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Equalizing the power of the legislatures

By C.B. Forgotston -   Jun 14, 2012

We constantly hear the leges whining about how much power the governor of Louisiana has and how little they have.

The myth

First, that belief is a myth and is not based on our state constitution. The only power in our constitution that all governors in America donít have is the power of line-item veto of "money bills."

The rest of our governorís power comes from abdication by the leges of their power over the purse.

The primary thing that the governor has by which to lord over the leges is money. Not money to run the state, but money for the "bacon" which the leges think they need to bring home in order to get re-elected.

The solution

A simple solution to reducing the governorís power requires no change to the rules, law or constitution. It merely requires the desire and political will of the leges to be equal.

Instead of playing footsy with the governor by delaying the state budget and other major "money bills" until the last days of the session, pass them first.

Prior to the session beginning, there is ample time for the money committees to begin meeting and reviewing the "money bills."

The leges simply need to set a time-table for passing the "money bills" within the first 30 calendar days of the session. Any major oversights can be fixed with individual appropriation bills.

This will put the budgets and other "money bills" on the governorís desk while the leges are in session.

The governor then is required to exercise his line-item vetoes within 10 days. If the leges donít like the governorís decisions they are already in session and can override the vetoes.

This new procedure will not only affect the "money bills," but all other substantive legislation proposed by the governor.

After that, there is nothing left for the governor to hold over their heads except a few appointments which, for the most part, the leges gave the governor the authority to appoint. Those can be taken away by the leges.

Role equalization

If the leges initiate this one simple change in procedure, it will equalize the power of the lege and the governor.

Itís time for the leges to quit whining and lying to the public about the governorís power or to admit they like the status quo.

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