St. George incorporation could need parish-wide vote
BATON ROUGE - St. George Incorporation leaders are 'confident to be on November ballot' but that ballot might include votes from the entire parish.
State Representative Ted James filed HB 1212, which if passed, would change the state constitution and the more than 100-year-old Lawrason Act.
"This effort it introduced me to a law that I think needs to be changed," James said. He wants to allow people outside a proposed city to vote on its future.
James believes incorporating St. George affects more than just those who live there so all of East Baton Rouge residents should vote on the measure.
"I understand the concerns from the other side. But I represent a vast majority of people in the area who want to have a say because their tax dollars will be affected," James said.
"All of the sudden, they want to change the rules halfway through the game," Incorporate St. George spokesman Lionel Rainey said.
HB 1212 is one of many trying to thwart the incorporation effort.
St. George supporters believe lawmakers are changing the rules and the constitution to get their own agenda across.
"This is how every unincorporated area has incorporated in the state of Louisiana. They followed this law and They followed the constitution," Rainey said. "All of the sudden, [lawmakers]don't think that this law is applicable?"
James does not feel the law is still applicable and it's time for a change.
"It's my job to make laws to potentially change the constitution here," James said. "We are putting the vote in the hands of the people it affects."
"We believe it is totally taking the say out of people's hands," Rainey said.
Incorporate St. George leaders are confident they will have the necessary 18,000 signatures needed by the end of July to be on the November ballot.