Parish hears lege report; bans saggy pants, smoking
Sen. Brett Allain, (R-Franklin) and Rep. Sam Jones (D-Franklin) wrapped up their day of talks on the state legislative session with a visit to the St. Mary Parish Council Wednesday during its regular meeting.
Most of what they discussed was covered earlier in the day at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Forest Restaurant (see related story.)
But one item not mentioned then was the Priority 2 inclusion in the state budget of $1.825 million for the creation of the Gov. Mike Foster Library on the third floor of the Crowell building in Franklin. Priority 2 means the allocation is not yet funded.
The former school building on Iberia Street was recently purchased by the city from the school board and houses City Hall on the first and second floors.
“This was one of (Gov. Bobby Jindal’s) projects,” Allain said. “He was very interested in having a place for Foster to put his papers – his library if you will.” The former governor is a Franklin resident who served the state as governor 1996-2004 after serving two terms in the state Senate.
Allain said that instead of building another building they suggested to Jindal the renovation of the Crowell third floor.
He added that the design specs would have to meet Jindal’s approval.
“It won’t be funded until he’s happy with it,” Allain said.
He said the library could also have displays on Foster’s grandfather, Murphy J. Foster Sr. who served as governor from 1892 to 1900, and other state politicians from St. Mary Parish.
“That’ll be a big tourist attraction,” Allain said. “It’ll be a place to have a part of St. Mary Parish history displayed. I think it’s a great project.”
In other business, the council adopted without discussion or public input ordinances banning smoking on parish courthouse property and below the waist and undergarment exposure.
The ordinances were adopted together on a 9-1 vote with Councilman Lionel “Butch” Metz of Four Corners opposed. Councilman Ken Singleton of Patterson was absent. Following the meeting Metz said he voted against the decency ordinance because he feels it is unconstitutional and could lead to some individuals being targeted unfairly.
The new ordinance prohibits smoking anywhere on courthouse property and extends to the Blevins building, the former Tiger Den and the parking areas there. Those parish-owned areas are across Willow Street adjacent to the courthouse.
The ordinance states that it is intended to “promote, protect and preserve the general welfare, safety, health, peace and good order of the parish…” and to limit exposure to secondhand smoke to courthouse employees and visitors.
The ordinance on the wearing of pants, skirts or other clothing below the waist in public would prohibit doing so if skin or undergarments are exposed.
Both ordinances set a first time conviction penalty of up to $50, second offense penalty of $100 and third and subsequent offense penalties of $100 and 16 hours of community service.
The new laws will be in effect as soon as the ordinances are published in the official journal.
Also approved by the council were:
—Resolutions on an engineering services agreements with Associated Design Group Inc. on upgrade of the emergency generator at the Law Enforcement Center; and T. Baker Smith on the courthouse parking lot redesign and landscaping project.
—Financial requests by the Morgan City Police Department toward purchase of a new K-9 to be used as a drug detection dog ($2,500) and by Baldwin Police Department toward the purchase of two police unit video cameras ($3,000).
—Transfer of Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 three-tenths sales tax funds in the amounts of $3,000 to the City of Franklin for the Caffery Baseball League and $4,000 to the Power Boat Association.
—Appointment of Diane Irwin and Daniel Irwin to Recreation District 3; Herman Hartman, Kathy Toups Grogan and Dale Rogers to the Tourist Commission; and Barry Broussard and William Hidalgo Jr, to the Wax Lake East Drainage District.