Will Simone Champagne‘s home sale jeopardize her House seat?

by Patrick Flanagan

For State Rep. Simone Champagne, owning a second home outside her District 49‘s boundaries was perfectly legally.

[Editor‘s note: This story has been updated to reflect new information from Glen Duncan, director of communications for the House of Representatives.]

For State Rep. Simone Champagne, owning a second home outside her District 49‘s boundaries was perfectly legally.

With the recent sale of her Jeanerette home, state Rep. Simone Champagne‘s immediate future in the Legislature is uncertain.

That, however, appears to have changed with the recent sale of her Jeanerette home, which sold for $92,300 on Jan. 27, according to The Daily Iberian.

The IND has since learned that the problem for Champagne, whose District 49 encompasses the southern portion of Iberia Parish and stretches westward into Vermilion Parish, is that the Jeanerette address was listed as her primary domicile, and her new home in Youngsville does not fall within the boundaries of her elected district.

According to the state constitution, an elected official must vacate their seat upon moving out of the district they represent. Article 3, Section 4 of the Louisiana Constitution reads: "The seat of any member who changes his domicile from the district he represents ... or whose domicile is not within the district he represents at the time he is sworn into office, shall be vacated."

In July, The IND broke the news of Champagne‘s purchase of a home in Youngsville, but at that time she said she would maintain both residences until her House term‘s expiration in 2015.

"We did buy a second home in the Youngsville area, but we still have our home in Jeanerette," Champagne told The IND in July. "My husband is approaching retirement in the next two years, and we always said we‘d move to where we are centrally located for our five children. We had an opportunity to buy in the Youngsville area, and we went for it."

Champagne also confirmed during that interview that she would not seek re-election in 2015.

The IND again reached out Thursday to Champagne to find out whether she will be stepping down from her House seat. Champagne responded by text message, saying: "I did recently sell my home in Jeanerette but I am still in compliance with the laws with representing the district. As I released in June of 2013, I will not seek re-election in 2015, but I will continue to serve the people of Iberia and Vermilion parishes. With the Session beginning in a couple of weeks, I will represent District 49 on issues of importance to them as I always have."

"We have no knowledge of that," says Glen Duncan, communications director for the House of Representatives.