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 21 Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos writes about the Mother's Day shooting, and how the stages of shock and blame and healing mirror those traveled by the same city following Hurricane Katrina. The city will recover, just as it did following the storm, by reaching out to help the people injured most seriously by the event, DuBos writes. It's how we heal, he says.
MAY 21 Here's a post on the Advocate (but buried on a subpage, not on the front) that reports something Louisiana Voice reported some time ago: a top DOE official lives in Los Angeles and "commutes" to Baton Rouge. The positioning of the story caused a stir on Facebook Monday, with several posters asking if the Advocate was covering someone's hiney. Sentell's stories on DOE are notoriously soft, and this one is no different: don't expect any hard questions in here.
MAY 21 Here's another post from blogger Tom Aswell about the "course choice" program. He's already reported on kids being signed up without their consent or knowledge, and has more here: For example, he tells of a six-year-old who was signed up for high school Latin. He also digs a little deeper into the sister companies of the main one operating in Louisiana; all of them seem to have complaints against them. Stinky.
MAY 21 Given the 80 percent cut in higher ed funding since he's been in office, it's clear Gov. Jindal would rather give tax cuts to out of state companies than have a functioning system, blogger Dayne Sherman argues in this post. The cuts have been such a disaster, Sherman says, that it will take 30 years to fix what's been broken. He says he believes the aim is to shut down most of the schools before Jindal leaves in 2016.
MAY 21 Blogger CB Forgotston says there are too many elections in Louisiana, and they're costing us too much money. The proof is in the pudding: turnout for most of these nonsensical pollings gets worse and worse, CB opines, even as millions of dollars that could be spent on health care or higher ed go down the tubes. The legislature must take action to stem the tide of pointless elections, he says.
MAY 21 Here's an interesting investigative piece by WVUE on the retirement benefits of some Jefferson Parish public employees. According to the story, the taxpayers are paying 100 percent of the retirement contributions of employees who started work prior to a certain date in April 1986 -- and have done for more than 30 years. It costs the parish millions annually, and might not be legal, the story reports.
MAY 21 This post on Bayou Buzz provides insight from Louisiana's intrepid pollster, Bernie Pinsonat, on the winners and losers from this year's legislative session. But to hear Bernie tell it, there's almost nuttin but losers: Jindal, the Republican party, the Fiscal Hawks all get big goose eggs in his win column.
MAY 20 This post on The Lens takes a look at a huge (either $500K or $250K) bill that one NOLA charter now has for school lunches. The RSD says the charter group didn't fill out the proper paperwork for federal reimbursement, but the story details how the RSD didn't ensure the people running the charter had the proper training, despite requests from hapless charter employees trying to fill out forms. Either way, somebody's asleep at the wheel.
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.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.