WHEREAS: the stability and success of the family unit is threatened by domestic violence as it victimizes the entire family, including the children, who learn through example that violence is an acceptable mode of coping with problems, dealing with stress, and asserting control over others;
WHEREAS: domestic violence has a negative impact on society in general, necessitating that millions of dollars be annually expended due to absenteeism and a loss of productivity at work and school, mental health and medical expenses, and the prosecution and/or administrative costs of criminal, quasi-criminal, and civil cases;
WHEREAS: the goal of eradicating domestic violence throughout Louisiana may only be achieved by increasing public awareness about the prevalence and harmfulness of domestic violence, implementing a firm public policy against domestic violence, and instituting an effective means of enforcement that encompasses law enforcement, social service agencies, and the courts; and
WHEREAS: to obtain this goal, the State of Louisiana must implement consistent, coordinated, and nonvictim blaming responses to incidents of domestic violence throughout the response process, beginning with law enforcement and continuing through victim protection and assistance services and the administration of justice process; therefore, the leadership of the State of Louisiana, including members of the Louisiana Legislature, the Executive Branch, and the Louisiana Supreme Court, together with representatives from law enforcement agencies, social service agencies, and special interest organizations that deal with domestic violence, must join together to develop a comprehensive coordinated response to domestic violence within the State of Louisiana;
NOW THEREFORE I, M.J. "MIKE" FOSTER, JR., 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 Coordinating Council on Domestic Violence (hereafter" council") is established within the Executive Department, Office of the Governor.
SECTION 2: The duties of the council shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
SECTION 3: The council shall submit to the Governor a detailed written report containing the council's findings and recommendations on or before December 31, 1998.
SECTION 4: The council shall consist of 20 members who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The membership of the council shall be selected as follows:
SECTION 5: The chair shall be selected by the Governor from its membership.
SECTION 6: The council shall meet at regularly scheduled intervals and at the call of the chair. A majority of the membership present shall constitute a quorum.
SECTION 7: Support staff for the council shall be provided by the Department of Social Services.
SECTION 8: Council members shall not receive compensation or a per diem. Nonetheless, contingent upon the availability of funds, members who are not an employee of the State of Louisiana or one of its political subdivisions, or an elected or appointed public official, may receive reimbursement from the Office of the Governor for actual travel expenses incurred, in accordance with state guidelines and procedures, and upon the approval of the commissioner of Administration.
SECTION 9: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and officers of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate in the implementation of this Order.
SECTION 10: This Order is effective upon signature of the Governor 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 the State of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge, on this 26th of August, 1997.
M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.
Secretary of State