UPDATE: An attorney general’s opinion that was issued today about the Lafayette City-Parish Charter was requested yesterday, public records show.
The letter requesting the opinion was dated March 25, 2019.
Here’s the letter:
The opinion requested by an Abbeville legislator about the Lafayette City-Parish Charter disagrees with that of Lafayette’s own city-parish attorneys.
The opinion, which was requested by state Rep. Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville, states that voters must approve any correction of errors in voting precincts in the charter amendment approved by voters in December.
Two weeks ago, several city-parish attorneys issued a memo explaining why it was not necessary for the issue to be presented to voters. Those attorneys – including Mike Hebert, who has represented the city and the city-parish for decades – said that the council can change district precinct lists via ordinance.
According to that opinion, a part of the amended charter “provides for the reapportionment of the newly created council election districts,” the memo states. The way that is done, according to the charter, is done via a council ordinance.
“This course of action is consistent with a reasonable interpretation of LCG’s Home Rule Charter, the applicable state law regarding reapportionment, as well as LCG’s previous actions in amending council election districts,” the memo states. To read that memo for yourself, click here.
Today’s opinion, which you can read for yourself by scrolling down, comes from Assistant Attorney General Carey T. Jones, and states that the districts can’t be changed that way because this would be the first election of a new city council and parish council.
We’ve reached out to Lafayette’s City-Parish attorneys for a response, and will update as soon as we receive one.