Lee Zurik investigative reporter with WVUE-TV in New Orleans revealed last night that it was Senator Neil Riser who put the amendment into the Conference Committee Report on SB 294 that gave La. State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson an extra $55,000 a year retirement benefit for the rest of his life. ( See story here.)
On July 16, 2014, I sent via email this message to Riser:
You were a member of the Conference Committee that added an amendment to SB 294 of the 2014 Regular Session that granted special retirement benefits to certain members of the La. State Police.
I know that such changes don’t come from thin air or accidentally get into such reports. Please tell me:
1) Who asked you to put the amendment into the Conference Committee Report?
2) Who gave you the actual amendment to you to insert in the bill?
3) Who actually drafted the amendment?
4) Exactly what do you intend to do about the costly amendment?
Finally, are you aware of the constitutional requirements for making changes to the state retirement systems?
A response is requested.
On July 17, 2014, Riser responded:
I returned from a family vacation last night around 10:30, and had Bond Commission this morning. Otherwise, I would have gotten back with you on this sooner.
As you know, this was on that last hectic day of session. I first saw the amendment when I read the conference committee report drafted by staff. As the language was explained to me, I believed it fixed a retirement problem for the law enforcement community.
I understand the bill’s author is looking into this to see if any action needs to be taken, and I’ll support whatever he decides.
I began working for the Lege in 1968 and have continued to follow and work with them to this day. In all that time, I’ve never had a lege tell me such a bald-faced lie as Riser. Riser not only denied knowing about the amendment, but threw his own top staff person under the bus.
The only way to resolve this matter is for a lawsuit to be filed to declare SB 294 unconstitutional.
Anything less, will allow Edmonson and the other Trooper to take advantage of the extra benefits in the future.
As to Riser, his constituents will have to deal with him. My sympathy goes out to the Senate staffer who Riser threw under the bus.
Kudos to Lee Zurik for revealing Riser and his lies.
“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill