Leges don’t want power Tuesday, Oct 14 2014
Lege oversight committee
For years we’ve heard leges complain about the governor of Louisiana having too much power. The leges claim that our constitution is wherein the problem lies and that we must have a constitutional convention to re-balance the power.
Each time that I’ve heard the complaint, I’ve asked the lege who made it what specific power is it that our governor has that governors in the other states don’t have. All that I learned is that our leges don’t know what’s in the state constitution and don’t understand the lege process.
I’m beginning to believe (as some speculate) that the leges don’t want power, because with power comes responsibility. As things are , when problems arise, it’s easier for the leges to tell their constituents that it’s all the governor’s fault.
During the recent House Appropriations Committee hearing on the Office of Group Benefits (“OGB”) I saw the leges’ ignorance of the lege process once again. Either they were playing dumb or were ignorant of the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”).
The APA is the process whereby the leges exercise oversight over most Executive Branch agencies in keeping with the constitutional mandated (Article II, LA. Const.) of “separation of powers.”
The APA was passed to make sure that agency rule-making did not supersede the bounds or intent of laws passed by the lege. If this process was not in place or is ignored the law-making function is, in effect, delegated to bureaucrats under the control of the governor.
It appears the APA process has been intentionally thwarted by the leadership of the House and Senate. Required oversight committee hearings are simply not held to review bureaucratic rules, thus allowing them to go into effect by default.
Lege branch irrelevant
During the Jindal Administration the lege has become less and less relevant. In case of the OGB the changes to the benefits weren’t even submitted, as required by the APA, to the lege leadership for consideration.
During the debate on term limits for the leges it was argued that if enacted the state would be run by the bureaucrats. That is exactly what has happened, but not directly because of term limits, but because of their lack of institutional knowledge the leges have empowered the bureaucrats by benign neglect.
Buck stops here
To fix the problems with OGB, assuming the leges are willing to accept the responsibility, the ball in their court. All the leges have to do is call a meeting of House Appropriations Committee (or Senate Finance Committee) to reject the changes proposed by OGB.
For those concerned about your OGB benefits and premiums you have the power. Bobby Jindal is a “lame duck” and is off running for president. The bureaucrats don’t have to run for reelection, the leges do. Either insist the leges exercise the power they have or replace them in 2015.
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