Former state legislator will earn $36,000 per year, plus meals and travel.
Ex-state Rep. Rickey Hardy’s unemployment was short-lived. Hardy, defeated in November for the District 44 seat by Vincent Pierre, was appointed to the state’s Board of Pardons by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The board is responsible for making recommendations to the governor regarding applications for clemency and pardons of state prisoners, but the governor does not have to act on its recommendations.
Hardy is one of four board members earning $36,000 per year; the board’s chair earns $42,000. All five are appointed by the governor, with one member named from nominations submitted by any victims’ rights advocacy organization recognized as a nonprofit by the Internal Revenue Service.
As a state rep, Hardy earned $16,800 annually, plus per diem for days when the Legislature was in session and for committee service. His pay and reimbursements totaled about $32,000 in 2011.
By law, board members also qualify for insurance and retirement benefits.
The board meets twice a month in Baton Rouge, but the former legislator who spent much of the past four years cracking down on white-collar corruption said Tuesday morning he will devote his full attention to the post, spending his time gathering information on cases to help weigh his decisions. “I’m going to devote my time, 110 percent, to make sure we make the right decisions. We are dealing with people’s lives and we are dealing with the victims. It’s an emotional situation for families and victims,” he says.
Hardy also pledges to study ways to lower the state’s incarceration rate, which is the highest in the country. “If you think education is expensive, try incarceration,” he says. The former state rep will find support in that effort from Blueprint Louisiana, which in September made adopting “smart on crime” reforms one of its top five recommendations to support during this legislative session.
Blueprint’s research found that one out of every 55 adults in Louisiana is in prison compared with one in 100 adults nationwide. The nonpartisan reform effort, backed by community and business leaders across the state, says the population in Louisiana prisons has doubled over the past 20 years, with 40,000 adults incarcerated and another 69,000 people on probation or parole. Only 37 percent of offenders in Louisiana have been convicted of violent crimes, and the average sentence for a drug-related crime is almost 10 years.
Meanwhile, Louisiana taxpayers are doling out $700 million to operate prisons, most of which comes from the state general fund. The state spends more every year to keep people in prison, but the overall crime rate is not going down, Blueprint's stats show. “The cost of incarceration means we are not matching our resources with our priorities,” Blueprint wrote in its recommendations.
So far, little is being done to address the issue in the state, especially as it pertains to non-violent offenders. “Over the past year, the reinvigorated Louisiana Sentencing Commission — composed of district attorneys, judges, sheriffs, legislators, victims, and other public safety stakeholders — unanimously approved a set of policy recommendations to the Louisiana Legislature for consideration in the 2011 regular session,” Blueprint wrote in its September report. “The recommendations were based on a careful examination of prison population data and evidence-based corrections practices. Yet the proposals faced an uphill battle at the Capitol, ultimately achieving only limited success.”
The governor’s office announced Monday that Hardy will serve with Leonard “Pop” Hataway of Dry Prong, ex-sheriff of Grant Parish and former president of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association; Henry “Tank” Powell of Ponchatoula, the owner of Powell & Associates Insurance and a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives; and Mert Smiley of Saint Amant, a former member of the state House and owner of Smiley Enterprises Incorporated. The press release did not mention the fifth member.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)