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Opaquely, Bossier govts defuse, issue threats

Operating squarely within their histories of lack of transparency, Bossier Parish and Bossier City’s legislative organs recently tackled controversial legal issues differently, one to the benefit and one to the detriment of the citizenry.

The Police Jury appoints a member to the Cypress Black Bayou Recreation and Water Conservation District, and that current term expires at the end of the month. Held at present by Robert Berry, controversy arose when, two terms back, Berry and his fellow commissioners appointed him also as executive director. This eventually caught the attention of the state’s attorney general as a violation of dual officeholding, and after a protracted legal battle this spring the Louisiana Supreme Court instructed lower courts to rule along those lines.

Even so, the district’s Board of Commissioners petitioned for Berry’s reappointment. Perhaps one reason was, according to public comments made at their meetings, it had become dependent on Berry to make and execute decisions on its behalf, and another maybe being that state law would force Berry if leaving the Board to resign as executive director, as a former member generally of a state board can’t be employed by it until two years pass after end of service, so commissioners wanted to keep him in that job.

But that wish simply didn’t comport to legal reality. At the meeting, a parade of Berry’s and the District’s lawyers (it’s uncertain to this point how many taxpayer dollars they have burned on trying to fight the state’s case, but it’s certainly into six figures and probably a tenth or more of all District expenses annually over the last two or three years), other commissioners, his friends, and family spoke about how great of a guy he was and how great of a job he had done and how the decision hadn’t actually kicked him out of office, all arguing for reappointment.


RINOs, strategic Democrats dilute history-making

The Louisiana Legislature made history in the 2023 Veto Session, in the process giving some Republicans a chance to display their middle fingers to Louisianans and some Democrats to gamble on fooling enough voter to gain successful reelection.

Louisiana's most remarkable legislative passage ever occurred when HB 648 by Republican state Rep. Gabe Firment crossed the finish line. This was a bill rogue GOP state Sen. Fred Mills (aided by some stupid planning by Sen. Pres. Page Cortez) killed in committee, only to have it resurrected through rarely-used parliamentary procedures, killed again by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, only to have the veto session reanimate it into law, representing the first time ever a regular session bill had its veto successfully overridden.

The bill prohibits medical interventions, whether chemical or surgical, to alter a minor’s sex. It simply became a litmus test that even the most shallow Republicans and Democrats endangered for reelection had to support because it so self-evidently was needed. In their remarks carrying the bill in their respective chambers, Firment and Republican state Sen. Jay Morris demolished the evidence-free and weak argumentation of opponents to establish that children didn’t have the maturity to make such an irreversible decision, that many who in their haste did later regretted it, that such procedures often addressed a symptom of an underlying disorder and wasn’t the disorder, that these didn’t stop suicidal ideation for many, and that worldwide (within the last year country after country has placed similar bans on these actions) medical opinion supported such bans while further research occurred.


Bossier jurors display reelection vulnerability

This week, Bossier Parish police jurors can choose whether to dig their political gravesites a little deeper when they decide who to represent them on the Cypress Black Bayou Recreation and Water Conservation District.

The agency has been mired in controversy for years with the ongoing dispute over whether the Jury’s two-time appointee to five-year terms, Robert Berry, also can serve as the district’s executive director. This spring, the Louisiana Supreme Court answered that question definitively by ordering lower courts to rule that Berry’s continued service in both positions violated the state’s dual officeholding statute.

Nonetheless, with Berry’s term ending in a couple of weeks, the agency’s Board of Commissioners (with his recusal) inexplicably asked for his reappointment despite no evidence that he intended to resign as executive director, which is the only legal way he could continue. Unless the Jury wants its slot on the Board, its composition filled with area parish government agency representatives, to go vacant, it must decide in this week’s meeting either to reappoint Berry to a third term, appoint somebody else which would allow Berry legally to stay on as executive director, or leave the spot unfilled.


Many worthy bills begging for veto override

Several obvious reversals are on tap for Louisiana’s upcoming veto session, but the balloting that affirmed this regathering of the Legislature provides clues as to what other worthy legislation should be resurrected, and why these bills might be, after their attempted murders by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards.


This marks the third year in a row a veto session will have convened – previously for the 2021 Regular Session and for the First Extraordinary Session of 2022 – but the first with better-than two-thirds supermajorities attached. Only 31 of 105 representatives and 12 of 39 senators sent in ballots requesting cancellation.


That distribution didn’t quite fall along partisan lines. With no party state Rep. Joe Marino sending in a ballot, Democrat state Sens. Katrina Jackson and Greg Tarver essentially switched places with Republican state Sens. Fred Mills and Rogers Pope. Among other representatives, Democrat state Reps. Roy Daryl AdamsChad Brown, and Robby Carter all withheld ballots.