Saturday, February 1, 2014

DHH Rescheduled Meeting

The Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) has rescheduled the Wednesday, Jan. 29, public hearing to address the December 2013 Notices of Intent. The public hearing has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, and will take place in room 173 of the DHH Bienville Building, located at 628 North Fourth Street in downtown Baton Rouge. The hearing will begin at 1 p.m. Please attend!

If you cannot attend the hearing, you can submit written comments (please note you MUST include your full name and address) to be hand-delivered at the hearing. Email it to by Monday Feb, 2 at 8:00pm CST.

A draft letter is posted here:

Friday, August 23, 2013


The anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving all women the right to vote is August 26. According to Charlotte Klasson, President of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), “This is the only constitutionally guaranteed right women have.” Originally called Women’s Suffrage Day, the date has been designated by Congress as Women’s Equality Day. 

“This is a misnomer,” says Klasson. “As long as women have to fight year after year for equal pay legislation to guarantee the right to redress for inequities in salaries between men and women, equality for women is not a reality. Women in Louisiana make sixty-nine cents for every dollar a man makes doing the same work. This is not equality.”

Klasson said that federal pay equity legislation has been re-introduced in Congress several times. “But as long as the current Congressional climate is resting on a cloud of political posturing instead of representing the needs of constituents, we are not going to see equality for women on the federal level.” The Louisiana Legislature adopted pay equity legislation in the 2013 Session, but, according to Klasson, the legislature restricted the coverage of protections to only state employees even though the original bill was drafted to include all employees. “It is significant,” she said, “that there was resistance to extending the law’s application to all employees in Louisiana.”

“Louisiana NOW celebrates the anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment and the Constitutional right of women to vote, but,” Klasson says, “full constitutional equality for women is still elusive and the mere designation of a day as Women’s Equality Day does not bestow equality to women.”

Klasson added that an additional piece of legislation, which NOW will be monitoring carefully, passed in the form of House Concurrent Resolution No. 145, which established a Fair Pay Task Force. The Task Force is charged with studying the extent of wage disparities between men and women in the workforce, developing policy recommendations and legislation likely to lead to the prevention and elimination of wage disparities between the sexes, and submitting a final report on its findings by March 1, 2014.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NOW Activists Buoyed by SCOTUS Decisions on Equal Marriage

NOW Activists Buoyed by SCOTUS Decisions on Equal Marriage

Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
June 26, 2013
The National Organization for Women is elated for the many same-sex couples whose loving, committed relationships will now be recognized in law a result of today's Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8. While we still have not achieved a full constitutional right for same-sex marriage, we are buoyed by the court's decisions to strike down the discriminatory DOMA and to allow the federal trial court's overruling of Proposition 8 to stand. A longtime supporter of marriage equality, NOW has opposed DOMA and Proposition 8 from the start and has sought to advance the rights of those treated as second-class in our society.
Today's DOMA decision represents an enormous victory and a joyous day for married same-sex couples and their families -- and for the promise of equal justice under the law. Put simply, the court will impose a "careful consideration" standard of review on laws that treat couples differently based on sexual orientation. For thousands of same-sex couples, today's ruling means that they can better protect one another and their children by ensuring equitable access to the federal safety net.
In advocating to overturn Proposition 8, NOW has staunchly maintained that state constitutions are meant to defend the rights of minorities, even (or especially) when the majority threatens to eradicate them. Discriminatory legislation such as Proposition 8 has no place in a nation dedicated to equal rights for all people. With Proposition 8 now a thing of the past and same-sex marriage soon to be fully recognized in California, equal marriage rights cover over 30% of the country's population. Obviously, our struggle is far from over.
With these decisions adding to the momentum for marriage, NOW and our allies will continue working to win the freedom to marry throughout the United States.

Friday, March 8, 2013

On International Women's Day, NOW Denounces Anti-Woman Austerity Policies

Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
March 8, 2013

On International Women's Day, the National Organization for Women calls upon leaders in the United States to firmly reject the austerity model that has been economically devastating to our sisters in Europe. Call it what you like -- austerity, sequester, deficit reduction, balancing the budget. I call it a stealth attack on women.

The headlines tell the story of what's happening abroad: "Women are paying the price for economic austerity." "Greek crisis hits women especially hard." "Women bearing the brunt of austerity in Britain."

In both the U.S. and many European countries, women make up the majority of employees in the public sector, and women also rely disproportionately on social service programs. Cuts to government spending invariably target these areas for a number of shameful reasons. First and foremost, women, people of color, people with disabilities and all of those struggling to get by are underrepresented in the halls of power and therefore easy scapegoats. Second, the proponents of such cuts are often beholden to big business, the wealthy and the military industrial complex, so those money-hoarders are off the hook. And third, shredding the safety net is already at the top of these guys' agenda, so they're only too happy to use government debt as an excuse to slash even deeper.

In the coming days and weeks, NOW and women across this country will speak out loudly against this latest assault on our livelihood. The U.S. must not make the same mistake as Europe. Now is not the time to cut spending. Now is the time to invest in the people of this country by putting women and men back to work with livable wages, good benefits and equal pay for work of equal value. Balancing the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it is not only counter-productive, it's immoral.