At the request of Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, the GOP-controlled committee removed references to the Department of Justice in the general appropriations bill HB 1 and instead tucked these into a separate HB 105. Further, the separate bill contained instructions giving Landry the authority to make cuts in any fashion within the department should revenue shortfalls occur during the fiscal year. In response, Democrats on the committee as well as Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne opined that they thought handling appropriations in this fashion did not comply with the Constitution.
But nothing in the Constitution disallows such an approach. Art. III Sec. 16 declares that the Legislature produce a general appropriations bill “itemized and shall contain only appropriations for the ordinary operating expenses of government, public charities, pensions, and the public debt or interest thereon.” It then allows that “All other bills for appropriating money shall be for a specific purpose and amount.” As such, HB 105 appears to meet this standard – as do the several other appropriations bills other than the general one typically passed each year, for the legislative and judicial branches and ancillary expenditures.