campaign is working to not only raise awareness, but to actively keep people from texting and driving. Join me in texting #X to your friends and family when you’re about to get on the road, letting them know you’ll text them back once you’ve safely reached your destination. Spread the word about It Can Wait through Twitter, Facebook, or other forms of social media to promote safe driving. 

The third annual It Can Wait day of action was Friday, September 19. On this day, supporters of the It Can Wait campaign encouraged safe driving and drew attention to apps like AT&T DriveMode, which further help this important cause. 

I greatly encourage you to abstain from texting and driving, potentially saving not only your life but also the lives of others. Remember that no matter what it is you have to say, #ItCanWait until you’re off the road.

Learn more about the campaign at www.ItCanWait.com.


CONTRIBUTE


 

 

I've made the pledge not to text and drive; and I'm using #X to let my friends know when I'm about to drive and can’t respond to their text messages. 

Please join me in helping to promote the It Can Wait Day of Action tomorrow, September 19. The campaign is asking people to take the pledge not to text and drive, and it provides a number of tools to help keep our roads safe. 

It Can Wait logo

I would like to thank AT&T Louisiana for championing this important message and providing these easy ways to help:

 

  • Get the #X Out on our third annual day of action on September 19th. Start now by spreading the word on social media — Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with this sample post: "We pledge not to txt & drv as we gear up for the annual #ItCanWait day of action on 9/19. Share tips for not txtng & drvng with @ItCanWait"
  • Promote and empower others to use tools like #X to help end texting while driving. Here’s another sample social media post to get the word out: "Post #X in social media, emails or texts before you start the car to let others know you are behind the wheel & can’t text. #ItCanWait"
  • Include information about It Can Wait through your organization’s website, blog, newsletter or email signature.
  • Encourage your family, friends, community and colleagues to download an app, like the AT&T DriveMode®, which is available for Android and Blackberry users.
  • Share your ritual or post what you would tell a driver to not text and drive with a short video clip, meme or creative image on your social networks.
  • For the first time this year, individuals in Louisiana can text their pledge! Text the keyword ICWLA to 464329, and you'll receive a text response/confirmation! The pledge — and the text — are free!

Learn more about #X and how you can get involved at ItCanWait.com. Help us spread the word tomorrow and always drive safely! 

 

Sincerely,

Walt

 

 

Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives

 

 

Walt accepted the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to to raise awareness and money to combat ALS, the neurodegenerative disease being battled by former Saints player Steve Gleason.

"The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice." (ALS Association)

State Representative Walt Leger

Good morning,

I hope you're enjoying your summer and staying cool!

Although the Legislative Session ended almost two months ago, we've continued working hard on all of our priorities.

Please read on to find out about the latest, and contact me anytime if I can be of assistance.

Best,

Walt

Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives

 

 


LEGER SUPPORTS LAWSUIT AGAINST JINDAL ON COMMON CORE

 

“In a clear act of executive overreach, Governor Jindal’s attempt to abandon Common Core has placed politics ahead of our children and the future of our state. We cannot and will not stand for it. The lawsuit filed by parents against the governor sends the message that the people of our state will not allow misguided politics to choke off the promise of a better Louisiana. The lawsuit brings to light the real issues on which we should be focusing, following the law so that we can meet the needs of students, parents, and teachers. Again and again their interests have taken a back seat to political ambition and been held hostage by a small but vocal minority. I commend the parents across the state who took bold action today to do what is right and improve our education system. I will continue standing with them to help ensure that their cause succeeds.” -- Rep. Walt Leger III


 

LEGER INVITES STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN MOCK LEGISLATURE

The Louisiana Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) program is hosting a mock legislative session called Action Legislature on Saturday, August 9th in the house chambers at the Louisiana State Capitol. Participation is open to all high school students. Registration will be held between 8-9 am in the rotunda (first floor) of the Louisiana State Capitol. Come learn more about how the legislative process works and how laws are enacted.

The program will begin at 9 AM and conclude at 3:00 PM. Registration is $25 and includes a boxed lunch and handout materials on the legislative process.

Or anyone interested can download the form from the websitewww.hobylouisiana.org by clicking on the tab labeled ACTION LEGISLATURE. Please mail it along with a check or pay the registration fee online using the Paypal Button on the far right.


