UPDATE: Temporary Restraining Order Filed Against Reelection Age Limit Law

UPDATE: Temporary Restraining Order Filed Against Reelection Age Limit Law

A new law is telling any constable or justice of the peace in Louisiana over 70-years-old, they are now too old for reelection.
UPDATE 8/19/14: A new law prohibiting any Louisiana justice of the peace or constable over the age of 70 from running for reelection has just been put on hold.

Leaders of the Louisiana Justice of the Peace and Constables Association confirmed to KTVE/KARD a Baton Rouge judge filed a temporary restraining order against Act 495 on Monday at 3 p.m.

Act 495, sponsored by Republican Senator Elbert Guillory, sets the madatory retirement age of 70 for all justices of the peace and constables. That affects 189 officials across the state, including more than a dozen in Northeast Louisiana.

LJPCA leaders claim the restriction is unconstitutional and discriminates against age.

A law setting that retirement age for court officials has been a part of Louisiana law since 2006, but it did exclude anyone elected before that year. Sen. Guillory's law removed that exemption.

With the temporary restraining order filed, LJPCA officials told KTVE/KARD all justices of the peace and constables can safely qualify for reelection this week.

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UPDATE 8/15: A challenge to a new law imposing an age limit for reelection for Louisiana justices of the peace and constables is now in the the works.

Louisiana Justice of the Peace and Constables Association President Connie Moore confirmed to KTVE/KARD on Friday, they have attained legal counsel out of Baton Rouge and have begun the process of drawing up the documents to file an injunction against the law.

Senate Bill 583, now Act 495, prohibits or disqualifies any state justice of the peace or constable over the age of 70 from running for reelection. This could end the reelection chances for 189 officials throughout the state.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Elbert Guillory, told KTVE/KARD on Thursday the legislation was requested by a member of the LJPCA originally. 

Moore has since denied in other reports that anyone with the LJPCA was ever involved in the creation of this bill.

Guillory also cited to KTVE/KARD that no dissent to the bill was ever mentioned while it was in commmittee and it received only one "No" vote in the state House or Senate.

According to Moore, they hope to officially file the injunction by next Monday, challenging the law's constitutionality on the grounds of age discrimination.

Winn Parish Justice of the Peace Nelda Murphy told KTVE/KARD that if this injunction is filed, it could then free up these 189 officials to qualify for reelection next week.

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NORTHEAST LOUISIANA (KTVE/KARD) -- A new law is telling any constable or justice of the peace in Louisiana over 70-years-old, they are now too old for reelection.

Senate Bill 583, imposing this age limit, was voted into law in June.

This would affect around 189 officials around the state: Four in Ouachita Parish, two in Lincoln, two in Caldwell, six in Franklin and three in Union Parish, just to name a few.

Caldwell Parish Justice of the Peace Mary Taylor said she doesn't want to leave her post, which she's held for six years.

"I'm 72-years-old and I've got a lot of years left," she said. "We've got cases that got to be handled in court and we're not going to get to them before my term expires."

The bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Elbert Guillory, told KTVE/KARD the bill came as a request from someone with the Louisiana Justice of the Peace and Constables Association.

"What they said was they had a problem," Guillory said. "There were people who were over 70-years-old in wheelchairs, some on oxygen tanks, making life and death decisions with guns and so they wanted to put a 70-year limit."

In other reports, the Association has come forward denying anyone within their ranks asked for this legislation.

Now, the new law is facing controversy, but Guillory said the entire process was pristine and no word of dissent was spoken while the bill was in committee.

"Not one word. Not one peep," said Guillory. "No one said: 'Slow down.' No one said: 'Hold on. Halt.'"

Guillory adds that it was resoudingly approved in both the Louisiana House of Representatives and Senate.

"This legislation went through the Louisiana Legislature with one negative vote out of about 170 legislators," said Guillory.

KTVE/KARD was invited by a Winn Parish constable to a meeting of that parish's JPs and constables Thursday night regarding the new law.

But when our crew arrived at the Winn Parish Courthouse, they were told to leave, with one of the JPs saying the state attorney general asked them not to speak to the press.

Taylor said a discrimination lawsuit is in the works.

"I have heard from some of the other JPs and they're going to go ahead and file because they said that they felt like it's discrimination against us," she said.

Guillory said he actually invites that response.

"It's very possible that we will, at least, reopen it, legislatively speaking, so that we can have everyone at the table," he said.

Justice Taylor tells KTVE/KARD so far she's not sure if she's going to qualify next week for the November elections.

Senator Guillory said there may be a chance to overturn the law, but nothing can happen legislatively until next year's session, leaving the JPs and constables of today in a difficult spot.
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