State Rep. Rickey Hardy is pushing a bill to move the Third Circuit Court of Appeal from Lake Charles to Lafayette. The state already has $13 million budgeted to build a new Third Circuit Courthouse in Lake Charles but Hardy says it's time to consider a different location. This morning, Hardy was distributing booklets his office had put together making the case for moving the court to Acadiana's hub city. Among his arguments is that Lake Charles is more prone to hurricane damage and disruptions than Lafayette and that Lafayette offers a more centralized location. “It’s more efficient,” Hardy says. The Third Circuit, with 12 state Appellate judges, covers 21 parishes from Cameron to St. Martin along the coast and Sabine to Catahoula in the northern region of the state. The court has been operating in Lake Charles since its establishment in 1960.
Hardy’s proposed bill, HB 659, is scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee next week. Hardy says he hopes to have the support of Third Circuit judges as well as other state officials. “It’s going to be a challenge,” Hardy says, “but it’s nothing but a hill for a stepper.”