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Louisiana Senate committee votes for state control over local law enforcement budgets

Added 10-22-20 08:23:01pm EST - “A Louisiana Senate committee on Wednesday advanced a House-passed measure that would allow state officials to punish local governments for slashing funding for law enforcement.” - Washingtonexaminer.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtonexaminer.com: “Louisiana Senate committee votes for state control over local law enforcement budgets”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

A Louisiana Senate committee on Wednesday advanced a House-passed measure that would allow state officials to punish local governments for slashing funding for law enforcement.

In its original version, House Bill 38 would have required parishes or municipalities to justify a cut of 10 percent or more to the Legislature’s joint budget committee and risk losing construction dollars and sales tax dedications for the next fiscal year. The Senate Finance Committee, after delaying action on the bill in a previous meeting, amended it to raise the threshold to 25 percent.

Rep. Lance Harris, the bill’s Republican sponsor and a candidate for Congress, said he didn’t know of any local governments in Louisiana that were cutting law enforcement spending. But he said he feared some local officials might be tempted to follow the lead of a handful of cities around the country and “defund” police departments by a significant amount.

Harris said competent local law enforcement also is important for visitors and business owners who live outside of a given tax jurisdiction, so it’s not only an issue for local taxpayers. The state already subsidizes local law enforcement salaries and pays for local construction projects, so state officials should have a say in how local governments protect public safety, Republicans argued.

But Democrats argued local officials who are directly accountable to local voters and taxpayers should manage local budgets, not state officials. Sen. Gerald Boudreaux said the bill conflicts with home rule charters local governments have adopted.

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