St. George bill clears Senate

St. George supporters would have until July 23 to collect signatures under a bill that won Louisiana Senate approval Wednesday night.

The vote was 32-6.

The deadline was added to a bill that would apply a moratorium on incorporation efforts statewide but allow St. George organizers to continue collecting signatures in hopes of a Nov. 4 vote.

State Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, sponsor of the plan, said the issue needs study so that voters can understand the financial and other impact of such efforts before they head to the polls.

Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, said he has no problems with the review but objected to the moratorium on incorporation campaigns for two years.

“That is my problem,” Walsworth said.

Under current rules incorporation campaigns have unlimited time to collect enough valid signatures.

St. George organizers have complained that they thought they had until the end of the year before any moratorium began.

Backers are believed to have collected about half of the roughly 18,000 valid names needed.

The proposal, Senate Bill 674, next faces action in the state House.