INITIAL FUNDING TO BEGIN MISSISSIPPI RIVER DEEPENING STUDY

 

Rep. Leger is pleased to announce that the release of funds in the amount of $50,000 is the first step in the long awaited project to deepen the Mississippi river. According to a study released almost one year ago deepening the river to 50 feet will produce $89.4 in return for each dollar spent on the project. 

The study aims to understand the costs associated with the project, project feasibility, and potential revenue. The $50,000 to begin the study represents only part of the $1.5 Million allocated to the study by the corps and matched by Louisiana. 

The project is a reaction to changing maritime industry worldwide and specifically the widening of the Panama Canal that will carry bigger ships to our ports. While the cost of the project is high, the returns for Louisiana and the country are significant. Deeping the Mississippi is anticipated to create tense of thousands of jobs. The proposed deepening project comes on the heels of an announcement that Chiquita bananas will be returning to the port of New Orleans.


LETTER: LEGER DESERVES PRAISE FOR PASSAGE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD BILLS

Published in The Advocate on July 24, 2014

We would like to thank state Rep. Walt Leger III for his leadership during the legislative session on behalf of Louisiana’s children, ages birth through 4 years.

Much has been written about the bills involving Common Core, but little has been said about the legislation that passed involving early childhood education. These new statutes are a continuation of the implementation of the Early Childhood Education Act (Act 3) of the 2012 session that mandated an overhaul of how our state governs, judges and ultimately funds our child care and pre-K programs.

Given that over 70 percent of young children in Louisiana have both parents in the workforce and that high-quality child care costs almost as much as a public college tuition, and given that early brain development establishes the foundation for all future learning, effective implementation of Act 3 is essential. Children who begin school behind typically remain behind. If our children are going to be successful in school, then their early learning experiences must be of high quality.

We appreciate Leger’s work to ensure not only the passage of the early childhood bills, but his work to ensure that these bills incorporated effective policies on behalf of our youngest citizens.

Melanie Bronfin
executive director, Policy Institute for Children
New Orleans


 

LEGER HONORED AS A COASTAL CHAMPION BY MERAUX FOUNDATION

Rep. Leger, along with fellow co-chair of the Louisiana Legislative Caucus Rep. Simone Champagne, was honored for his work to protect and restore our state’s fragile coast. The Coastal Champion award was presented by the Arlene and Joeseph Meraux Charitable Foundation during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the nonprofit’s new river observation center in St. Bernard Parish. 

“Saving our coast is one of my top priorities and, as a St. Bernard Parish native, one that is close to my heart,” said Leger. “Coastal erosion affects us all- from Shreveport to New Orleans. Our working coast is the backbone of our state’s economy, and our wetland loss could cost the nation $36.6 billion from lost public use value over the next 50 years.”

Leger sponsored the legislation that approved the 2013-2014 annual plan for integrated coastal protection and restoration. This Plan reflects the priorities of the 2012 Coastal Master Plan, and it includes more construction for restoration than we have ever seen before. Approximately 117 projects represent a $767 million investment in our coast for FY 2014 alone.


 

LEGISLATIVE WRAP REPORT: LEGER WINS MAJOR BATTLES TO IMPROVE EDUCATION, FIGHT CRIME, AND SECURE MORE THAN $217.9 MILLION FOR NEW ORLEANS

Capital Outlay Highlights

 

  • $42 M for the Audubon Institute 
  • $41 M for Renovations to the Smoothie King Center 
  • $25 M for New Orleans Convention Center Authority
  • $19.8 M Louisiana Children’s Museum
  • $18.5 M for Expansion in Louisiana Stadium District 
  • $15 M for the Louisiana Cancer Research Center
  • $7.7 M for LSU Health Sciences Center 
  • $7.5 M Port of New Orleans, Cruise Ship Terminal
  • $6 M National WWII Museum
  • $5.9 M Kingsley House Acquisition, Renovation and Expansion
  • $5.8 M for City Park Golf Complex Improvements
  • $4.2 M WYES TV Rebuilding and Repair
  • $2.9 M for New Mental Health Clinic Behavior, Social, Medical Supported Detox Clinic
  • $2.7 M for State Road improvements in Algiers
  • $2.5 M Mercy Endeavors Senior Center, Jackson Avenue
  • $2 M for New Mental Health Center, Metropolitan Human Service District
  • $1.9 M Rosenwald Community Center
  • $1.54 M Carrollton Community Center Construction, Trinity Christian Community
  • $1.5 M New Orleans Airport Authority Feasibility Study/Interchange Modification Report and Evironmental Assessment
  • $1.5 M for State Match to provide economic evaluation of the value of deepening the Mississippi River Channel to 50 feet
  • $1 M New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Project with Public Library System of New Orleans
  • $990 K Port of New Orleans, Milan Upland Yard Improvements
  • $572 K for Gilbert Park
  • $400 K Eden House, New Facility

