UPDATE*** Bill could mean extra cash for commissioners

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UPDATE:

At 11:35 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 22, Sen. Louie Bernard announced the bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly by a vote of 37-0. “I just left the microphone at the podium,” he said.  “I think the commissioners will be proud of the Senate, and House, on their actions showing how they appreciate the work they do. Commissioners are there long hours on the front lines.”

The bill was for $100 per commissioner in addition to regular pay.

 

By Juanice Gray, jgray@natchitochestimes.com, 318-352-3618 ext. 218

Rep. Beau Beaullieu, R-New Iberia

There is a bill in the state legislature that could mean a stipend for election workers who spend 14-15 hours at the polls on election day. HB59 by Rep. Beau Beaullieu, R-New Iberia, authorizes the payment of additional compensation to certain election officials for elections held within a certain period following a gubernatorially declared emergency.

Sen. Louie Bernard said, “If ever this was needed it is now. I’ve always said commissioners were our unsung heroes of the election process. They have to sit at elections 15 hours, even when turnout is very slow, and be nice and receptive to every voter that comes in.” He said during the current pandemic, many commissioners, some whom are already at risk, are exposing themselves to more people than they normally would. “If passed it would cover this election cycle and just be an expression to say we appreciate what you do.”

The amount provided to commissioners has not been established. Bernard said funding would come from the CARES Act funds and a supplemental source. HB 59 passed the House Oct. 13 by a vote of 97-0 and was ordered to the Senate.

Bernard said a vote would have to come within the next week, before this legislative special session ends. As of Oct. 21, it was reviewed by the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee. Bernard said, “It went very well.”

It will be sent to the Senate floor for debate and a decision. Check the weekend edition for updates.

“If you want to make it easy to pass this bill, you go sit with commissioners just one slow day,” Bernard said. “Right now they are our frontline workers for this election.”