Legislative Committee or BESE Meetings

LaCAN focuses on four key legislative committees when advocating for Individual and Family Support Services:

  • House Appropriations
    Normal Meeting Days:  Monday and Tuesday
    Meeting Location:  State Capitol Building / House Committee Room 5 
  • Senate Finance
    Normal Meeting Day:  Monday
    Meeting Location:  State Capitol Building / Senate Committee Room A
  • House Health & Welfare
    Normal Meeting Days:  Wednesday and Thursday
    Meeting Location:  State Capitol Building / House Committee Room 5
  • Senate Health & Welfare
    Normal Meeting Day:  Wednesday
    Meeting Location:  State Capitol Building / Hainkel Room

LaCAN focuses on two key legislative committees and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) when advocating for Education issues:

  • House Education
    Normal Meeting Days:  Wednesday and Thursday
    Meeting Location:  State Capitol Building / House Committe Room 1
  • Senate Education
    Normal Meeting Day:  Thursday
    Meeting Location:  State Capitol Building / Hainkel Room
  • BESE
    Normal Meeting Day:  Wednesday
    Meeting Location:  Claiborne Building / Louisiana Purchase Room

It is possible that committees may meet on additional days that are not listed above.  Your LaCAN Leader will keep you informed on scheduling. You can also refer to the Louisiana Legislature’s website www.legis.state.la.us or BESE website bese.louisiana.gov/meetings/meeting-schedules or call the DD Council office at 800-450-8108 for current information.

There are occasions when LaCAN members are asked to attend legislative committee or BESE meetings:

Yellow Shirt Days - On these days, key policies or issues affecting individuals with developmental disabilities are being discussed.  Members gather to create a presence, reminding policymakers of the issues that concern people with disabilities.

Public Testimony Days - On these days, the general public is given the opportunity to speak before the entire committee/board to voice their support or opposition to proposed policies.  LaCAN members are selected and supported in preparing and delivering testimony before the committee/board. These days are extremely important for LaCAN advocacy efforts.  All members are encouraged to attend.

Whether a Yellow Shirt Day or Public Testimony Day, grassroots advocacy members are encouraged and supported in completing a comment card to express their support or opposition of the issue(s) being discussed.  Members will also be supported in connecting with their individual policymakers to briefly share their personal story should they choose to do so.

General Information

  • What to wear?
  • For LaCAN:  Be sure to wear your yellow LaCAN t-shirt!  Committee/Board members will then recognize you as a member of LaCAN and a supporter of individual and family support services and/or education equality for students with and without disabilities.
  • If you need a shirt: Contact your LaCAN Leader who will have one available for you when you arrive.
  • Get there early in order to get a seat.
  • When you arrive, your LaCAN Leader will provide information to help you fill out cards in support or opposition to turn in to the committee/board.  This is how the committee/board counts how many people are supporting or opposing different issues, so it is important that all members fill out the cards expressing the same message.  Click here to see a sample card and simple instructions for filling it out.
  • Meeting days offer an opportunity to meet and share your story with your policymakers.  We encourage you to send your policymaker a note in the committee/board room to let him/her know you are there and ask to speak to them briefly.  Your LaCAN Leader can assist you with this should you be interested in doing so.
  • Expect to sit through many other issues before the committee/board gets to the issue you are there to hear.  People often bring something to read or work on while waiting.
  • Legislative Committee meetings may go through the lunch hour without a break. However, a cafeteria and a snack shop are located on the ground floor of the Capitol for your convenience.
    BESE meetings are often long and may go late into the night. However, a cafeteria is located on the main floor of the Claiborne building and vending machines are located throughout.
  • Be sure to not bring food or drink in the committee/board room.  Also, make sure that your cell phones, and other electronic devices are silenced or turned off.
  • After speaking to a policymaker, they may ask that you follow-up with information.  They could even request that you provide it to their staff.  Their staff will relay the information on to them in a timely manner.
  • Attending committee/board meetings can be very rewarding.  It is important to remain polite at all times.  Showing any kind of disrespect can ruin any future chances of making a positive impact on a policymaker down the road.

Transportation & Parking

  • The State Capitol is located at 900 North 3rd St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802. Click here for directions.
  • The Claiborne Building is located near the Capitol at 1201 North 3rd. St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802. 
  • If you are interested in carpooling or need assistance with transportation, please contact your LaCAN Leader immediately.
  • Allow enough time to find parking.  Parking spaces, including wheelchair accessible spots, are limited around the Capitol.

For Members Asked to Provide Testimony

  • LaCAN Leaders and the DD Council staff will assist in helping you prepare your testimony if you are asked to testify.  It is certainly normal to be nervous, especially if you are testifying for the first time.  Therefore, try to remember that you are the expert for you and your family and that policymakers are relying on you to learn how they can help you. 
  • Policymakers will allow you to tell your story via testimony.  However, it is important to stick to your story and not trail off on another topic.  It may seem that some policymakers are not paying attention or their attendance may be clearly lacking.  Just proceed with your story because it is being added to the meeting records. 
  • Policymakers may ask you questions while you testify for which you do not have an answer.  When this happens, you should respond by admitting that you do not have the answer at that moment but that you will find it and get back with them.  It is best to be honest, and this will ensure that you maintain their respect and trust. 
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