Around Acadiana

Aug 7, 2014 7:06 PM by Akeam Ashford

Elected Officials Claiming Age Discrimination

Across the state, elected officials are calling foul, claiming age discrimination by a new law.

The law prevents Constables and Justices of the Peace from seeking re-election once they're 70-years old.

Act-495, sponsored by Opelousas State Senator, Elbert Guillory, blocks nearly 200 justices and constables across the state from seeking re-election.

In Acadiana, this affects at least 27 constables and justices of the peace who are planning to file a lawsuit to try and block the law.

"I'm very pissed off at this new law, because it don't make no sense to me," said Patrick Dugas, a Constable in Carencro. "The one who passed the law forgot his age. He's 70 years old and he's trying to punish me at the age of 70."

"If the people in my ward don't want me to run and think I'm too old they can vote against me, or they can vote for me," said Westin Broussard. "It shouldn't be a senator from another parish telling me I can't run."

The legislation won "almost" unanimous approval in the house and senate.

Senator Elbert Guillory (R-Opelousas), said he filed the bill at the request of someone with the Louisiana Justices of the Peace and Constables Association.

But according to KATC's investigation, the group is against it.

"We didn't verify the information," said Sen. Elbert Guillory. "Ultimately we called the number that was left, and it was traced to one of those throwaway phones."

Guillory said he never met in person with anyone from the group, and filed the bill based only on that one phone call.

Now, the senator is planning to introduce legislation next year to remove the age restriction.

Meanwhile, justices and constables are planning to file suit, to stop the law from affecting those who want to continue serving.

"They were trying to pass that under the cover so that we wouldn't know about it," said Dugas. "I got news for them, I'm going to qualify and I'm going to run and I'm going to win."

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