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Gubernatorial Changes to Red River Waterway Commission Deemed Unlawful by Attorney General
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9/19/2018
Landry Implores Rule of Law, Fairness to NWLA

SHREVEPORT, LA - Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry today answered questions concerning the procedures for filling vacancies on the Board of Commissioners of the Red River Waterway District - as well as the validity of the Governor's recent appointments to the Board. 

In response to requests for a legal opinion from Senator Greg Tarver, Senator Barrow Peacock, and the Caddo Levee District - General Landry issued 
Opinion 18-0134.

"When filling a vacancy in the parish membership of the Commission, it is imperative that the appointing authorities follow the statutory appointment scheme whereby the nominating entities submit nominations to the Governor, and the Governor appoints from among the nominees submitted to him," declared General Landry. "Any member appointed contrary to statute holds the office unlawfully and is subject to challenge."

Despite unanimous nominations of Carolyn Prator by the Caddo Levee District, the Red River Valley Association, and the Caddo Parish Commission - the Governor appointed a candidate to the Red River Waterway Commission from outside the local entities’ nominations.

"Nothing in statute authorizes the Governor to ignore the nominations of the local entities and proceed in disregard of the nominating requirement," continued General Landry. "Unless the nominating entities present one or more nominees for appointment and the Governor appoints a member to fill the vacancy from among those nominees - the appointment cannot be regarded as a lawful appointment, and a candidate so appointed cannot be said to lawfully hold the office."

General Landry largely avoided assertions made by many throughout the State that the actions taken by Governor John Bel Edwards were political retribution against Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator. Instead, General Landry focused on legal issues and practical applications.

"While much has been said about the way Governor Edwards handled the Red River Waterway Commission following the death of Mickey Prestridge, I believe that this is really about the rule of law and fairness," concluded General Landry. "The law must be followed - even, and especially, by the Governor; and Northwest Louisiana must be treated fairly."

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Coming soon, the attorney's general office seeks to provide a mechanism by which to take online payments for collections.