New La. constitutional amendment requires Senate confirmation to governor appointees

Leading up to this weekend the governor was able to appoint whoever he wanted to both the Public Service Commission and the State Police Commission.
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 6:33 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Leading up to the Dec. 10 election, the governor was able to appoint whoever he wanted to both the Civil Service Commission and the Louisiana State Police Commission without any vetting process from the state legislature but more than 70% of citizens who voted decided that was no longer appropriate.

Those who voted noticed several constitutional amendments on their ballot. Two of them made it mandatory for every person appointed to either commission by the governor to first be confirmed by the state Senate.

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“When I looked at it, I said, ‘Woah! Why is it that these two entities don’t require Senate confirmation?’” said state Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge. “Every other board or commission in the state of Louisiana requires Senate confirmation.”

With all that’s come to light recently within Louisiana State Police, Fields pointed out that accountability is what drove people to vote.

“It just doesn’t make sense to have commissions and boards at a high level like the State Police Commission or a Civil Service Commission and not have a vetting process by the legislative body. Louisiana is unique to have a commission that’s in the constitution and no other state in the nation has such,” explained Fields.

“It’s something that’s commonly done even in Washington,” added political analyst Jim Engster. “The president of the United States may nominate someone to the Supreme Court but that person still needs Senate approval.”

Engster said that in his view adding an extra layer to the vetting process can only help with any skepticism from the public.

“It was not controversial and the governor’s office didn’t fight it and the current governor is out in a year. And future governors, I think they can live within this. It’s not an unreasonable expectation for the Senate to have oversight. This one passed overwhelmingly, and some would say it’s long overdue and just a commonsense measure,” continued Engster.

Through his office, Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will not be taking a position on this. And now that it’s passed, it becomes effective immediately.

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