Constitutional knowledge test proposition fails

A proposed resolution requiring political candidates to pass a test on constitutional knowledge failed by a four to four vote at Tuesday’s council meeting.

It became a hot button topic on whether or not the test was necessary.

Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux stands against the idea.

“It’s sensitive. When you start talking about applying tests, quizzes and enhancing requirements for people who are offering themselves up to serve I think that becomes a slippery slope,” said Boudreaux.

The resolution, which would ask the state legislature to review the proposal was brought to the attention of council members Andy Naquin and William Theriot through Lafayette resident and Veteran Ray Green.

“We thought it was a good idea and we brought forth a resolution that stipulated training although, some of the verbiage in the resolution was not adequate and in that it stated candidates may be required and pass a test,” said Theriot.

Theriot said the resolution was voted down even after an attempt to correct some wording.

A state mandate dealing with an online ethics training is already in place for elected officials, and Theriot said this would have been similar.

“Maybe we could have a one-hour seminar online. It provides you with information on the constitution and then afterwards there wouldn’t be any grades or anything. They may receive a certificate stating that they have read certain information pertaining to the constitution,” said Theriot.

Boudreaux said he feels this resolution should not be based simply on opinion. 

 “When we pass a law I want to make sure it’s one that’s truly necessary, appropriate, and what the people want. It shouldn’t be just because there’s somebody who feels we need this,” said Boudreaux.

Theriot said the proposed test or training was aimed at enhancing knowledge of the constitution.

“We’re not talking about putting restrictions on anyone but, as elected officials and the people trust us to make decisions for them it becomes our responsibility to know the information that we’re presiding over,” said Theriot.

Theriot said after speaking to other council members the next move is to bring the amended resolution up for a vote at a later date.     

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