New bill would see governor appoint dozens of state board chairs


A new bill would give Governor Jeff Landry the power to appoint almost 150 state board and commission chairs. Until now, the boards selected their chairs, and the most the governor could do was appoint a majority of board members and indirectly name the chair. Landry says that this change empowers new governors to further the policies they were elected on.

“It’s only fair that he has an opportunity — or she — has an opportunity, uh, to work with those boards that are managing… that… that he or she sees fit,” he says.

Some of the 215 chairs that the governor will name will head the four higher education boards: LSU, Southern, the University of Louisiana system and the Louisiana Community and Technical College system. Senator Valarie Hodges of Denham Springs says she sponsored this bill because she believes it allows the governor to better do their job.

“I think it’s super important that we’re empowering every governor to push their policy, what they were elected to do,” she adds.

When debating the bill with Hodges on the House floor, New Orleans Representative Candace Newell expressed concern over someone outside the board choosing the chair.

Hodges said, “so he [the governor]’s not going to appoint people [as chair] who would not be familiar with the subject matter.”

After a beat, Newell responded, “competency to sit in a room is not competency enough to lead the people in the room.”

Newell also disagreed with Hodges’ reasoning that the governor should be able to use the chairs to further political agendas, saying, “we don’t want political agendas when these [boards] are such sensitive areas because they affect too much of our community.”

The bill now heads to Landry’s desk for his signature.

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