To view a full report compiled by the Louisiana House of Representatives, visit my website byclicking here

To view the status of all the legislation proposed this session, please visit legs.la.gov

 

The Louisiana Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) program is hosting a mock legislative session called Action Legislature on Saturday, August 9th in the house chambers at the Louisiana State Capitol. Participation is open to all high school students. Registration will be held between 8-9 am in the rotunda (first floor) of the Louisiana State Capitol. Come learn more about how the legislative process works and how laws are enacted.

The program will begin at 9 AM and conclude at 3:00 PM. Registration is $25 and includes a boxed lunch and handout materials on the legislative process.

Or anyone interested can download the form from the website www.hobylouisiana.org by clicking on the tab labeled ACTION LEGISLATURE. Please mail it along with a check or pay the registration fee online using the Paypal Button on the far right.

“In a clear act of executive overreach, Governor Jindal’s attempt to abandon Common Core has placed politics ahead of our children and the future of our state. We cannot and will not stand for it. The lawsuit filed by parents against the governor sends the message that the people of our state will not allow misguided politics to choke off the promise of a better Louisiana. The lawsuit brings to light the real issues on which we should be focusing, following the law so that we can meet the needs of students, parents, and teachers. Again and again their interests have taken a back seat to political ambition and been held hostage by a small but vocal minority. I commend the parents across the state who took bold action today to do what is right and improve our education system. I will continue standing with them to help ensure that their cause succeeds.” -- Rep. Walt Leger III

Dear Friend,

Now that the dust has settled from the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, I would like to share some information on what happened and what it means for you. Below is a brief recap of some of the legislation that I fought for this session. We won several major battles for New Orleans, but we clearly have much work to do.  I will keep working for you over the course of the year and next session.

Thank you for your support and guidance throughout session and every day in-between. Together, we will make Louisiana the best state it can be!

Sincerely, 

Walt

Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives

Click here full report compiled by the Louisiana House of Representatives. 

 


 

LEGISLATIVE SESSION REPORT: 

LEGER WINS MAJOR BATTLES TO IMPROVE EDUCATION, FIGHT CRIME, AND SECURE MORE THAN $217.9 MILLION FOR NEW ORLEANS

 


INVESTING IN NEW ORLEANS

 

Capital Outlay Highlights

 

  • $42 M for the Audubon Institute 
  • $41 M for Renovations to the Smoothie King Center 
  • $25 M for New Orleans Convention Center Authority
  • $19.8 M Louisiana Children’s Museum
  • $18.5 M for Expansion in Louisiana Stadium District 
  • $15 M for the Louisiana Cancer Research Center
  • $7.7 M for LSU Health Sciences Center 
  • $7.5 M Port of New Orleans, Cruise Ship Terminal
  • $6 M National WWII Museum
  • $5.9 M Kingsley House Acquisition, Renovation and Expansion
  • $5.8 M for City Park Golf Complex Improvements
  • $4.2 M WYES TV Rebuilding and Repair
  • $2.9 M for New Mental Health Clinic Behavior, Social, Medical Supported Detox Clinic
  • $2.7 M for State Road improvements in Algiers
  • $2.5 M Mercy Endeavors Senior Center, Jackson Avenue
  • $2 M for New Mental Health Center, Metropolitan Human Service District
  • $1.9 M Rosenwald Community Center
  • $1.54 M Carrollton Community Center Construction, Trinity Christian Community
  • $1.5 M New Orleans Airport Authority Feasibility Study/Interchange Modification Report and Evironmental Assessment
  • $1.5 M for State Match to provide economic evaluation of the value of deepening the Mississippi River Channel to 50 feet
  • $1 M New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Project with Public Library System of New Orleans
  • $990 K Port of New Orleans, Milan Upland Yard Improvements
  • $572 K for Gilbert Park
  • $400 K Eden House, New Facility

