Louisiana governor abandons, for now, a push to streamline New Orleans government | VailDaily.com

Louisiana governor abandons, for now, a push to streamline New Orleans government

BATON ROUGE, La. – Gov. Kathleen Blanco on Wednesday abandoned for now her push to shrink New Orleans’ government after the proposal ran into strong opposition during a special legislative session on hurricane relief.”I know there’s a resistance to change. It’s very hard to get a focus on reform,” Blanco said, acknowledging she has given up on the legislation this session.The measure by House Speaker Joe Salter would have consolidated the city’s century-old network of two elected sheriffs, two elected clerks of court and two court systems. It passed the House overwhelmingly and was scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in a Senate committee.But Salter told the committee chairman he did not want a hearing on the bill. He said the measure did not have enough support in the committee, and “I decided there was no point to waste anybody’s time.”Another bill by Salter, to reduce the city’s tax assessors from seven to one, failed in a House committee that includes two lawmakers related to New Orleans assessors.Blanco is continuing to press other proposals, including a measure to consolidate Louisiana’s levee boards under state control.New Orleans lawmakers have fought the government merger proposal, saying Blanco and legislators were attacking the city at its weakest, when thousands of its residents were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and were sending out a signal that New Orleans would always be a smaller city than it was before the storm.Supporters of the measure said it would make the city more efficient and take into account the reduction in population.Blanco said she would consider backing a similar New Orleans consolidation measure in the next legislative session, which begins in March.Vail, Colorado

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