Louisiana's 2023 Regular Legislative Session
Now that the Louisiana legislative session is coming to an end, we wanted to send out a detailed recap of all the work LOTA’s Governmental Affairs team accomplished. The purpose of the email is not only to inform LOTA members of changes that have been made, but also to show transparency to the work that is done behind the scenes.
LOTA held a virtual, state-wide meeting with our lobbyist team at Adams and Reese. Members were educated on the legislative process associated with laws that protect our profession. We had such a great turnout, that we plan to make this an annual CE offering and bolster it with more education on ways to advocate.
The 2023 Louisiana Legislative Session convened April 10 - June 8, but your Governmental Affairs team was already hard at work. This year, LOTA was invited to present at the Louisiana Department of Education where we got the opportunity to advocate for our organization and connect with key school-system practitioners from across the state.
Our lobbyist team at Adams and Reese also helps LOTA facilitate relationships with local leaders and legislators in order to advocate for our profession. This year LOTA was invited to attend the Elevate Louisiana conference. Our LOTA representatives connected with local leaders and learned about challenges impacting our state. Our lobbyists also invited us to their private tailgate events during the football season. This opened up the opportunity for our LOTA representatives to build meaningful connections with Louisiana legislators in a friendly, fun environment. Participating in these events throughout the year is a great way to get involved and help build a network of politically active LOTA members in each Louisiana district.
Above, Judd Patterson and Marie McLaughlin stand with Julie Stokes of Elevate and Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder. Next, Jenifer Hluchy and Sam Francioni stand outside of the LDOE building after presenting on LOTA’s support for school-system therapists.
2023 LOTA Day
LOTA’s Legislative Day took place on April 24th. This is one of the most crucial events that LOTA organizes. This event symbolizes to lawmakers, other health professions, and the entire Louisiana community that occupational therapists are a force to be reckoned with! We had an amazing turn out with students and practitioners from all over the state. We shared with legislators our personal stories and educated them on the impact occupational therapy has on our local community. We even had a surprise appearance from Congressman Scalise! He stood at our table with pride and spoke to the rotunda about how much he loves his personal occupational therapists and the impact they made on his life.
Occupational therapy students from LSU-NO and Megan Pliske with LATAN showed up at the capital to advocate for OT at Legislative Day.
The BIG News
We have an amazing lobbying firm as well as multiple volunteers who work diligently to make our Governmental Affairs Committee very successful. Our LOTA volunteers held special meetings to review bills and make important decisions as to support, oppose, or monitor bills. Our lobbyists helped LOTA set up meetings with legislators to create amendments and edit the language of bills. LOTA members with expertise in specific subject matters volunteered their time to drive to the capital and speak at committee hearings, testifying in front of legislators to represent Louisiana occupational therapy practitioners.
Above, you will see Paul Fontana, Jennifer Hluchy and Amy Mangum speaking in the House and Senate chambers to support our bills!
And now, after all those meetings, hearings, and collaborations, THIS is what we were able to accomplish:
When all was said and done, we had a ceremonial bill signing with Governor John Bel Edwards.
Paul Fontana, Sam Francioni, and Judd Patterson stand with Governor John Bel Edwards after he signed into law LOTA’s telehealth bill and OT compact bill.
Mark your calendars for LOTA’s second, official Town Hall Meeting. This will be a state-wide virtual meeting to bring our members together to surface issues that need to be addressed. These issues can be specific to your work setting or specific to your city. This is another opportunity for leaders and members to get to know each other, identify new growth areas, and build effective communication networks. The meeting will be held Wednesday, August 23, 2023 at 6pm. It will have an open-floor format, so that anyone can speak. Please let us know ahead of time if you will need additional time to speak, so that we can prepare. Sign up online at our website to receive the zoom link.
Thank you to our amazing volunteers who helped play an active role, especially Paul Fontana, Collin Hernandez, Jennifer Hluchy, Amy Mangum, Marie McLaughlin, Judd Patterson, and Dawn Sonnier.
And of course, without YOUR membership, this organization wouldn’t have been able to accomplish these amazing feats this year. Our hope is that you feel confident that your occupation and your identity is recognized and protected. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for maintaining your membership. We are looking forward to another successful year!
Sam Francioni, MS, LOTR
And as always, we are always looking for more volunteers :)
Meet our Champions! The authors of our bills:
Legislator Larry Frieman
Special thank you to Legislator Larry Frieman. He is the author of our HB 41 Telehealth bill. Before becoming an attorney, he was a physical therapist. He was more than happy to help us with this endeavor - because he gets it! He represents District 74: St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. Feel free to reach out and give him a personal thank you!
P: (985) 400-4670 || E: email@example.com
Senator Barrow Peacock
Special thank you to Senator Barrow Peacock. He is the author of our OT Compact bill. Senator Peacock is dedicated to creating jobs and supporting local businesses and professionals. He represents District 37: Bossier and Caddo parishes. Feel free to reach out and give him a personal thank you!
P: (318)741-7180 || E: firstname.lastname@example.org