Another issue has arisen, that should have waved a red flag to the six conferees (Senators JP Morrell, Neil Riser, Mike Walsworth and Representatives Walt Leger, Bryan Adams and Jeff Arnold) on SB 294 of the 2014 Regular Session.
With the exception of Adams, all are veteran leges. Two of the leges are attorneys and should know the law, especially the Speaker Pro Tem who should also be very familiar with the specific laws governing the lege process as he is often called to rule on them.
SB 294, if you recall, is the legislation that provided State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson a gift from the taxpayers of an extra $30,000 a year for the rest of his and his family’s life.
The leges have admitted knowing that the amendment affected the state retirement systems. Therefore, they should have noticed that there was no Actuarial Note attached to the Conference Committee Report and thus could not even be considered by the committee.
La. R.S. 24:521(A), in part, states:
Every bill, joint resolution, and simple or concurrent resolution introduced in the legislature proposing any change in the law relative to any state, municipal or parochial retirement system, funded in whole or in part out of public funds shall have attached to it at the time of its consideration by any committee of either house of the legislature a brief explanatory statement or note which shall include a reliable estimate of the financial and actuarial effect of the proposed change in any such retirement system. (Emphasis Mine)
The note from the Lege Actuary that purports to comply with the above referenced law was not provided until June 5, 2014, THREE DAYS AFTER THE 2014 REGULAR SESSION ENDED. See note here.
Gross incompetence or conspiracy
Either the Edmonson Amendment is the result of numerous lapses by Edmonson’s staff (Who according to him, asked for the amendment.) the leges, the lege staff, the lege actuary, the governor’s executive counsel (Who failed to point out the illegalities to the governor before it was signed into law.) or there was a conspiracy among some or all of them in order to surreptitiously guide this benefit through the process.
Cloud over lege
Numerous state laws, including the constitution, have been violated in the course of enacting the Edmonson Amendment. Whatever was the cause of this breach of the lege process, an internal investigation by the lege needs to be launched immediately.
The public has the right to know. This type of activity cannot be tolerated by those who represent us in the process of making our state laws.
Finally, to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill: This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, this is merely the beginning of uncovering the facts behind this lege scandal. If anyone is not interested in this scandal, now would be a good time to let me know to drop you from the mailing list.
“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill