Hardy's housing bill clears another hurdle

by Leslie Turk

State Rep. Rickey Hardy's bill to let the sun shine on housing developments heads to the full Senate.

State Rep. Rickey Hardy's bill to make affiliates of housing authorities subject to the state's public records law cleared another hurdle Wednesday.

Without objection, the 10-member Committee on Senate and Governmental Affairs sent the bill to the Legislative Bureau for examination. It is scheduled to be debated on the Senate floor Tuesday, according to Hardy. As it stands now, affiliates of housing authorities are exempt from the state's public records law.

Last week HB 188 garnered overwhelming support in the House, which voted 97-0 to strip the exemption from the sunshine law. Hardy, who played a key role in helping to expose potential corruption in the Lafayette Housing Authority (the feds continue to investigate, but there is ample evidence of wrongdoing), wants the public to be able to review the deals designed to bring much-needed low-income housing developments to Lafayette.

Affiliates of housing authorities are defined as any corporation, entity, partnership, venture, syndicate, or arrangement in which a local housing authority has an ownership or governance interest of less than a majority. For the only such venture complete and operational, St. Antoine Gardens, an independent auditor found that the LHA improperly used as much as $1 million of Section 8 and other funds for repairs, upkeep and an employee's salary.

Read more here.