Last week, I watched our State Legislature debate two bills designed to give voters the option to decide if they wanted to enact term limits for certain elected officials. The first one up for debate was HB 292 by Rep. Steve Pugh, R-Ponchatoula. This legislation puts on the ballot in every parish a measure to impose term limits on the local school board. Rep. Pugh’s bill passed, 60-36, initially; then some vote-changing made the score 62-35.
Soon after was HB 390 by Rep. Simone Champagne, R-Jeanerette. This bill was a proposed Constitutional Amendment, whereby we, the voters, would have on our ballots the option to approve or reject imposing term limits on state-wide elected officials. As a proposed Constitutional Amendment, it needed 70 votes to pass.
HB 390 received no real public opposition from any state-wide offices. The only real opposition appeared to come from the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association. A representative of the association said they opposed a bill that did not apply to sheriffs because: “Now it’s only state-wide elected officials, but we realize that sentiment could go to local government as well”.
Translation: “Shut up and pay your taxes. How dare you peasants even entertain such a thought!”
The final result was Rep. Champagne’s proposal failing on the House floor, 49-49. This means we, the taxpayers and voters, will get no say in whether or not term limits should be enacted on state-wide elected officials. Check this link and see if your State Rep. voted FOR giving we, the people, the option to approve or reject term limits, or if they cowered to political pressure and sold us out.
If your State Representative’s name is in the NAY column on either of these bills, especially if they voted NO on both bills, you may want to ask them why they are opposed to giving the voters the option to decide if they want term limits imposed on their elected officials. After all, we pay the salaries, and in some of these cases, we pay other benefits. Shouldn’t we get to choose if they are able to remain in the same elected office 20-30 years, buying votes along to the way to keep their power entrenched…or decide if enough is enough and they must move on?
What has changed in Baton Rouge since 2007? It can’t be too much. We still don’t have enough State Legislators with the guts to do what is right for the people of Louisiana, which in this case, means giving us a voice in our own government. While legislative term-limits did bring in some fresh blood, it obviously has not yet brought in enough courage.
Alderman – Town of Iota, Acadia Parish