Senator Louis Bernard is delighted that the Senate has passed a bill to provide extra pay for election commissioners this fall. Final Senate vote of 37-0 came late morning Thursday. Bernard said the bill now goes to the Governor.
“I don’t think there is any opposition to the Governor signing it,” said Bernard. The money for the November 3rd election is in the CARES Act and funding for December 5th election will be in the Supplemental Budget the Legislature is working on.
The Journal spoke with Senator Bernard on the chamber floor. He said the bill started out in the house, introduced by Rep. Beau Beaullieu of New Iberia. The state House passed the bill on October 13th. Bernard told The Journal he managed the bill in the state Senate. The goal was to get it passed and over to the Governor before the special session ended.
“It’s not a lot of money,” said Bernard. Commissioners will get an additional $100 for working an election. The bill states that it goes into effect when there is an emergency situation called by the Governor, as is the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator Bernard said, “Election commissioners were our unsung heroes of the election process. They have to sit at elections 15 hours, even when turnout is very slow.”
Many commissioners may be already at a health risk during the pandemic. Bernard said, “They are exposing themselves to more people than they normally would. This is an expression that we think you are doing a good job and we appreciate it.”