Readers React: Legislative leaders ‘self-indulging’ with Capitol police force
The Louisiana State Capitol (Wesley Muller/Louisiana Illuminator)
On June 16, 2022, Gov. Edwards quietly approved the creation of a new police force exclusively for the Louisiana Legislature. He signed into law Act 507, legitimizing Senate Bill 490 – a poorly identified bill entitled “to provide security services for the state capitol building.”
It’s probable that term-limited Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, will immediately present the nominee’s name to the entire legislature where it needs a simple majority approval from both chambers to fill the newly created position of Director of Capitol Security. This can’t be a civil service position since the selectee shall serve at the pleasure of, and will answer to only, the Senate and House leaders and the legislature.
The devil is in the details. This new, weaponized state police force is authorized to consist of up to 24 additional personnel exclusively for the security and protection of the legislature in all areas that are occupied and utilized by the members, officers and staff of the legislative branch of state government. This will include even when many legislators are off duty while utilizing and occupying (presumably sometimes with guests) the Pentagon Barracks apartments (a legislative perk) located within the state capitol complex!
For $2 million, SB 490 covers lots more than “security services in the state capitol building.” Considering there will be future employee salaries to pay (including merit and cost-of-living raises), and other benefits, the future annual costs will never decrease. Many of Louisiana’s current crop of legislators is self-indulging with “We the People’s” money.
Victor L. Buccola, Destrehan
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