Petition filed to block closure of Huey P. Long - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Petition filed to block closure of Huey P. Long

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - A court petition has been filed seeking to block the state’s plan to close Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville.

The petition, filed Tuesday in Baton Rouge, claims that the process for an April 2 Senate committee hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 48 violated state Open Meetings Law.

The petition states SCR 48 "should be determined and declared to be null and void because it was passed by the Legislature in violation of the Open Meetings Law."

The plaintiffs in the petition are Edwin Ray Parker of East Feliciana Parish and Kenneth Brad Ott of Orleans Parish. The defendants are the Senate, the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors and the state of Louisiana.

News Channel 5 spoke with Ott, who says they sought legal action because the public was not notified early enough or with clear enough language that SCR 48 would be on the agenda for that April 2 committee meeting.

The petition states the same, as follows:

“Notice of committee meetings during session...such notices shall be posted for each meeting as soon as practicable, but not later than 1:00 p.m. of the day preceding the meeting day.

“The notice for the April 2, 2014 meeting of the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare was revised on April 1, 2014 at 4:04 p.m. to add the consideration of SCR 48. … Therefore the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare’s consideration and action upon SCR 48 violated Rules 13.73 and 13.74 of the Rules of Order of the Louisiana Senate and, as a result, violated the Louisiana Open Meetings Law..."

Furthermore, the petition states that the agenda called SCR 48 "the strategic collaboration with the state in creating a new model of health care delivery in the Alexandria and Pineville area," and that "this notice conspicuously omits any reference to the closure of Huey P. Long Medical Center."

“The materially incomplete nature of this notice contributed to the lack of public notice of this important meeting of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. As a result of the lack of adequate public notice of the committee meeting, SCR was unanimously reported favorably, despite the fact there was extensive opposition to this legislative measure by the public, employees of Huey P. Long Medical Center, and other concerned citizens," the petition states.

The petition was filed in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge by Baton Rouge attorneys J. Arthur Smith III and Adrienne D. Rachel.

SCR 48 was ultimately approved by the Senate in a 26-11 vote and by the House in a 65-29 vote.

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