Repeal or litigate SB 294? Wednesday, Jul 30 2014 

Neil Riser

He put taxpayers in jeopardy

Leges and others are asking why not just leave the “Edmonson Amendment” in SB 294 alone now that Edmonson has said he will not take the extra $55,000 a year in retirement benefits and repeal it during the 2015 Regular Session.

I don’t know how many of the leges who are asking are merely trying to shove this mess under the rug or are sincere in believing that repeal will fix the problem.

Assuming they are sincere, here are the legal and political problems with waiting to repeal SB 294 rather than having the courts declare it unconstitutional:

1. There’s nothing to prevent anyone who qualifies under the provision (We don’t know how many there are.) from exercising that right before it is repealed.

2. Because of provisions in the state constitution and Federal law that protect pension benefits, repeal may not stop someone from taking advantage of the extra benefit.

3.  There’s no guarantee the leges will vote to repeal the law, especially if the heat dies down. During the 2014 Session, the leges refused to repeal laws that had already been declared unconstitutional. In other words, this group of leges doesn’t have a good track record of removing bad/unconstitutional laws from the books.

Anything less than litigating the question of constitutionality is a crap shoot with not only the LSPRS, but all of the state pension plans that already have a combined $20 Billion Unfunded Accrued Liability. We taxpayers are on the hook for that money.

We all need to get behind State Treasurer John Kennedy in demanding the board of the LSPRS exercise its fiduciary responsibility to the active and retired member of the system.  List of board members here.

C.B.

 

Stench from Edmonson Amendment worsens Tuesday, Jul 29 2014 

Neil Riser

A shameful person!

On Friday, after Lee Zurik exposed that State Senator Neil Riser lied about not knowing who put the Edmonson Amendment into the SB 294 Conference Committee Report, Riser admitted he did the amendment.

The shame and I mean shame is that not only did Riser flat-out lie, but he threw his own staff person under the bus.

Questions remain

While admitting that he lied about not offering the amendment, Riser continues to lie about not knowing what the amendment did.  Also, Riser refuses to name which individual(s) from the State Police brought him this scheme and why they came to him rather than the author of SB 294.

Given the close personal relationship between Riser and Colonel Mike Edmonson, the stench arising from this scandal continues to grow worse.

Making matters even worse, Riser still has not taken responsibility for his actions, continues to throw his own staffer under the bus and offers no assistance with fixing the financial problems for the State Police Retirement System that he created.

Riser’s weaselly comments on Friday demand a deeper investigation into this matter.  Without a thorough public vetting lege and the lege process has no integrity.

Halting  investigation

After Riser’s admission, Edmonson says that he won’t take the extra benefits.

This all appears to be orchestrated to halt the investigation by the LSPRS Board being called for by State Treasurer John Kennedy.

One of the things that must be investigated is how many others in the LSPRS qualify under the Edmonson Amendment. Edmonson can’t speak for them.

Hollow gesture

Edmonson’s not taking unconstitutional benefits is a hollow gesture.   A first year law student could prove the benefits are unconstitutional.

Unless SB 294 is declared unconstitutional there’s nothing to prevent Edmonson and others from coming back in the future and claiming the extra benefit.  Even repealing the law during the 2015 Regular Session will not fix the problem because of Federal Laws protecting retirement benefits.

Also, Edmonson not taking the benefit doesn’t restore integrity to the lege process.

Bottom-line, nothing has changed. The LSPRS Board must proceed with the investigation and litigation or Pandora’s Box will remain wide open. To see the members of the LSPRS board go here.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill

Who done it? Neil Riser! Monday, Jul 28 2014 

Neil Riser

Lying lege

Lee Zurik investigative reporter with WVUE-TV in New Orleans revealed last Thursday night that it was Senator Neil Riser who put the amendment into the Conference Committee Report on SB 294 that gave La. State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson an extra $55,000 a year retirement benefit for the rest of his life. ( See story here.)

Riser’s lie

On July 16, 2014, I sent via email this message to Riser:

Neil,

You were a member of the Conference Committee that added an amendment to SB 294 of the 2014 Regular Session that granted special retirement benefits to certain members of the La. State Police.

I know that such changes don’t come from thin air or accidentally get into such reports. Please tell me:

1) Who asked you to put the amendment into the Conference Committee Report?
2) Who gave you the actual amendment to you to insert in the bill?
3) Who actually drafted the amendment?
4) Exactly what do you intend to do about the costly amendment?

Finally, are you aware of the constitutional requirements for making changes to the state retirement systems?

A response is requested.

Thanks.

C.B.

On July 17, 2014, Riser responded:

CB,

I returned from a family vacation last night around 10:30, and had Bond Commission this morning.  Otherwise, I would have gotten back with you on this sooner.

As you know, this was on that last hectic day of session. I first saw the amendment when I read the conference committee report drafted by staff. As the language was explained to me, I believed it fixed a retirement problem for the law enforcement community.

I understand the bill’s author is looking into this to see if any action needs to be taken, and I’ll support whatever he decides.

~Neil

Blatant liar

I began working for the Lege in 1968 and have continued to follow and work with them to this day. In all that time, I’ve never had a lege tell me such a bald-faced lie as Riser. Riser not only denied knowing about the amendment, but threw his own top staff person under the bus.

Solution

The only way to resolve this matter is for a lawsuit to be filed to declare SB 294 unconstitutional.

Anything less, will allow Edmonson and the other Trooper to take advantage of the extra benefits in the future.

As to Riser, his constituents will have to deal with him. My sympathy goes out to the Senate staffer who Riser threw under the bus.

Kudos to Lee Zurik for revealing Riser and his lies.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

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