On Monday, the St. Charles Parish Council killed three proposed ordinances, all of which were introduced by Councilman Paul Hogan.
Hogan was absent from the meeting and had asked the council to hold off on a vote on the ordinances until he returned from his annual family vacation.
However, the council voted 5-2 not to table them and all three failed. Council members Terry Authement and Carolyn Schexnaydre were the only ones that voted to table the measures. Councilman Marcus Lambert was absent.
One of the ordinances would have clarified the law regarding location restrictions on alcohol sales.
Hogan said the ordinance was meant to define how close a business selling alcohol can be to a school or church.
“I remember years ago there was a person that wanted to open up a shop (selling alcohol) across from the Assembly of God Church in Boutte,” Hogan said. “Somebody took it to court to get clarification on how to measure the 500 feet. The court agreed with them that you should measure the way a person has to walk, not a straight-line distance.”
Hogan was surprised that the ordinance failed before he got a chance to offer input.
“Apparently, the council must have felt that they didn’t need me to explain it,” he said. “They were just going to kill it anyway no matter what its purpose was.”
Schexnaydre was the only person to vote for the proposed ordinance and said she did so out of respect.
“I voted for it out of courtesy for Mr. Hogan not being there,” she said. “I knew it wasn’t going to work because I’m only one vote. They just didn’t want it to pass; it’s that simple.”
Another one of Hogan’s ordinances that failed would have put more restrictions on the laws for blocking drainage systems.
The current laws only restrict people from blocking drainage ditches, not other drainage infrastructures.
“My ordinance said you can’t block a drainage ditch, or a catch basin, or any other thing that accepts water to drain it away from homes and roads,” Hogan said. “If they voted against that one, they’re against drainage and are in support of flooding.”
A third ordinance was designed to set up a procedure where residents with open swale ditches in front of their homes could get subsurface drainage.
Hogan was disappointed that he wasn’t offered the chance to defend any of the ordinances because he was not at the meeting.
“I requested that they table (the ordinances) so that I could be there to discuss them,” Hogan said. “That makes no sense for them to kill either one of those.”
Authement said he thinks it is important for someone who introduces an ordinance to be at the meeting to discuss it, but that the council will usually table the issue until that member is able to attend.
“If it’s your legislation, it’s important to be there,” Authement said. “(Hogan) had wanted things to be held off until he was there. In most cases, respect is shown and they postpone action so that that person is there.”