 

Convention Center Riverfront Development

One of our greatest achievements this session was passing a bill that will give the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center the opportunity to issue bonds to raise up to $142 million that would support private development. At its heart, the bill aims to redevelop the New Orleans Mississippi riverfront. It allows for the Convention Center, without any new taxes, to leverage its own money to invest in the future of New Orleans. The legislation will help generate $1 billion in private investment, and allow for the creation of complimentary services, such as hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, offices, parking, entertainment, and similar activities. Not only will this create a major boom in the hospitality industry, but it will also provide significant new opportunities for New Orleanians to reconnect with the Riverfront and enjoy the amenities that this major construction project will bring to our city and region.

“I would like to thank Representative Leger for carrying this bill, which is the flashpoint for reinvigorating our Riverfront, creating hundreds of jobs, and helping cement New Orleans' position as one of the greatest convention destinations in the world!”

 Melvin J. Rodrigue, Chairman of the Board of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall 

In the Press:

House committee signs off on New Orleans Convention Center expansion (NOLA.com)

Will the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans Expand? (International Meetings Review)

Bill Signing Signals Approval to Revitalize New Orleans’ Convention Center Corridor

 


 

EDUCATION

Common Core

In 2010, Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education committed to the idea that Louisiana’s children deserve to be taught to expectations as high as any in our country. They joined with 43 other states in setting common minimum expectations in reading, writing, and mathematics for public school children. Politics later set in, and Gov. Jindal joined with those on the extreme left and the extreme right in opposing common expectations and competitive tests. In response, a group of pragmatic Democrats and Republicans joined with me to author HB953. The bill passed, but the governor vetoed it on Friday. HB953 would have allowed Louisiana to immediately implement the Common Core expectations and tests, but it gave students and teachers two extra years to prepare before the performance expectations were established. I am deeply saddened to see that politics have gotten in the way of what is best for our children, but I will continue fighting to ensure that our students are able to receive quality educations and compete nationally. 

Early Childhood Education

To support a streamlined approach to early childhood education, I sponsored a bill to ensure that gaps in service are identified between family demand and available slots. This includes a full assessment by the State Department of Education on possible funding streams to fulfill education demands. The bill passed the House and was sent to the governor for executive approval. Along with a package of other legislation I helped to shepherd through the process, we have made a major commitment to improving access and quality of early educational opportunities across this state. 

Quality School Facilities

After years of trying to implement true facility reform Statewide, this year I enacted legislation to ensure the quality of our schools matches the quality of education, I sponsored a bill to allocate tax dollars for the repair, maintenance and replacement of public school facilities in the City of New Orleans. The bill ensures that infrastructure for public schools will be preserved and protected, addressing the serious unmet need of funding long-term maintenance, emergency repairs, and capital improvements of those buildings. This bill was signed into law by the governor, and in future years, it will serve as a model across the state to address our public education infrastructure challenges.  

Second Chance for Dropouts

Another bill I sponsored and was signed into law is aimed at giving students who dropped out of school a second chance. It will provide students with access to education and the possibility of achieving a high school diploma or GED. The bill allows for the establishment of programs to locate those who have dropped out and put them in touch with resources to help them succeed. The programs will provide academic coaches or mentors, connect the student to social services, and provide tutoring.

Making Higher Education Affordable

On the higher education front, I proposed a bill to continue to fund higher education at a minimum of our 2013 funding levels. The bill would have protected the students in Louisiana from shouldering a heavy financial burden in exchange for an education. Unfortunately, the bill was shot down by a senate panel more concerned with making budgetary cuts than the students of Louisiana, their families, and the future of our state’s workforce. 


 

CRIME AND SAFETY

Funding Public Safety

For several years, I have sponsored the Casino Support services contract legislation that will automatically pay the State’s obligation to the City of New Orleans for public safety services provided around the Harrah’s casino.  Many times over the past six years, the legislation has been vetoed by the Governor.  This year, we were successful in convincing him to sign the bill into law. It guarantees an annual payment of $3.6 Million dollars from tax revenues generated at Harrah’s Casino to the City of New Orleans to assist the City in funding police, fire, emergency medical services, and other public safety functions. 

