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Pass session start, reject civil service amendments

Now that the Secretary of State has released ballot language for the Oct. 2 constitutional amendments for the Louisiana citizenry’s inspection (except it has been too lazy to post them at its website as of this writing), it’s never too early to consider who to vote on the two propositions left over from the 2009 session of the Legislature (because no statewide elections were scheduled for last year).

One item essentially would move up the start of legislative sessions about two weeks, making them mid-March in even-numbered years and begin in mid-April in odd-numbered years. This came from a bill authored by state Sen. Neil Riser which originally would have bumped them up into January and February. But he, as well as state Sen. John Alario who offered the amendment that put the dates into their present form, apparently read my post last year about how this would interfere with Carnival and be a non-starter as a result, while Alario must have come to understand why his objections were specious.

The logic remains the same: Louisiana’s session finishes latest of all states’ and with an earlier start the budget doesn’t have to go down so close to the wire against the fiscal year which begins Jul. 1. If need be, the May 15 date reserved for the Revenue Estimating Conference to provide fresh fiscal forecasts can be moved up as well to accommodate. This deserves an affirmative vote by the people.

By contrast, the other measure by state Sen. Mike Walsworth is too broad. It would make all employees of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparation unclassified. While the chief executive should have power over the top policy-making officials of any non-constitutional agency in government through the ability to hire and fire at will (with Senate confirmation as needed for hiring), it’s a stretch to argue that every single employee should fall under this scheme. Best practices are whenever possible to make government employees part of a civil service system with merit protections. Given the functions of GOHSEP, there appears to be no compelling reason that lower-level employees be political hires of the governor or executives in GOHSEP. This amendment deserves rejection by the voters.

This pair is just a warmup; another ten come the electorate’s way a month later but, as I advise my students, you can never start studying for an assignment too early.

1 comment:

Mr. Harris Plutocrat said...

It's so weird to see a post from Professor Sadow that doesn't include some boilerplate hysterics straight from the John Birch Society printing presses.