LCG Council Approves Charter Fix Despite AG’s Opinion
An ordinance was approved Tuesday night by a 6-3 vote of the Lafayette City-Parish Council to make changes to errors in the voter-approved December 8th charter amendments.
Council member William Theriot proposed tabling the ordinance for 30 days to allow LCG lawyers to meet with the State Attorney General's office to ensure that fixing the charter amendments, by ordinance, is legal. That vote failed 6-3, despite AG Jeff Landry's opinion against a charter fix by ordinance.
The final vote of the Council means that a new reapportionment plan describing each City Council and Parish Council District will be accurately reapportioned and described.
Hours before the Lafayette City-Parish Council is to meet tonight on the topic, State Attorney General Jeff Landry issued his opinion on an LCG Council charter fix via ordinance.
“Any changes in district boundaries for purposes of the first election of council members under the amended Charter may be made only by further amendment to the Charter. Such changes cannot be made by ordinance of the governing body.”
Landry's opinion is in response to State Senator Bob Hensgens' request.
The AG’s opinion also states that voters in erroneously-omitted precincts will not be permitted to vote in any election called by the City-Parish Council.
State Attorney General Jeff Landry will issue an opinion on Lafayette's transition to a new form of government after all. Claire Taylor of the Acadiana Advocate first reported State Senator Bob Hensgens of Abbeville sent a letter to the Attorney General's office asking for guidance on how to deal with the handful of precincts left out of the amended home rule charter as voted on last fall. Hensgens' district extends into southwestern Lafayette Parish. The debate has been whether voters have to re-vote or if the precincts can be added through an ordinance by the Lafayette City-Parish Council.
Supporters of the Fix The Charter movement have opposed an Attorney General's opinion because it would be non-binding and would slow down the transition process. Last month, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin handed the power over to the Lafayette consolidated council to decide how to handle the missing precincts. His decision was that a new election wasn't legally required.