WHEREAS, the United States Census Bureau released statistics in August 2004, regarding income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States;
WHEREAS, the state of Louisiana had an increase of residents living in poverty by forty-two thousand, four hundred nineteen (42,419) between 2001 to 2003;
WHEREAS, the state of Louisiana's current poverty rate is 20.3 percent, the highest poverty rate among the fifty (50) states and the second highest poverty rate in the nation for children;
WHEREAS, statistics show that parish-wide community resources that work in collaboration to address the difficult realities of poverty can offer solutions, actions, and strategies to transform the cycle of poverty to a cycle of learning, growth, and development;
WHEREAS, in an effort to turn the tide on poverty, the first Solutions to Poverty Summit was held on December 6 and 7, 2004, in Monroe, Louisiana. The Summit brought participants together in local conversations with national and state public policy experts, civic leaders, employers, city and state elected officials, congressional leadership, consumers, non-profit and faith-based representatives, state and local education officials, media, state employees, concerned citizens, and students to learn, exchange dialogue and develop action plans on solutions to poverty; and
WHEREAS, the interests of the citizens of the state of Louisiana would best be served by the creation of a multifaceted network of partnerships and coalitions which will spur innovations and develop solutions in addressing the needs to end poverty in the state of Louisiana;
NOW THEREFORE I, KATHLEEN BABINEAUX BLANCO, Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Louisiana Solutions To Poverty Network Council (hereafter S.T.O.P. Network Council) is hereby established within the executive department, Office of the Governor.
SECTION 2: The duties of the S.T.O.P. Network Council shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Review and analyze laws, rules, regulations, programs and policies of the state and/or any department, commission, board, agency and/or office in the executive branch to ensure their support of poverty reduction in Louisiana;
B. Develop and adopt the Louisiana Roadmap to Fighting Poverty , which will include indicators to measure state, regional, and local levels of progress on poverty reduction strategies;
C. Propose and implement initiatives, programs, policies and incentives that encourage family and individual well-being and support self-sufficiency;
D. Engage and support local communities in their efforts to reduce poverty;
E. Build capacity of local communities and citizens to seek root causes and solutions to poverty in the state of Louisiana;
F. Provide information to citizens about available resources through a community network accessible to everyone; and
G. Seek necessary resources and funding for strategies which have been successful in other communities in reducing poverty.
SECTION 3: The S.T.O.P. Network Council shall be composed of specific groups and/or components, each with individualized duties and responsibilities described below:
A. STATE STEERING COMMITTEE (hereafter "Committee"):
1. The duties of the Committee shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Develop and oversee the S.T.O.P. model of the working relationship between the state, regional, and community organizations;
b. Provide written notice to the governor of the progress made by the various coalitions and initiatives undertaken to address poverty;
c. Serve as the administrative arm to the council and as convener and organizer of council meetings; and
d. Make recommendations for legislation and funding in support of the overall strategy.
2. The Committee shall be composed of the following individuals:
a. The assistant chief of staff to the governor;
b. The secretary of the Department of Social Services;
c. The assistant secretary of the Office of Family Support, Department of Social Services;
d. The deputy assistant secretary of Family Assistance, Office of Family Support, Department of Social Services;
e. The deputy assistant secretary for Community Mobilization, Office of Family Support, Department of Social Services;
f. The budget director of the Office of Family Support, Department of Social Services;
g. One (1) representative of the Division of Administration;
h. The governor's policy advisor on social services, housing and community development;
i. The coordinator of the S.T.O.P. Network Council; and
j. One (1) representative from a community based organization providing services to address poverty in the state.
B. STATE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES (hereafter "Departments"):
The duties of the Departments shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Develop poverty reduction performance goals and indicators with strategic and operational plans, along with legislative recommendations, which must address: 1) specific issues; 2) outcomes desired; 3) performance indicators; and 4) resources and funding dedicated to ensure success;
2. Submit a comprehensive written report to the Office of the Governor and the Louisiana Legislature outlining the deadline for poverty reduction indicators for inclusion in the Louisiana Roadmap for Fighting Poverty by adjournment sine die of the regular legislative session;
3. Designate staff to serve as members of and fully participate on the national and state stakeholders council, regional councils and local coalitions as needed; and
4. Incorporate community mobilization and targeted outreach strategies in the Solutions to Poverty plans and designate staff to provide such support to the overall S.T.O.P. Network Council community mobilization strategy.
SECTION 4: The Department of Social Services shall work in collaboration to address the difficult realities of poverty with the following specific groups and/or components:
A. Regional Stakeholders;
B. National and State Stakeholders;
C. Community Coalitions;
D. Community Specialist; and
E. S.T.O.P. Coordinator.
SECTION 5: The Council shall be composed of a maximum of twenty-eight (28) members who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor. The membership of Council shall be selected as follows:
A. The governor or the governor's designee;
B. The speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, or the speaker's designee;
C. The president of the Louisiana State Senate, or the president's designee;
D. The secretary of the Department of Social Services, or the secretary's designee;
E. The secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, or the secretary's designee;
F. The secretary of the Department of Labor, or the secretary's designee;
G. The secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, or the secretary's designee;
H. The secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development, or the secretary's designee;
I. The secretary of the Department of Economic Development, or the secretary's designee;
J. The superintendent of the Department of Education, or the superintendent's designee;
K. The commissioner of Higher Education, or the commissioner's designee;
L. The executive director of the Office of Elderly Affairs, Office of the Governor, or the executive director 's designee;
M. The chairman of the Louisiana Women's Policy and Research Commission, or the chairman's designee;
N. The chairman of the Governor's Advisory Council on Disability Affairs, or the chairman's designee;
O. The chairman of the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family; or the chairman's designee;
P. The chairman of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Advisory Council, or the chairman's designee;
Q. One (1) mayor representing the Louisiana Municipal Association;
R. The executive director of the Council for A Better Louisiana (CABL), or the executive director's designee;
S. One (1) representative from the National Association of Social Workers;
T. One (1) representative from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO);
U. One (1) representative from the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry (LABI);
V. One (1) student representative of the Board of Regents.
W. One (1) representative each from the following national expert organizations:
1. Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP);
2. Children's Defense Fund (CDF); and
3. Ford Foundation.
X. Three (3) representatives from consumer organizations with expertise in the following fields:
1. Housing and community development;
2. Juvenile justice; and
3. Consumer rights.
SECTION 6: The chair of the Council shall be appointed by the governor. All other officers, if any, shall be elected by and from the membership of the Council.
SECTION 7: On or before August 30, 2005, the Council shall hold its first scheduled meeting, thereafter, the Council shall meet twice annually and at the call of the chair.
SECTION 8: By January 1, 2006, and annually thereafter, the Council shall submit a written comprehensive report to the governor detailing the state's progress on fighting poverty.
SECTION 9: A. Council members shall not receive additional compensation or a per diem from the Office of the Governor for serving on the Council.
B. Council members who are employees or elected public officials of the state of Louisiana or a political subdivision thereof may seek reimbursement of travel expenses, in accordance with PPM 49, from their employing and/or elected department, agency and/or office.
C. Council members who are also members of the Louisiana Legislature may seek a per diem from the Louisiana State Senate or House of Representatives, as appropriate, for their attendance.
SECTION 10 : Support staff, facilities, and resources for the Council shall be provided by the Department of Social Services.
SECTION 11: All departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the state of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Council in implementing the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 12: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF , I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 11th day of July, 2005.
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Secretary of State