Supporting Police Officers and Fire Fighters

I sponsored HB 111 to allow the people to vote on a constitutional amendment that would authorize the New Orleans City Council to ask the voters of the City to support additional millages for police and fire protection. Nobody wants his or her taxes raised, but everyone wants to be safe. The fact is that the City should have more flexibility on how to fund critical needs like hiring new police officers and funding the Consent Decrees and firefighter pensions. Ultimately, the final decision will be with the people of New Orleans. The bill passed through both the House and the Senate and it has been presented to the Secretary of State. When the people of Louisiana vote to adopt the amendment, it is estimated to generate $31.6 million a year.


PEOPLE-FIRST

 

In an effort to reform language surrounding disabilities, and to remove the “r-word” from state statutes once and for all, I sponsored a bill that was adopted to introduce “person-first” language intended to humanize the individual and make any disability secondary. The bill will move us forward by removing antiquated language from our laws and showing the proper respect for all members of our community.  The bill awaits the Governor’s signature.


HEALTH CARE

 

Medicaid expansion is again one of the greatest losses for the people of Louisiana. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would have paid 100 percent of each state’s Medicaid expansion costs for the first three years and no less than 90 percent after that. However, last session Governor Jindal rejected the $16 billion offer. Unfortunately, a new attempt presented this session to allow Louisianans to vote on the issue was killed. Because of this, nearly 250,000 Louisianians remain uninsured.


BLIGHT

 

The bill I authored to help combat blight and align state law with the City’s new codes that strengthen enforcement capabilities passed.

 


 

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

To view the status of all the legislation proposed this session, please visit legs.la.gov

And as always, you can reach me at my office at (504) 556-9970, 
on my cell phone at (504) 427-4344 , and via e-mail atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Dear Friend,

Now that the dust has settled from the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, I would like to share some information on what happened and what it means for you. Below is a brief recap of some of the legislation that I fought for this session. We won several major battles for New Orleans, but we clearly have much work to do.  I will keep working for you over the course of the year and next session.

Thank you for your support and guidance throughout session and every day in-between. Together, we will make Louisiana the best state it can be!

Sincerely, 

Walt

Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives

 


 

LEGISLATIVE SESSION REPORT: 

LEGER WINS MAJOR BATTLES TO IMPROVE EDUCATION, FIGHT CRIME, AND SECURE MORE THAN $217.9 MILLION FOR NEW ORLEANS

 


INVESTING IN NEW ORLEANS

 

Capital Outlay Highlights

 

  • $42 M for the Audubon Institute 
  • $41 M for Renovations to the Smoothie King Center 
  • $25 M for New Orleans Convention Center Authority
  • $19.8 M Louisiana Children’s Museum
  • $18.5 M for Expansion in Louisiana Stadium District 
  • $15 M for the Louisiana Cancer Research Center
  • $7.7 M for LSU Health Sciences Center 
  • $7.5 M Port of New Orleans, Cruise Ship Terminal
  • $6 M National WWII Museum
  • $5.9 M Kingsley House Acquisition, Renovation and Expansion
  • $5.8 M for City Park Golf Complex Improvements
  • $4.2 M WYES TV Rebuilding and Repair
  • $2.9 M for New Mental Health Clinic Behavior, Social, Medical Supported Detox Clinic
  • $2.7 M for State Road improvements in Algiers
  • $2.5 M Mercy Endeavors Senior Center, Jackson Avenue
  • $2 M for New Mental Health Center, Metropolitan Human Service District
  • $1.9 M Rosenwald Community Center
  • $1.54 M Carrollton Community Center Construction, Trinity Christian Community
  • $1.5 M New Orleans Airport Authority Feasibility Study/Interchange Modification Report and Evironmental Assessment
  • $1.5 M for State Match to provide economic evaluation of the value of deepening the Mississippi River Channel to 50 feet
  • $1 M New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Project with Public Library System of New Orleans
  • $990 K Port of New Orleans, Milan Upland Yard Improvements
  • $572 K for Gilbert Park
  • $400 K Eden House, New Facility

 

Convention Center Riverfront Development

One of our greatest achievements this session was passing a bill that will give the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center the opportunity to issue bonds to raise up to $142 million that would support private development. At its heart, the bill aims to redevelop the New Orleans Mississippi riverfront. It allows for the Convention Center, without any new taxes, to leverage its own money to invest in the future of New Orleans. The legislation will help generate $1 billion in private investment, and allow for the creation of complimentary services, such as hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, offices, parking, entertainment, and similar activities. Not only will this create a major boom in the hospitality industry, but it will also provide significant new opportunities for New Orleanians to reconnect with the Riverfront and enjoy the amenities that this major construction project will bring to our city and region.

