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Bossier govts violate comment law; some worse

Bossier City didn’t quite get right new transparency requirements required under state law. And other parish governing authorities haven’t even tried, in violation of that law, while some of those others have violated a different but related law for over a decade.

Last year, the Louisiana Legislature passed what would become Act 393 of 2023, effective last Aug. 1. This mandated for most state government boards and all local plenary governing authorities that they broaden their capacities for people with disabilities or their caregivers for direct participation in most meetings of those bodies, including those appointed or elected to such bodies.

The new law covers a lot so perhaps it’s no accident that Bossier City didn’t get around to changing its rules for compliance until its first meeting of this year, in conjunction with a change to its meeting dates. The new policy adopted enables both councilors and potential participants to participate remotely if the former “provide[s] a medical certification of disability on forms provided by the City Clerk” and the latter “complete[s] an application for remote participation and provide a medical certification of disability on forms provided by the City Clerk.”


Supreme Court squabble solved best by expansion

Partisan, racial, and electoral politics have all come into focus over membership on the Louisiana Supreme Court, as conflict bubbling behind the scenes over the past few years has burst into open struggle among the justices – begging old wine in a new bottle from incoming governor Rep. Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry.

Last month, most Louisiana Supreme Court members signed onto a request for the Louisiana Legislature to take up its reapportionment soon. The Legislature almost certainly will be called into special session in fewer than two weeks by Landry to deal with an unrelated and court-forced reapportionment matter.

The Court hasn’t been reapportioned since 1999 when it was rejiggered to create a minority-majority district among eight. Constitutionally, states who elect judges aren’t required to reapportion on the basis of population because judiciary are not considered to be majoritarian organs of government making policy as they confine themselves to adjudication, although a languishing long-shot suit trying to reverse that in Louisiana remains pending.


BC Council needs resolution not to act illegally

It’s nothing new for Bossier City to make end runs around the law to accomplish what a handful of governing elites want. But at the first City Council meeting of the year it’s unusually ambitious in its attempts both to tempt constitutional fates over public expression and, yet again, violate its own charter and ordinances.

Already this year a Council majority has brought infamy onto itself by rejecting a charter imperative – all of Republicans David Montgomery, Jeff Free, and Vince Maggio, Democrat Bubba Williams, and no party Jeff Darby on multiple occasions – to schedule a pair of ballot items on term limits for elected officials, resulting from certified petitions following charter guidelines. It also managed to get itself sued over conduct relating to restrictions on public comment at meetings and attempted secret meetings.

Part of that suit addresses behavior under the existing rules for comments, but another part asks to have the entire set declared unconstitutional because it is overly restrictive. Existing jurisprudence suggests that those rules are on thin constitutional ice, and certainly leave much room for patently unconstitutional behavior in their application.