11 June 2007

louisiana legislative graft & corruption now an official state secret

well, well, well how you like these apples?

american press:
House: Public has no right to see records

American Press sought documents on certain requests for spending.


The American Press on June 6 submitted a records request to House Appropriations Committee secretary Janis Batchelor for copies of the amendment forms legislators must provide to the committee to secure state funds for nongovernmental organizations in the state budget. Batchelor forwarded the request to House of Representatives Clerk Alfred Speer, who responded the next day. Below is the complete text of Speer’s letter sent to the American Press:

On June 6, 2007, you requested “all NGO Amendment forms submitted by legislators to the House Appropriations Committee in 2007.” I am the custodian of the records of the House of Representatives (House Rule 2.10D(2)) and am responding in lieu of Ms. Batchelor.

R.S. 44:32(D) requires I inform a requester of any privilege which exempts documents from disclosure under the Public Records Law.

LA Const. Art. III, Section 8, as interpreted by the LA First Circuit Court of Appeals in Copsey v. Baer, 91-0912 (Dec. 27, 1991) 539 So.2d 685 (La. App. 1st Cir.) protects the internal communications of legislators with their staff and exempts the background information provided by legislators to their staff from public disclosure.

Based upon these authorities, I am denying your access to the records you requested.

Sincerely yours,

Alfred W. Speer
you reckon louisiana house clerk alfred speer is related to nazi albert speer, the "first architect of the third reich"?

the reporters committee for freedom of the press has this info on copsey v baer:
Legislative bodies are covered by the statute. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44.1. See Times-Picayune v. Johnson, 645 So. 2d 1174 (La. App. 4th Cir. 1994), writ denied, 651 So. 2d 260 (La. 1995) (individual legislators are "custodians" of nomination forms for legislative scholarships to private university). In Copsey v. Baer, 593 So. 2d 685 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1991), writ denied, 594 So. 2d 876 (La. 1992), however, the court held that the legislative work files related to two bills from prior sessions of the Louisiana legislature were privileged from public records disclosure under the legislative privileges and immunities clause of the Louisiana Constitution, Article III, § 8. The court found that the "demand for legislative files in this case calls for an inquiry into the motivations behind the preparation and introduction of legislative instruments into the Louisiana Legislature. . . ." Id. at 689.
rcfp link
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