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Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette, left, who's trying to become the next House clerk when current House clerk Butch Speer retires at the end of the year, appears before the Board of Ethics scheduled monthly meeting in the Labelle Room of the Lasalle Building Friday April 12, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La. Landry is accompanied by her attorneys Alesia Ardoin and Gray Sexton, right.

Louisiana's Ethics Board opened the door Friday for legislators to immediately take jobs at the state Capitol once their terms end, despite ethics provisions that mandate that other public servants wait two years before working for the agencies where they served.

The board was considering an April request for clarity from State Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette, who is eyeing a run for the Legislature's house clerk position. Longtime clerk Alfred "Butch" Speer has announced he is retiring.

Landry asked the board to issue an opinion on whether any rules prevented her from immediately seeking Speer's job once her term finishes at the beginning of 2020. The ethics code's "post employment" section says that elected officials cannot render paid services to their past agency for two years.

But Ethics Board member Edward Dittmer said that provision would not apply to Landry because the Legislature votes on the house clerk position.

“She is an elected official now, but her relationship in her new position with respect to the House would be as an elected official," Dittmer said.

If Landry wins enough votes to take over Speer's job, she will be in good company. Despite the Ethics Code's "post employment" provisions, dozens of former legislators work for state government, lobby state government and sit on state boards and commissions.

Even with the two-year cooling-off period required under Louisiana law, it's common for elected officials to wind up taking jobs in the Capitol. For instance, in many cases, ex-legislators immediately take jobs in the executive branch, which is allowed because it's a different branch of government.

Last year, The Advocate and ProPublica tracked Louisiana's revolving-door phenomenon. The news organizations' analysis found that more than a third of legislators who left office since 2010 had returned as lobbyists, consultants, governmental affairs representatives, state agency heads and more.

In other news, the Ethics Board did not take any action Friday in the long-running case against former state Sen. Robert Marionneaux. The board on Thursday discussed the case, which has been playing out for nine years, in executive session. Marionneaux has filed suit against the Ethics Board in Baton Rouge district court.


Follow Andrea Gallo on Twitter, @aegallo.​