2011-2012 Highlights
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2010-2011 Highlights
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2009-2010 Highlights

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana is an independent voice, offering solutions to critical public issues in Louisiana through accurate, objective research and focusing public attention on those solutions.
Public Policy Research
PAR published a number of significant research studies on state government issues in the past year.

Filling the Gap or Tipping the Scale? This analysis evaluates the state’s two major discretionary incentive programs - the Mega-Project Development Fund and the Rapid Response Fund. The report recommends that certain changes in law and policy be made to ensure that taxpayer dollars are committed with maximum transparency and accountability.

Moving Highway Funding to Stable Ground Building on the findings in PAR’s March 2009 transportation funding analysis, this report examines a variety of options for funding the highway program and considers innovative approaches to funding mega-projects. The report identifies certain revenue dedications that would be acceptable sources of new funding.

Public Mental Health Care in Louisiana This report evaluates the state’s system of public mental health care and finds that the system is biased toward expensive institutional care and does not have the capacity to treat many of those with mental illness. The recommendations made are pragmatic solutions that are within current reach of policymakers dealing with austere budgets.

The Unfinished Business of Ethics Reform This report evaluates recent changes to the state’s ethics laws and enforcement process. It finds that some of the changes made as part of the 2008 ethics reform movement have weakened the state’s ability to monitor and enforce compliance with the laws. The analysis offers a model for an improved ethics administration system that would correct some of the newly created problems.

Charter Schools in Louisiana This analysis identifies best practices among Louisiana charter schools that can be replicated both in traditional public schools and new charter schools. The report describes these best practices, explains how charter schools are using them and calls for the state to take an active role in collecting and disseminating information about them to all school districts and schools.
Working Toward a Client-Centered and Cost-Effective Approach to Medicaid Long-Term Care for the Elderly This brief addresses issues in the state’s proposed budget for long-term care for the elderly and disabled adults. It raises concerns about shifting funding away from in-home care services and increasing funding for nursing home services.

State Finance Comparison This analysis compares Louisiana’s revenue and expenditure levels to other states using the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau’s census of governments. The analysis demonstrates the significant effect of hurricane recovery spending on Louisiana’s relative rankings.PAR published a number of significant research studies on state government issues in the past year.
Research Studies Underway
High School Dropout Prevention Strategies This project will examine Louisiana’s high school dropout problem and compare the state’s latest “career-track” diploma option against what other states do to manage their dropout rates.

Guide to the Constitutional Amendments This recurring PAR publication will explain the arguments for and against each constitutional amendment that voters must approve or deny. PAR will publish two separate guides this year for the October and November elections.

Healthcare Policy Series PAR will continue its ongoing analysis of the state’s healthcare budget. Research findings will be published in a series of reports, briefs and commentaries to explore the state’s options for expanding healthcare for the uninsured by shifting resources, reorganizing safety net care and addressing the primary care physician shortage.

NOCOG PAR will actively participate in the New Orleans Coalition on Open Governance (NOCOG). In conjunction with the Tulane Loyola Public Law Center (TPLC), PAR will lead the policy and structural development side of the Coalition’s work, providing ongoing technical support regarding access to public records and meetings, tracking recovery funding, contracting procedures and other issues and topics.
Citizen Education
PAR’s citizen education efforts over the past year included updating recurring publications for reprinting and Web publication, development of newsletters and fact sheets, making personal and media presentations, and answering requests for information.

Guide to the 2010 Louisiana Legislature This handy, pocket-sized guide was completely updated to reflect elections through March 2010. The Guide provides helpful information about state legislators, statewide elected officials and the state’s congressional delegation, including biographical data, photos and contact information.

Sunshine Law Fact Sheet Series This series of three fact sheets focuses on the state’s open meetings and public records laws to inform citizens of their rights to access information about the business of government. The fact sheets offer a plain-language explanation of the state’s sunshine laws with practical tips on how the public can participate in open meetings and request public records.

On the Health Record This newsletter series places a spotlight on some of the facts and figures central to the public healthcare debate and explored further with in-depth PAR reports available at www.la-par.org. The premier issue of PAR’s healthcare policy newsletter focused on national health care reform and its potential impact on Louisiana.

Speeches, Public Forums and Media Appearances In the past year, PAR staff presented more than 50 speeches to civic or professional associations throughout the state and frequently appeared on TV and radio interviews.

www.la-par.org PAR’s Web site is often visited by citizens and media professionals around the state for useful information on Louisiana government.
Watchdog Issues
PAR issued the following commentaries to provide a timely perspective on current public issues:

02/18/10 PAR says don’t abolish Regents
09/24/09 Don’t exclude citizens from redistricting briefing, PAR says
09/21/09 PAR clarifies higher ed position
09/17/09 Resolve Ethics Adjudication Issues, PAR Says
06/26/09 Short session, short on ideas
06/17/09 PAR says public records bill would stifle open government
06/16/09 Delay cuts to develop plan, PAR says
05/19/09 PAR says keep eighth-grade LEAP standards intact
05/15/09 Don’t delay the REC, PAR says
05/13/09 Don’t increase the homestead exemption, PAR says
05/11/09 No whining for dining, PAR Says
05/05/09 Records bill would thwart transparency, PAR says
04/28/09 Delaying tax cuts should be considered, PAR says
PAR won two national awards from the Governmental Research Association (GRA) in 2009. GRA is a national organization of individuals and groups who study and make recommendations on state and local policy issues. The awards to PAR were presented during the annual GRA conference held in Washington, D.C., in July. PAR was honored for “GulfGov Reports: Study of the Recovery, Role, and Capacity of the States and Localities Damaged by the 2005 Hurricanes” (Most Effective Education, region-level winner) and “Redistricting 2010: Reforming the Process of Distributing Political Power” (Most Distinguished Research, certificate of merit).
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