No appeal expected after LSP retirement ruling
BATON ROUGE - A Baton Rouge state judge struck down part of a law that gave a generous retirement increase to some State Police troopers, including Superintendent Mike Edmonson.
Colonel Edmonson and another trooper were granted $30,000 a year in a last-minute amendment to a bill on the last day of the legislative session. Lawmakers said they didn't realize what they were voting on. It led many to question how and why the amendment was added.
Edmonson had said he wouldn't take the increase regardless of today's ruling, so with no objections, Judge Janice Clark ruled the law unconstitutional.
"It's wrong financially and also morally wrong," said State Treasurer John Kennedy.
Kennedy had strong words, calling it maybe the most unconstitutional law he's ever seen.
"It was unfair," Kennedy said. "(It) gave special treatment to people who have political clout to get a bill passed."
Edmonson did not fight the ruling, instead pledging not to accept the money, saying it was handled inappropriately as an amendment to a separate bill passed on the last day of session.
"When everything surfaced and I looked at the facts involved, I felt at that point it was unconstitutional," Edmonson said. "Waiting until the end like that was a mistake. Not the way I would've done that."
The state's retirement systems are facing a deficit of $19 billion. Kennedy said that should be the focus and not specialized benefits.
"Makes us look like hypocrites. On one hand, we say we're trying to fix the retirement system. On the other hand, we're passing legislation to people with political clout."
Today's ruling by the judge is not expected to face an appeal.