Webster Parish Police Jury asked Reynolds to file legislation
By request of the Webster Parish Police Jury, state Representative Gene Reynolds presented a bill Wednesday morning in a House committee that would have reduced the number of Justices of the Peace in the parish. However, he voluntarily deferred the bill after the police jury asked Wednesday for it to be amended.
The parish currently contains five Justice of the Peace seats and five constable seats over three districts. The proposed bill would have decreased this number to three JP’s and three constables at the start of the new term in 2020. At the end of a special road committee meeting Wednesday morning, the police jury discussed the possibility of cutting these positions altogether.
“I asked Gene to put a bill in to reduce the number,” said Jim Bonsall, Police Jury President. “My personal opinion is I’d like to cut them all out. We have a hard time even getting anybody to run, and the city marshals take care of what the JP’s are elected to do.”
Six of the seven jurors present agreed that the JP position is overlapped by other positions and could be cut. Juror Steve Ramsey declined to comment due to a conflict of interest. In light of this support, the jury agreed to contact Reynolds to ask for the bill to be amended to do away with the JP and constable positions in Webster Parish.
Reynolds (D-Minden) said via Facebook message he deferred the bill, effectively killing it, until he could get more information.
“I have been asking if [the police jury] had been in contact with the JP’s about the bill, and they waited until today to call them,” he said. “So it seems there is a problem. I will not run the bill until I meet with them and get the JP side of the story.”
Reynolds said he will return to Minden tonight and meet with the police jury regarding this matter.
“It seems we need more dialogue on this issue,” he said.”
Justice of the Peace is an elected position paid $100 per month by the parish and another $100 per month by the state.
According to the Louisiana Department of Justice website, JP’s have jurisdiction for civil matters when the amount in dispute is under $5,000, except when a real estate title is involved. They can also perform marriages.