Attorney General Jeff Landry, joined by elected officials, law enforement and fire department personnel, speaks during a press conference to announce a voucher program for distrubuting Nalaxone, a prescription drug that blocks the effects of opioids, to emergency personnel across the state Monday, May 15, 2017, at the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office Public Safety Complex in Lafayette, La.

Former state Sen. Larry Bankston has filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Landry for what he calls Landry's "obvious abuse" of his office by failing to approve Bankston's contract extension with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.

The lawsuit, which was filed in 19th Judicial District Court, asks that Landry be ordered to approve the contract for Bankston, who is the board's legal counsel.

The paperwork was submitted to the attorney general in May of 2017, according to the lawsuit.

Since then, it says, the attorney general "has consistently abused his authority and discretion" by refusing to comply with state law and failing to offer a written reason on why he has not approved the contract.

The challenge, which was filed on Jan. 12, also says Landry approved a previous contract extension for Bankston on Feb. 7, 2017.

Bankston and Landry have clashed previously.

In 2016, the attorney general sent a letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration asking why a felon should serve as legal counsel for the board of contractors.

Bankston, a Democrat who once represented a senatorial district in Baton Rouge, served 41 months in prison for a 1997 conviction on a video poker-related bribery scheme.

He was disbarred in 2002 but the state Supreme Court voted in 2004 to allow him to practice law again.

The governor's executive counsel in 2016 accused Landry of playing politics when he raised objections to Bankston's role with the contractors board.

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Landry, who is a Republican, has clashed with Democrat Edwards on a wide range of legal issues in the past two years.

The governor plans to seek a second term in 2019 and Landry has been mentioned as a possible rival for the office.

The contract in dispute would extend Bankston's agreement until Dec. 31, 2018.

He has held the post since February, 2016.

Bankston could not be reached for comment.

Attorney Mary Olive Pierson, who is representing Bankston, said of Landry, "I do not understand this lack of attention to duty."

Landry's spokeswoman is out of the office until Monday.

The attorney general's office has not responded to telephone calls and emails seeking comment on the lawsuit.

A hearing date is set for Feb. 1.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.