A bill by Rep. Rickey Hardy to impose term limits on judges, district attorneys and sheriffs was beaten back Wednesday in the House & Governmental Affairs Committee. The Lafayette Democrat’s House Bill 101 failed on a 15-3 vote that included a nay by fellow Lafayette Rep. Nancy Landry, a Republican.
“Elected public office is a privilege, it’s not an entitlement,” Hardy told the committee in introducing the legislation. Appearing at the hearing in opposition to the bill were representatives of the state associations for judges, clerks of court, state troopers, assessors and district attorneys.
Landry was one of many at the hearing expressing particular concern over term limits for judges, questioning whether term limits for the judicial branch could lead to judges favoring litigants who might help them secure employment upon being term limited out of office. “How would we make sure we have a qualified pool of judges if we implement term limits?” Landry also asked. “And don’t you think the longer a judge serves the more experience he gets and the more removed he is from the political process, the better of a judge he is?”
It was an almost unified assault on the bill, although Hardy did manage to deliver a few of his customarily colorful quotes. “If it’s good for the bull it should be good for the cow,” he offered early. Later, in acknowledging that he was unsure whether the bill had the backing of groups like the Council for a Better Louisiana, Hardy suggested his bill had more a prestigious endorsement: “I have the most important person supporting it, which is God.”
Composed but clearly stung by the 15-3 rebuke, Hardy voluntarily deferred another of his bills before the committee — HB 470, which would prohibit persons 70 years old and older from holding public office.
Wednesday's meeting can be viewed by accessing the House of Representatives video archive.