It seems Rep. Jack Montoucet (D-Crowley) must have taken some heat for his vote against HB 224, which would have suspended public retirement benefits for public servants while serving jail time, because something lit enough of a fire under him that he published an opinion letter in the Lafayette Advertiser defending his seeming vote to endorse malfeasance in office by public officials.
First, here’s the letter, where he obviously is trying to play everyone for being stupid…
Pension bill took wrong approach
This is only my third session in the Louisiana Legislature and I’ve learned a few things along the way. One is that there are good bills and there are bad bills. Another is that there are some bills that you can fix and some bills you have to throw away. House Bill 224 was one of those bills: too bad to be fixed. That’s why I voted against it.
The bill’s author could have focused it on denying pension benefits to elected officials convicted of corruption or other felonies related to their elected positions. Instead, we wrote the bill to take away pension benefits from any public servant sentenced to prison for any crime, whether or not the crime was related to their job.
This would have applied to police officers, firefighters or secretaries. This bill was an insult to every public servant on the local, parish or state level.
It sent them a horrible message that their pension benefits — something they’ve worked hard to earn — could be taken for a reason that had no relation to their service. House Bill 224 was riddled with loose ends and too open ended. For instance: two public employees could be convicted of the exact same crime. One judge could sentence one public servant to probation, he or she would keep their pension. Another judge could sentence a second public servant to prison time, costing him his pension.
State Rep. Jack Montoucet
Of course, Montoucet’s protestations don’t add up. From the Daily Advertiser’s article on this legislation a few days ago:
After raising several questions and amending House Bill 224 so it applied only to sentences resulting from job-related crimes, the House killed it with 41 voting for it and 56 against.
Also, in case the Advertiser reported the information wrong, I went back and researched the bill on the legislative website. Sure enough, Rep. Jeff Arnold (D-New Orleans) proposed an amendment, which passed, inserting the language “associated with a public service’s office”.
And guess what? Jack Montoucet voted FOR that amendment! So obivously the bill was not “too bad to be fixed” if he voted for an amendment, which in his letter, pretends never happened.
But yet, even after that amendment was added, Montoucet still voted AGAINST the legislation.
It’s bad enough he voted NO on the bill, but it’s worse that he writes a letter in the paper pretending his concern with the legislation was never addressed.
It was. We’re not that stupid.
Nick Bouterie is a conservative activist from Iota, LA, which is located in Acadia Parish.