“I would like to thank Representative Leger for carrying this bill, which is the flashpoint for reinvigorating our Riverfront, creating hundreds of jobs, and helping cement New Orleans' position as one of the greatest convention destinations in the world!”

 Melvin J. Rodrigue, Chairman of the Board of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall 

In the Press:

House committee signs off on New Orleans Convention Center expansion (NOLA.com)

Will the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans Expand? (International Meetings Review)

Bill Signing Signals Approval to Revitalize New Orleans’ Convention Center Corridor

 


 

EDUCATION

Common Core

In 2010, Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education committed to the idea that Louisiana’s children deserve to be taught to expectations as high as any in our country. They joined with 43 other states in setting common minimum expectations in reading, writing, and mathematics for public school children. Politics later set in, and Gov. Jindal joined with those on the extreme left and the extreme right in opposing common expectations and competitive tests. In response, a group of pragmatic Democrats and Republicans joined with me to author HB953. The bill passed, but the governor vetoed it on Friday. HB953 would have allowed Louisiana to immediately implement the Common Core expectations and tests, but it gave students and teachers two extra years to prepare before the performance expectations were established. I am deeply saddened to see that politics have gotten in the way of what is best for our children, but I will continue fighting to ensure that our students are able to receive quality educations and compete nationally. 

Early Childhood Education

To support a streamlined approach to early childhood education, I sponsored a bill to ensure that gaps in service are identified between family demand and available slots. This includes a full assessment by the State Department of Education on possible funding streams to fulfill education demands. The bill passed the House and was sent to the governor for executive approval. Along with a package of other legislation I helped to shepherd through the process, we have made a major commitment to improving access and quality of early educational opportunities across this state. 

Quality School Facilities

After years of trying to implement true facility reform Statewide, this year I enacted legislation to ensure the quality of our schools matches the quality of education, I sponsored a bill to allocate tax dollars for the repair, maintenance and replacement of public school facilities in the City of New Orleans. The bill ensures that infrastructure for public schools will be preserved and protected, addressing the serious unmet need of funding long-term maintenance, emergency repairs, and capital improvements of those buildings. This bill was signed into law by the governor, and in future years, it will serve as a model across the state to address our public education infrastructure challenges.  

Second Chance for Dropouts

Another bill I sponsored and was signed into law is aimed at giving students who dropped out of school a second chance. It will provide students with access to education and the possibility of achieving a high school diploma or GED. The bill allows for the establishment of programs to locate those who have dropped out and put them in touch with resources to help them succeed. The programs will provide academic coaches or mentors, connect the student to social services, and provide tutoring.

Making Higher Education Affordable

On the higher education front, I proposed a bill to continue to fund higher education at a minimum of our 2013 funding levels. The bill would have protected the students in Louisiana from shouldering a heavy financial burden in exchange for an education. Unfortunately, the bill was shot down by a senate panel more concerned with making budgetary cuts than the students of Louisiana, their families, and the future of our state’s workforce. 


 

CRIME AND SAFETY

Funding Public Safety

For several years, I have sponsored the Casino Support services contract legislation that will automatically pay the State’s obligation to the City of New Orleans for public safety services provided around the Harrah’s casino.  Many times over the past six years, the legislation has been vetoed by the Governor.  This year, we were successful in convincing him to sign the bill into law. It guarantees an annual payment of $3.6 Million dollars from tax revenues generated at Harrah’s Casino to the City of New Orleans to assist the City in funding police, fire, emergency medical services, and other public safety functions. 

Supporting Police Officers and Fire Fighters

I sponsored HB 111 to allow the people to vote on a constitutional amendment that would authorize the New Orleans City Council to ask the voters of the City to support additional millages for police and fire protection. Nobody wants his or her taxes raised, but everyone wants to be safe. The fact is that the City should have more flexibility on how to fund critical needs like hiring new police officers and funding the Consent Decrees and firefighter pensions. Ultimately, the final decision will be with the people of New Orleans. The bill passed through both the House and the Senate and it has been presented to the Secretary of State. When the people of Louisiana vote to adopt the amendment, it is estimated to generate $31.6 million a year.


