chrishazel.jpgFreshman Representative Chris Hazel recently filed HB303, which allows certain former employees of District Attorneys and Assistant District Attorneys to retain their retirement benefits if they become reemployed at a salary less than provided under existing state law. In other words, if you go back to work and make less than you’re supposed to, you can still cash in on retirement.

It’s strange to me that a Republican who was heavily financed by the LCRM– to the tune of over $70,000 in indirect expenditures— would lead off with a bill that expands access to a government retirement system… but that’s neither here nor there.

The real questions are: What is this about? What group of people would actually benefit?

While this legislation may actually be necessary, it’s hard to overlook the fact that Chris Hazel himself was an Assistant District Attorney in Grant Parish.

Notably, current law requires that employees can only retire after 24 years of service at age 55 or after 30 years of service at any age. Hazel only spent 3 years as an Assistant District Attorney, so we know this law is not exactly self-serving.

Incidentally, there is another benefits bill by a freshman representative from Central Louisiana. In HB344, Herbert Dixon seeks to allow former School Board members (who have served at least ten years and who had been previously covered) access to the School Board’s health insurance plan. Prior to being elected, Dixon had served fourteen consecutive years as a School Board member. To download the bill, click here.

Does the State of Louisiana provide a health insurance plan for elected officials?

It’s interesting that both only one of the bills has been covered by the local media, and it’s interesting that both men, in their first year of office, have essentially led off with legislation that specifically addresses benefits packages associated with their former places of employment.

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