The proposed $25 billion state budget saw a lot of red from Governor Bobby Jindal's veto pen, affecting many programs including funding for domestic violence programs. Just last week we updated you with news that those programs were set to receive $7.3 million from this year's state budget. But just a few days after that story, Governor Jindal had to trim the states approved budget by $20 million and line item vetoed some of that money. We reached out to the Governor Jindal's administration and they said
"The veto concerning the Department of Children and Family Service's Family Violence Prevention and Intervention program was not a cut to the program. We worked with the Legislature on amendments that restored $2.4 million to fully fund this program, and this veto simply deals with new and duplicative extra money that was also added. It's important to note that, when the Legislature passed the budget, the work wasn't done. In order to balance the budget, they also included language in the Preamble of HB 1 directing the administration to make another $20 million in reductions throughout state government. In order to protect critical services, the important thing was to start by limiting funding expansions rather than make cuts to programs."
But Beth Meeks with the Louisiana Coalition against Domestic Violence worries about the stability of domestic violence programs.
Meeks says the money they will receive from the state will be reduced because of federal sequestrations and that will put them below last year's budget. Meeks says some programs are at a critical level already and even a small influx in dollars will put them in a place where they couldn't sustain shelters or 24 hr. programs.
Legislators are now voting on whether to go into veto session in order to override any veto cuts. . By state law the special veto session happens unless lawmakers vote against it.
Meeks urges everyone that if the public wants the Jindal vetoes overridden they should call their legislators and tell them to vote YES to the special veto session. If they do go into a veto session it will convene July 16 and adjourn July 20.