PEOPLE-FIRST

 

In an effort to reform language surrounding disabilities, and to remove the “r-word” from state statutes once and for all, I sponsored a bill that was adopted to introduce “person-first” language intended to humanize the individual and make any disability secondary. The bill will move us forward by removing antiquated language from our laws and showing the proper respect for all members of our community.  The bill awaits the Governor’s signature.


HEALTH CARE

 

Medicaid expansion is again one of the greatest losses for the people of Louisiana. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would have paid 100 percent of each state’s Medicaid expansion costs for the first three years and no less than 90 percent after that. However, last session Governor Jindal rejected the $16 billion offer. Unfortunately, a new attempt presented this session to allow Louisianans to vote on the issue was killed. Because of this, nearly 250,000 Louisianians remain uninsured.


BLIGHT

 

The bill I authored to help combat blight and align state law with the City’s new codes that strengthen enforcement capabilities passed.

 


 

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

To view a full report compiled by the Louisiana House of Representatives, visit my website by clicking here. 

To view the status of all the legislation proposed this session, please visit legs.la.gov

And as always, you can reach me at my office at (504) 556-9970, 
on my cell phone at (504) 427-4344 , and via e-mail atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

April 30, 2014

Dear Friend,

I’m reporting live from the floor of the Louisiana House of Representatives to share a few important updates on legislation being addresses this session. There are four bills that I want to bring to your attention dealing with our schools, riverfront, and health care. 

HB 1271 - School Facilities Preservation Program
I’m pleased to say that HB 1271, the School Facilities Preservation Program that I’m sponsoring, cleared the House with no opposition and is now with the Senate. When it passes, the bill will provide funds for the maintenance of New Orleans’s newly built and renovated public school buildings. Because the Orleans Parish School Board has never dedicated revenue to the upkeep of its school buildings, schools were crumbling even before Hurricane Katrina hit. Our public school facilities are now in the middle of an incredible rebuilding plan paid for by the $1.8 billion in FEMA and Insurance proceeds, but these funds don’t cover maintenance. It’s imperative that we think ahead and put in place a long-term plan to protect these facilities for future generations. 

HB 788 - Ernest N. Morial Convention Center 
HB 788, which I sponsored, has passed through the House and now is with the Senate. When it passes, it will give the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center the opportunity to issue bonds to raise up to $142 million that would support private development. At its heart, the bill aims to redevelop the New Orleans Mississippi riverfront. It allows for the Convention Center to leverage its own money to invest in the future of New Orleans. The legislation will help generate $1 billion in private investment, and allow for the creation of complimentary services, such as hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, offices, parking, entertainment, and similar activities. 

HB 953 - Common Ground on Common Core
The House Education Committee cleared HB 953 yesterday, which I sponsored to give public schools and students an additional year to prepare for Common Core tests. Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards adopted so that all students have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed when they graduate from high school. 

I introduced this legislation to 
strike a balance between those who favor the national standards and those who have concerns about implementation. We've added two extra years to prepare, and the
 results from 2015 and 2016 tests will be sent to the Department of Education and a university for independent analysis. 


SB 96 - Access to Affordable Health Care
While I would prefer to end this legislative update with the previous bill, I feel obliged to report on the failure of SB 96. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government has offered to pay 100 percent of each state’s Medicaid expansion costs for the first three years and no less than 90 percent after that. However, Governor Jindal rejected the $16 billion offered to Louisiana by the federal government to pay for Medicaid expansion costs. Because of this decision, nearly 250,000 Louisianians remain uninsured. But Senator Ben Nevers provided a solution that would allow Louisianians to vote this November on whether or not they want to expand access to affordable healthcare.

Unfortunately, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted 6-2 to defer the bill last week, which essentially kills it for this session. But rest assured that this is not the end of our fight to provide affordable health care for all Louisianans! 
                                
 
Thank you for supporting these bills. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information on the legislation we are considering this session.

Sincerely,

Walt

Walter "Walt" J. Leger, III
State Representative, District 91
Speaker Pro Tempore, Louisiana House of Representatives