Attorney general’s budget faces hurdles

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics

The Louisiana House took a possibly unprecedented stance last week when it approved a standalone appropriations bill, apart from the state budget, for the attorney general’s Justice Department.

The likelihood of HB 105 passing, though, is not great, based on more than a dozen interviews regarding the proposal.

The bill is now pending further action in the Senate, where it’ll probably be assigned to the Finance Committee for an initial hearing.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, for starters, said he would veto the legislation should it reach his desk. Yet he may never get the chance.

LaPolitics interviewed all 11 members of the Senate Finance Committee, not including its interim members, and found there were seven votes already in opposition and four that either said they needed to think about it or required more information.

“I am in favor of giving (Attorney General Jeff Landry) as much discretion as possible, but I don’t know if we should do it as a supplemental item outside of HB 1,” said Finance Chairman Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, referencing the bill that houses the state operating budget.

There are also legal questions, with Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne telling lawmakers a breakaway budget may be unconstitutional.