STATE SENATORS TO GET HEAD START ON WORK
SENATE "FOCUS FORUM" TO EXAMINE KEY SESSION ISSUES
State senators are setting aside two days this week, away from the State Capitol and the routine operations of their district offices, to focus on major issues facing them in the 2005 regular legislative session which begins April 25th. During the Focus Forum, set for March 31st and April 1st at The Bluffs in West Feliciana Parish, senators will direct their time and energies to an intensive examination of key issues in education, economic development, juvenile justice, coastal erosion, fiscal policy and more.
"This is a great opportunity for the members of the Senate to develop a broad, working knowledge of major issues facing legislators in Louisiana," Senate President Don Hines (D-Bunkie) said. "The Focus Forum is designed to be a kind of ‘crash course’ to help members prepare for the upcoming session and to promote an exchange of ideas on how to approach those issues."
Over the two days, senators will hear from state agency experts and representatives of Governor Blanco’s administration on such issues as the federal No Child Left Behind Act and its effect on Louisiana schools; the status of the state’s economic development effort and proposed changes in the state’s economic development initiatives; higher education’s information and learning technology programs and the LambdaRail project; juvenile justice reform programs and state budget issues. Members will also learn more about programs and initiatives at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the state’s coastal erosion, protection and restoration efforts.
"Most of the members of the Senate are planning to attend and I am pleased that there is that level of interest in this effort. We held a similar series of meetings several years ago that were very productive and resulted in meaningful bi-partisan legislation in the area of corrections reform. I believe this year’s effort will be equally as productive," Senate President Hines said.
The public and representatives of the news media are welcome to attend the Focus Forum. While, the discussion format and time constraints will not allow for public testimony at the forum, those interested may submit written materials to the Senate for distribution to the members. Additional opportunities for public testimony will be available when the regular senate committee meetings on the key issues are scheduled. A complete agenda for the Focus Forum is attached.
SENATE FOCUS FORUM - 2005