As a member of the House Appropriations Committee and a lawyer, I am disappointed in the media’s coverage of House Bill 105, which deals with the appropriations for the Louisiana Department of Justice (LADOJ).
We have a budget crisis in Louisiana, and everyone knows it. As legislators, we have received constituents' countless telephone calls, emails, and letters of concern, and many of us are trying to urge the reforms necessary to create a more fiscally responsible budget and state government.
HB 105 by Rep. Cameron Henry, the Appropriations Chairman, is an important step in the accomplishment of that mission.
Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. In Louisiana, the evidence is abundantly clear that the way we have been handling our budget is not working; and we must be open to new ideas, efficiencies, and innovation.
The idea of granting statewide elected officials more autonomy over their own department appropriations is one that every good government advocate should support. It was first presented to our committee by Secretary of State Tom Schedler, not Attorney General Jeff Landry; and it was birthed during the recent special session when statewide elected officials testified that they could do a better job at saving money and managing budget cuts if they were allowed more authority.
The public should also know that Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne expressed the same belief in our committee hearings and cited his experience as a statewide elected official in advancing this concept. It is curious why he suddenly changed his position last week.
Many of my legislative colleagues and I have voiced strong support for H.B. 105 because it is an example of precisely the kind of positive change that the people of this state have been demanding. Setting up an individual appropriations bill for the LADOJ has given the Appropriations Committee an opportunity to scrutinize the LADOJ budget more closely. As was seen on the House Floor last week, it also gave all Members of the House the same opportunity.
State Representative HD-49