Louisiana Public Square - 2018

Revisiting Reform | Public Square | September 2018

09/18 - Revisiting Reform Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended? In 2017, Louisiana’s legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment Act, which sought to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. The bill was championed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and received bipartisan support including from community and business leaders. Now, just over a year later, the legislation has become a political football. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator John Kennedy, both Republicans considering a run against Edwards in 2019, suggest that the reform package is a failure. They cite murders committed by two inmates released since the Act’s implementation. Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended? Has the legislation put more residents in harm’s way or are plea deals part of the problem? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Revisiting Reform” Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. Our panelists are: • E. Pete Adams, Executive Director, La. District Attorneys Association • Alanah Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana & Justice Reinvestment Task Force • Andrew Hundley, Louisiana Parole Project • Sec. Jimmy LeBlanc, La. Department of Corrections The program features interviews with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry; Rep. Terry Landry, D- New Iberia, with the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Council; Deputy Assistant Secretary Natalie Laborde, with the Louisiana Department of Corrections; and Stephanie Riegel, editor of the Baton Rouge Business Report. LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and professor Robert Mann with the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication host the show. Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

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Power of Reading | August 2018 | Public Square

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood? The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood? Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.) Our panelists are: - Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) - Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian - Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author - Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH). - Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education. LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show. Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule. Major production funding provided by Anne Ray Foundation, A Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropy. Engagement funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Anne Ray Foundation, A Margaret A Cargill Philanthropy.

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Preventing Suicide | July 2018 | Public Square

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem? The recent high-profile deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain have brought the issue of suicide into the national spotlight. In Louisiana, suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death and third among its 15 to 34-year-old residents. Sixteen percent of Louisiana’s 677 suicides in 2016 were military veterans. So, how is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem? What signs should friends and family members look for to prevent someone from taking their own life? And how will the state’s newly created Zero Suicide Initiative help individuals from going down that path? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Preventing Suicide” Wednesday, July 25 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Tuesday, July 24.)

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Louisiana: Sportsman's Paradise or Problem? | June 2018 | Public Square [ENCORE]

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem? For decades Louisiana has proclaimed itself as the “Sportsman’s Paradise.” But for today’s hunters, changes to Louisiana’s landscape have caused a decline in the quality of the state’s deer habitat and smaller game. For coastal fishermen, private property rights often unduly restrict access to waters that are considered public in any other state. Louisiana Public Square explores some of the challenges that the state’s hunters and anglers face on “Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?”

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News About The News | May 2018 | Public Square

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference? According to the 2018 Louisiana Survey, when it comes to trusting news organizations, more Louisiana residents put their faith in local media than national media outlets. Despite that trust, only 36 percent of the state’s news consumers say local news deals fairly with both sides. So, why is there so much mistrust of the news media? What role has the downsizing of traditional media played in creating a gap in coverage and possibly, community trust? Where are consumers primarily getting their news? And, how can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “News about the News” airing Wednesday, May 23 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Tuesday, May 22) Our panelists are: • Len Apcar, Wendell Gray Switzer Jr. Endowed Chair in Media Literacy, LSU Manship School • Jarvis DeBerry, Deputy Opinion Editor, New Orleans Times-Picayune • Peter Kovacs, Editor, The Advocate • Lance Porter, Director, LSU Social Media Analysis & Creation Lab LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and journalist and political historian, Bob Mann moderate the discussion. The program features interviews with Michael Henderson, director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab; Ray Pingree, Associate Professor wth the LSU Manship School of Communication; John DeSantis, Senior Staff Writer for The Houma Times and Judi Terzotis, president of The Advocate. Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

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Balancing Eldercare | April 2018 | Public Square

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care? Nationally, there is a shift towards providing care for the elderly at home and through community-based services rather than at institutions. But analysts say that Louisiana has a bias towards nursing home enrollment both in policies and funding. A series of bills being proposed this legislative session would address what some consider an imbalance in how the state supports care for its aged population. So, how much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care? Is the demand for institutional care rising or on the decline? And what options are available to provide the funding and the care that the state’s older residents desire? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Balancing Eldercare” Wednesday, April 25 at 7 pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Tuesday, April 24.) Our panelists are · Jeanne Abadie, The Advocacy Center · Mark Berger, Louisiana Nursing Home Association · Hugh Eley, Former Deputy Sec. of Louisiana Dept. of Health · Senator Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana president, Robert Travis Scott, moderate the discussion.

