Money for judgments also missing from budget

There’s no money in the House-passed budget to address legal judgments that have been decided against the state and lawmakers are doubtful that any new dollars will be added to the spending plan to pay them next fiscal year, according to Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, R-Metairie.

At one time the state was paying on average between $10 million and $12 million in judgments, but the last couple of years have seen those averages drop off due to revenue shortages.

The real problem, however, is that judicial interest is running on all of those unpaid balances, said Henry.Judgments are traditionally paid through legislation, with lawmakers filing several such bills each session.

This year, there’s only one judgment bill.

HB 619 by Rep. Steve Pugh, R-Ponchatoula, would pay a suit against the state for “Jean Boudreaux and the Victims of the Flood of April 6, 1983, on the Tangipahoa River.”

With judicial interest dating back to 1984, this particular judgment adds up to somewhere in the neighborhood of $91 million or more.

While it’s a bill that Pugh and others have pushed for years, it’s unclear whether a little-known state law, which doesn’t allow the treasurer to pay any debt or claims after 10 years have lapsed, would come into play in this instance.House bills may face fiscal threshold The House and Governmental Affairs Committee is expected to vote soon on a proposed House rule that would require all legislation with fiscal costs of $100,000 or more to be recommitted to the Appropriations Committee.

HR 74 by Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, would therefore create a higher hurdle for bills with this kind of price tag starting in 2018.

It’s not a completely foreign concept at the Capitol.

A similar rule has been on the books in the Senate since the late 1990s, although the threshold was much higher — $500,000 — until it was lowered to $100,000 in 2010.Speculation on PSC race starting In the wake of news that Pubic Service Commissioner Scott Angelle of Breaux Bridge was being vetted in March for a position with the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, politicos have turned their attention to the possibility of his seat opening up on the PSC.

The District 2 seat stretches from Lafayette to Baton Rouge and includes a portion of the central coastline in the Terrebonne-Lafourche region.

If Angelle does indeed get an appointment from the Trump Administration, he would then have to resign his seat on or before June 14 for a special election to be added to the fall ballot, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

If a move happens after that date, then it could turn into either a standalone special election or a long haul to the regularly-scheduled election in 2018.

Either way, the governor would be able to appoint a temporary replacement until an election could be held.Speculation churned over the PSC seat last in 2016 when Angelle made an unsuccessful bid for Congress.

Dr. Craig C. Greene of Baton Rouge, an orthopaedic surgeon, and former state Rep. Joe Harrison of Napoleonville were angling hard for the job then.

Also thrown into the mix at the time were former Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Joel Boe and state Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Carencro, who has since cultivated deeper roots in the region as the former transition head for Congressman Clay Higgins.

Another name to keep in play is Senate Natural Resources Chairman Norby Chabert, R-Houma, who lives in the southern end of the PSC district. Local politicos have been trying to get Chabert to consider running for the seat over the past few years.

From the same area, former Rep. Lenar Whitney has been mentioned as a possible candidate.

Of course, this may all be fruitless speculation unless Angelle has been offered a federal post — and he decides to take it.Mayoral election notes— Last month Nic Hunter became the first Republican ever elected mayor in Lake Charles. At age 33, he also became the second youngest politician ever elevated to the position. It was a victory that still has GOP diehards crowing. Hunter and his campaign team managed to flip an important Louisiana city that supported both Hillary Clinton and Foster Campbell, two Democrats, in 2016.

— State Rep. Greg Cromer announced his intentions last week to run for mayor of Slidell next year. Facing an exit due to term limits, Cromer, a Republican, served two terms on the Slidell City Council before moving to the Capitol. If he is ultimately successful, that would trigger yet another special legislative election in the Legislature this term, in House District 90.

Political History: A Cadillac travels from Detroit to LouisianaNext month marks the 304th anniversary (June 5, 1713) of Antoine de la Mothe-Cadillac arriving in Louisiana as the French colonial governor.

Cadillac was a French explorer who traded in alcohol and furs, among other goods. But more importantly he founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit in 1701, which was the geographic starting point for the modern Detroit in Michigan.

At one point during his nine years in Detroit, Cadillac was jailed for trafficking alcohol, but was cleared of the charges a short time later by the King of France. He was also subsequently indicted on other charges related to abuses of power, but he managed to survive those indignities.

In fact, in 1710 the French king decided that Louisiana would be a good place for Cadillac, who in the process was named as the colonial governor of La Louisiana.

But rather than traveling directly to Louisiana, Cadillac ventured instead to Paris, where he found an investor for La Louisiana and used the money on a copper mining scheme that failed to actually produce copper.

By 1716, having been appointed colonial governor of Louisiana for six years and serving only three in person inside the state, Cadillac was removed from the office.

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