AG Jeff Landry Clarifies Opinion On Lafayette Charter
In response to the "misinformation" from some in the Lafayette community regarding the Charter Amendment, The Louisiana Department of Justice wishes to clarify several questions being asked.
The Department of Justice says, "Lafayette is governed by a Home Rule Charter and that Our State Constitution requires a vote of the people to amend a home rule charter. This cannot be done by the council alone."
The statement notes that while everyone is entitled their own opinions, not every opinion holds the same weight.
The department states that unlike the City Attorney’s memo, "our Opinion carries Constitutional weight," and that, historically, "the courts have sided with Attorney General's opinions in disputes."
The author of Opinion 19-0033 is the Deputy Director of the Attorney General’s Civil Division who has spent almost three decades as a contract attorney for the Secretary of State’s Office dealing with local governments and elections.
The statement concludes that the office has issued many opinions addressing home rule charters and that it makes clear that amendments to home rule charters are only valid when approved by the voters (see La. Const. Art VI, Sec. 5(c)).
There is no need for a new election on the deconsolidation amendment.
That is the opinion released in a memo by several city-parish attorneys, including Mike Hebert. They say the wording issue that left the amendment "botched" should be fixed by way of a council ordinance.
“This course of action is consistent with a reasonable interpretation of LCG’s Home Rule Charter, the applicable state law regarding reapportionment, as well as LCG’s previous actions in amending council election districts,” the memo states.
You can read the Memorandum regarding Council Election District Reapportionment by CLICKING ON THE LINK.
On "The Ross Report," Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin joined Carol Ross to explain what's next as it pertains to the deconsolidation issue.
In addition to giving a projected timeline moving forward, Ardoin also makes a stunning revelation: that under the "botched amendment" there would have been voters both in the City of Lafayette and the Parish who would not have been able to vote for a representative - because of how the lines were drawn.
LISTEN BY CLICKING THE VIDEO BELOW:
Voters in Lafayette Parish will have to go back to the polls and re-vote on the so-called deconsolidation measure according to Mayor-President Joel Robideaux. But time is ticking for it to make it on the Fall ballot. The news comes as Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin weighs in the issue and said it can't go forward as-is.
The problems reportedly stem from issues with the proposed maps and some of the language in the proposed charter. Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux confirmed the news to KPEL News Director Bernadette Lee. Robideaux says he hasn't gotten the final word from Ardoin, but that public discussion would have to start again.
WATCH Robideaux's press conference by CLICKING BELOW:
Reportedly, according to the Advertiser, some council members were hoping a “cleanup ordinance” would fix the errors, but Ardoin told Robideaux the errors are “too significant for him to be able to certify the election results, and (the amendment) would have to go back to the people,” says Cydra Wingerter, chief communications officer with Lafayette Consolidated Government.
Listen to the full interview below:
The deadline for a measure to be put on the Fall ballot would be in mid-March. Robideaux is unsure if all of the necessary work can be completed by then.
The issue has been white hot since it was proposed that the Lafayette Consolidated Council split into two separate bodies: a parish council and a city council. Last Fall, voters of the approved that plan, setting up a very busy 2019 election year.
Residents were set to vote on members for each council this fall, but it seems that those plans are on hold. This story is developing.