Discussion on potential metro council seat changes delayed
BATON ROUGE - Debate between leaders in the community is stalling potential change to metro council. It comes down to two seats, and whether having more parish-wide representation is good for the city.
For the past year and a half, a committee has been looking into updating the local constitution. The proposed changes would add a city manager position, and two at-large seats. Right now, the metro council is made up of 12 single district seats. If approved, only 10 of the seats would be single district seats and two would represent the whole parish.
“Injecting one or two at-large voices helps bring a broader vision to the legislative branch conversation,” said committee member Adam Knapp.
However, some fear this could create an unfair representation of the majority of the city, which are African Americans.
“It would make sense to not continue to stick with this government that was implemented in the late 40’s to maintain power for what is now quickly becoming a minority population in this town,” said Eugene Collins, president of the Baton Rouge NAACP branch.
Eugene says he would rather see the city-parish separate into two governing bodies.
“It is the way we achieve the most equitable form of government here in Baton Rouge,” he said.
At Tuesday’s metro council meeting, the committee was slated to present the final report of the changes with a scheduled vote on August 14. That was delayed due to community concern. Instead, a series of community meetings will be held for public input.
The first meeting will be at BREC Headquarters on August 1 at 6 p.m.
If metro council approves of the changes in the future, the amendments would have to go to a vote. That would likely be on a fall 2020 ballot.
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