By: Allen Johnson
Two statewide advocacy groups honored four women legislators recently for their support of children, families and health-care services. State Senator Ann Duplessis and House Speaker Pro Tem Karen Carter Peterson were named 2007 Legislators of the Year by the Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families, a nonprofit coalition whose local members include Childrens Defense Fund, Childrens Hospital and a pediatric clinic at Tulane University School of Medicine. On March 11, Sen. Cheryl A. Gray of New Orleans and Sen. Lydia Jackson of Shreveport were named 2007 Legislators of the Year by the Louisiana Assembly of School Based Health Care, which seeks to improve health-care delivery services to urban and rural residents. The first school-based health clinic in Louisiana opened in 1987. Some 50 state-funded sites operate today. The concept is considered especially beneficial for teenagers, who often do not seek out doctors. Meanwhile, Peterson last week pre-filed a bill that would require health insurance policies to cover annual mammograms, beginning Jan. 1, 2009. The regular session of the Legislature begins Monday (March 31).