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Volunteer Jim Talbot holds a sign for passing motorists at a public signing event for the petition to create the city of St. George on Saturday, May 5, 2018 in front of Woodlawn Baptist Church on Jones Creek Road.

We have our doubts about whether carving a separate city of St. George from southeast Baton Rouge is a good idea. Even so, we applaud how hard St. George supporters have worked to advance their plan. It seems cynical to change the rules for getting such a new city incorporated now that the proposal is gaining steam.

Initially, St. George supporters were told they needed certified signatures from at least a quarter of the residents within the community’s proposed boundaries to get the plan on a ballot. They fell short of that goal in 2015, then revived their petition and got enough signatures this year to get the measure on the ballot later this year.

Now, state Sen. Yvonne Colomb has filed a bill in the Legislature that would require a majority of voters across the parish, not just in the proposed boundaries of St. George, to approve the measure before it becomes a reality.

Whatever the merits of that bill, which is supported by East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, critics of St. George have had years to propose such a law.

Changing the rules now, after petition volunteers did due diligence to meet the existing requirements, isn’t a good way to encourage citizens to get interested in public affairs.

The best path to resolving this debate is at the ballot box, without moving the goal post at the last minute.