Advocacy & Policy
What We Do and Why It's Important
A key component to LOTA is its Legislative Committee. The Legislative Committee consists of active LOTA members who volunteer their time and expertise to monitor legislative and regulatory issues that impact, or have the potential to impact, the OT profession. The Legislative Committee is also responsible for keeping in contact with our lobbyist. Our lobbyist and committee members collaborate and work year-round together.
At the beginning of each year, legislative bills that are found to be of high importance are reviewed by our lobbyist and the legislative committee. Initially, workshops and meetings are held to determine LOTA’s stance on the bills (neutral, oppose, support, or monitor further). Then, everyone gets to work! Our lobbyist sets up meetings and creates relationships with legislators and regulatory boards. Our committee provides representatives that can speak in front of legislative committees in order to educate lawmakers on OT’s important role in the community. Our committee initiates letter writing campaigns to support or oppose changes going on in the legislation. Our committee is responsible for creating and amending the language of bills to better protect the OT profession. Once the legislative session begins, our lobbyist provides LOTA with a weekly Bill Status Report. As a LOTA member, you have easy access to all of this information through our Current Legislative & Advocacy Issues page! Continuous monitoring is important to be prepared if further action is needed during the session. Through this process, LOTA fights for your job by protecting our practice act and ensuring OT isn't left behind when new laws are being created.
We are appreciative of our members who volunteer their time and expertise to this committee as it is a very time-consuming process. We are grateful for a lobbyist who keeps us up-to-date with anything new that arises and is quick to take action when needed.
Meet Our Lobbyist
Robert L. Rieger Jr.
Your membership makes it possible for LOTA to hire a lobbyist. A lobbyist is essential to provide keen eyes and ears in the political world of the Louisiana Legislature. Our lobbyist is valued for their experience and strong presence when action is needed. Our lobbyist ensures that occupational therapists have “a spot at the table” and are a part of important decision making.
Because of LOTA, Louisiana OTs are represented in the world of lawmaking. Because of YOU and your membership, LOTA is financially able to hire a lobbyist for this representation.
A Letter from the Chair
Regardless of the setting that you work in, there is one skill that translates to all occupational therapists. That skill is ADVOCACY.
Everyday we advocate for our clients, patients, students, caregivers, etc. We take a holistic outlook so that issues do not “fall through the cracks”. We individualize our treatment plans. We write justification letters to insurance companies. We find resources so that individuals can get the help that they need. We advocate.
We also know the importance of advocating for ourselves. We practice self care skills such as resting and exercising. We advocate for ourselves when we say “no” so that we can better balance our personal lives with leisure. We know that our own cup needs to be full so that we can continue to fill the cups of our clients.
But do we always advocate for our profession? We advocate for our distinct role in the settings we work in. We educate other service providers on what we do: we are more than "upper body therapists" or "handwriting therapists".
Advocacy is something that comes natural to us all. Advocacy is the reason I volunteer with our organization. Many times I have personally felt like this work is “behind the scenes” and I am doing my best to make sure that this perception changes.
Sam Francioni MS, LOTR
LOTA Legislative Chair