Hardy seeks term limits for sheriffs, judges, district attorneys
Rep. Rickey Hardy’s bill to create a Who Dat license plate has gotten much of the press, but another bill prefiled by the Lafayette Democrat would have more far-reaching consequences. House Bill 101 would impose term limits on judges, sheriffs and district attorneys. Currently district court judges and district attorneys serve six-year terms (appellate judges serve 10-year terms); sheriffs serve four-year terms.
Hardy’s bill would impose a three-term limit on those elected officials beginning in January of 2011; terms which began before Jan. 1, 2011 would not be subject to retroactive term limits. For example, if Lafayette Sheriff Mike Neustrom, first elected in 1999 and now in his third term in office, is reelected or runs unopposed in 2011, his three-term limit would kick in with the start of his fourth term beginning in 2012.
“If it’s good for the governor, it’s good for the lieutenant governor, it’s good for the attorney general, it’s good for the Legislature, then it should be good for everybody else,” Hardy says of his rationale for filing the bill, adding that incumbency often means a lock on office. “It allows the little man to be able to participate in democracy, and to elect the D.A.s and judges and sheriffs, because we all know in the state of Louisiana, once you become an elected official it takes an act of Congress to remove you, and it gives no one else a chance to be able to serve.”
It takes a change to the Louisiana constitution to impose term limits on elected officials. Consequently, HB101 would require a two-thirds vote by both chambers of the Legislature as well as approval by voters statewide.
Hardy is far and away the most energetic among the Acadiana legislative delegation when it comes to prefiling legislation. Among the dozen bills filed by the former school board rep ahead of the spring session is a bill that would require persons arrested for DWI be subject to a mandatory 48-hour stay in jail before bailing out; a bill that would criminalize saggy pants with a first-offense comprising a $500 fine and 40 hours of community service; and a bill that would double the drug-free zone around schools and other designated areas from the current 1,000 feet. Hardy is also reprising legislation that would require persons convicted of some drug offense to have a special license plate or identification card.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.