The City-Parish Council has called a special meeting Tuesday to vote on a resolution urging Gov. Bobby Jindal to veto a bill passed in the recent legislative session that changes the means by which municipal annexations can be challenged in court.
House Bill 577 by Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, passed the lower chamber of the Legislature unanimously, 96-0, and scraped through the Senate on a 22-10 vote. According to the bill, which awaits Jindal’s signature, “Only the state agency, political subdivision, or public body that owns the land subject to a municipal annexation may challenge or otherwise seek to invalidate an ordinance to enlarge the boundaries of a municipality to include territory within which all of the land is owned by a state agency, political subdivision, or public body.”
The resolution before the council cites the “harmful changes to the law of Louisiana regarding municipal annexations.”
Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, who sponsored the resolution, says City-Parish President Joey Durel requested it. Although it isn’t apparent in a reading of the legislation, Boudreaux tells The Ind there are concerns about the bill, should it become law, exacerbating the squabbles that have long plagued Lafayette Parish, especially of late between the cities of Lafayette and Broussard. According to the District 4 councilman, the worry is that the law would allow cities to purchase land that isn’t contiguous to their municipal boundaries and then annex that land. If the proposed law can be read that way, then it could create a run of hodgepodge annexations as cities rush to take in valuable commercial areas.
“We cannot allow this to go into effect because you could have municipalities going into other people’s areas and buying tracts of land and annexing it,” Boudreaux says.
For more on why annexation has become such a sore topic in Lafayette Parish, especially for the city of Lafayette and the unincorporated parish, read our excellent April 2010 cover story, “Land Grab.”