WHEREAS, some citizens of the state of Louisiana are concerned that the youth education programs presently available throughout the state have failed to comprehensively and adequately address, warn, and advise about the negative consequences of premarital sexual activity, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and alcohol and drug abuse;
WHEREAS, through a program established pursuant to Title V of the Social Security Act at 42 U.S.C. 710, states may apply for allotments from the federal government, through the secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, to enable the state to provide abstinence education and to provide appropriate mentoring, counseling, and adult supervision to youths to promote abstinence from premarital sexual activity, focusing on those groups which have a higher premarital pregnancy rate; and
WHEREAS, the interests of the citizens of the state of Louisiana would be best served by the creation of an abstinence education project which establishes programs throughout the state with an emphasis in those areas with elevated rates among youths of sexually transmitted diseases and/or premarital pregnancies, that are administered in a manner that educates, encourages, and supports the youth of this state regarding the benefits of sexual abstinence;
NOW THEREFORE I, M.J. "MIKE" FOSTER, JR., Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Louisiana Abstinence Education Project (hereafter "Abstinence Project") is established within the executive branch, Department of Health and Hospitals.
SECTION 2: The goals of the Abstinence Project shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
SECTION 3: The duties of the Abstinence Project shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
SECTION 4: As used in this Order, "Abstinence Education Program" is defined in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 710(b)(2). "Abstinence education program" means an educational or motivational program which:
SECTION 5: The Abstinence Project shall be directed by a state coordinator who shall be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the governor. The state coordinator shall be responsible for administering, overseeing, and evaluating the programs of the Abstinence Project in a manner which facilitates the accomplishment of the project's goals, as set forth in Section 2 of this Order, and its duties, as defined in Section 3 of this Order. The state coordinator shall submit to the governor and the secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals (hereafter "secretary"), by May 15, 1998, a preliminary report that describes the manner in which the Abstinence Project and its programs shall be administered, identifies the specific communities where the programs will be established, and provides the rates of premarital pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among youths in those communities. The state coordinator shall annually submit to the governor and the secretary, by January 1, a comprehensive report which addresses the fulfillment of the Abstinence Project's goals, as set forth in Section 2 of this Order, and its duties, as defined in Section 3 of this Order. Annual reports shall include all relevant comparative data and information relating to the effectiveness of the Abstinence Project and, based on available data and information, to the comparative effectiveness of the Abstinence Project to the abstinence education projects and/or programs of other states.
SECTION 6: The office of the state coordinator of the Abstinence Project shall be located in, and operated from, a state owned facility. The Abstinence Project shall be permitted staff and resources to fulfill the goals, duties, and responsibilities specified in this Order. It shall be permitted to accept the efforts of volunteers in accordance with state law.
SECTION 7: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and officers of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Abstinence Project in implementing the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 8: Upon signature of the governor, the provisions of this Order shall be effective retroactive to October 29, 1997. This Order shall remain in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the state of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge, on this 13th day of March, 1998.
M. J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.
Secretary of State