Around 30 state legislators from the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus (LLBC) met on Tuesday to discuss issues stemming from the state’s budget shortfall.
It was set in a town hall forum where the African American legislators presented dialogue and answered questions from the public.
State Representative Vincent Pierre sat on the panel.
"Well, of course, healthcare is a big issue. People are concerned about the services we have right here at UMC. of course higher education is an issue that’s gonna come up. We do know TOPS is an issue folks are talking about. Hopefully, we can save it,” said Pierre.
Representative Katrina Jackson sits on the Health and Welfare Committee in the state legislature. Her job is to attempt to prevent budgetary cuts to health care. However, before she can tackle healthcare her first goal is making sure constituents can see through any politically fueled misinformation campaigns.
Jackson says the budgetary legislation passed during the Jindal administration is the reason why Louisiana’s budget is in the poor condition that it is in today.
"That legislature during that time passed permanent measures and permanent spending measures and permanent tax cuts that left us in a two billion dollar deficit,” said Jackson.
Another major point the legislators touched on during the town hall was the issue surrounding the state’s prison system.
"We’ve done a lot of great things with prison reform in the last couple of years. It’s going to be an issue that’s going to come up in this particular town hall and we just hope that folks know that we’re working diligently as a caucus to make sure that we make changes to the prison system.’
With Louisiana having the highest prison population in the world, Representative Pierre says that’s a problem that lawmakers need to address.
The caucus spoke with Governor Edwards about their goal to create a cross-section of dialogue aimed toward helping all Louisianans.
"We have to ensure that we are able to save all the people of our state. Not only the African American community, but everyone,” explained Pierre.