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Making Schools Safe | March 2018 | Public Square

Where does Louisiana stand in this national discussion? The school shooting in Broward County Florida that took the lives of 17 people has reignited the debate over how to make our schools safe. Energized students nationwide are calling for restricted access to certain guns. Congress is considering broader background checks and age limits on gun purchases. President Donald Trump is most enthusiastic about training school staff members to carry concealed weapons. Where does Louisiana stand in this national discussion? How would gun control proposals affect the 45% of Louisianans who own guns? What mental health services are available to prevent teenagers from acting out violently? What increased security measures should schools take and how much will they cost? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Making Schools Safe” airing Wednesday, March 28 at 7 p.m. on LPB and WLAE in New Orleans. (Taping Tuesday, March 27.) Our panelists are: • Sheriff Jason Ard, Livingston Parish • Betty Muller, M.D., Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist • Scott Richard, Louisiana School Boards Association • Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia The program features interviews with Bossier Parish School Superintendent Scott Smith; Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington; Director of Security for Bossier Parish Schools, Lt. Adam Johnson; and Meagan Medley, Ph.D., a nationally-certified school psychologist and assistant professor at Nicholls State University. LPB CEO, Beth Courtney, and LPB news anchor, Andre’ Moreau, will moderate the discussion. Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

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Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment in Louisiana | February 2018 | Public Square

How widespread is the problem in our state? Take the survey! Governor John Bel Edward’s deputy chief of staff, Johnny Anderson, resigned in November due to allegations of sexual harassment. A month earlier, celebrity chef John Besh stepped down from his restaurant management group after sexual harassment accusations. Charges of sexual misconduct in the workplace against celebrities and government officials made state and national headlines during the last several months of 2017. How widespread is the problem in our state? Where is the distinction drawn between boorish acts and abusive behavior? Is every circumstance unique or should all offenders be dealt with in the same manner? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment in Louisiana” Wednesday, February 28 at 7 p.m. on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Tuesday, February 27) Panelists: - Craig Broome; Louisiana Society for Human Resource Management - Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell - Allison A. Jones; Downer, Jones, Marino & Wilhite, LLC - Janice Lansing, Governor Edwards’ Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and Southern University Vice President for External Affairs, Robyn Merrick, host the discussion.

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Early Education Matters | January 2018 | Public Square

Should early childhood education be a priority? It’s estimated that issues with early childhood education cost the state economy more than $1 billion per year. Business professionals and politicians agree that there is a severe lack of access to high-quality child care in the state. But with the state facing a $1 billion budget shortfall, can funds be found to make this a priority? Louisiana School Finder, a first-of-its-kind performance guide on early care and education centers is a useful tool for parents seeking care for their children. Can it also be a mechanism to improve performance? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Early Education Matters” January 24th at 7 p.m. on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. Our panelists are: · Melanie Bronfin, La. Policy Institute for Children · Rep. Stephen Carter, R-Baton Rouge; Education Committee · Stephen Waguespack, La. Assoc. of Business & Industry · Supt. John White, La. Dept. of Education Barry Erwin, CEO of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) moderates the discussion. The program includes interviews with Belinda Creel Davis, Ph.D., with the LSU Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs and co-author of the Losing Ground study of childcare issues and workforce productivity in Louisiana; Melinda George, Child Care Assistance Manager with the La. Dept. of Education; Brigitte Nieland, V.P. for Workforce and Education for the La. Assoc. of Business & Industry: and Shawanda Jefferson, a mother whose improved employment status has put her Child Care Assistance Program benefits in jeopardy.

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Louisiana Public Square

Louisiana Public Square is LPB’s monthly public affairs program. It provides citizens a forum to voice their opinions and concerns about issues affecting Louisiana to leading experts and key decision makers. LPB has received state and national recognition for the series and we are proud that it serves as a model for other stations around the country. One of the primary goals of Louisiana Public Square is to allow different points of view to be expressed and heard. Oftentimes we have seen attitudinal changes of discussion participants after being exposed to other opinions on the program. (You can track these changes in attitude at our surveys link.)

One of the key features of this format is the depth and insightfulness of the discussion and questions generated in the crucible of citizen deliberations on a small group level. These queries are informed by not only the background material, but by the give-and-take dynamic of an open forum, skillfully moderated so that all are encouraged to speak their mind.

Louisiana Public Square evolved from the deliberative democracy concept of the MacNeil/Lehrer Productions’ By The People initiative. The goal is to encourage civic engagement and civil discourse – the foundations of a strong democracy.

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