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.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, April 21, 2014:
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.