An appeal has been filed challenging a judge's ruling that errors with new city of Lafayette and parish of Lafayette council districts can be corrected with a City-Parish Council ordinance.
Lafayette attorney Lane Roy, representing businessman and potential candidate Keith Kishbaugh, filed a motion for appeal Tuesday afternoon. He had been waiting for 15th Judicial District Judge John Trahan to sign the official judgment, which he did Monday.
The appeal would be heard by the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles. Trahan said he contacted the appeal court asking that the appeal be expedited because candidates who want to run for one of the new city or parish council seats must qualify between Aug. 6 and 8. The election is Oct. 12.
Clerk of Court Louis Perret has said the matter must be settled by the end of qualifying Aug. 8 for the election to move forward.
Kishbaugh sued to stop Lafayette Consolidated Government and election officials from implementing changes to the new city and parish council districts outlined in a March City-Parish Council ordinance.
Voters approved a home rule charter amendment Dec. 8, 2018, replacing the nine-member City-Parish Council with a five-person city council and a five-person parish council. It would be the first major change since the home rule charter was approved in 1992 creating LCG and the nine-person combined council.
About 10 days after the Dec. 8 election, the registrar of voters noticed descriptions of the new districts don't match maps of the new districts. The City-Parish Council, on advice of its attorneys, adopted an ordinance in March correcting the errors. The Louisiana Attorney General's Office opined that, because the charter lists precincts by district, the corrections had to go to another public vote.
Kishbaugh sued in April to stop implementation of the changes by ordinance. Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, represented by the Attorney General's Office, intervened in the lawsuit. Six of 330 city of Lafayette residents left out of the city council district descriptions also intervened in support of the council's ordinance.
Trahan ruled May 8 in favor of the council. If the appeal court overturns Trahan's decision, it may be appealed to the state supreme court. If the ultimate decision is voters must weigh in on the district boundary changes, that election would probably take place Oct. 12 and the election of new city and parish council members could not be held in October.
Tyler Bret, a spokesman for the Secretary of State Office said no decision has been made about whether they will in appealing the ruling