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Considering run for lieutenant governor, House Speaker seeking to add authority to the office – The Advocate

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder is pushing to transfer oversight of several important historic buildings, including the state Capitol, as well as a multi-million dollar fund aimed at attracting major …….

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder is pushing to transfer oversight of several important historic buildings, including the state Capitol, as well as a multi-million dollar fund aimed at attracting major sports events to the state, to the lieutenant governor’s office.

The effort comes just a year ahead of the 2023 elections, when Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser is expected to run for governor and Schexnayder is considering a run to take Nungesser’s place as lieutenant governor.

Schexnayder, a Gonzales Republican, said that while he’s mulling a bid for Nungesser’s job, he hasn’t made his mind up, and the legislative efforts have nothing to do with his future plans.

He said he wants to give the lieutenant governor oversight of the historic buildings in the State Capitol complex because he thinks the Division of Administration, which is part of the governor’s administration, has done a poor job maintaining them.

The proposal, which spilled into public view Thursday as the House passed the $38 billion state budget, has rankled Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration. The governor is currently in charge of both the State Capitol complex and major events program, the latter of which was most recently used to attract the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four to New Orleans.

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, who oversees the day-to-day operations of Edwards’ sprawling domain, tangled with Schexnayder and other legislative leaders over the speaker’s plan to take several Capitol area buildings out of Dardenne’s purview.

The speaker’s legislation, House Bill 756, gives the lieutenant governor responsibility of the State Capitol, the Capitol Annex, the Old Arsenal Magazine Museum and the historic Pentagon Barracks, which houses apartments that Schexnayder and Senate President Page Cortez dole out to lawmakers during legislative sessions.

The bill would have the lieutenant governor come up with a budget for the buildings each year, and get legislative approval to spend it. It also creates a new fund that could receive tax dollars from the Legislature, as well as donations and gifts, and directs the lieutenant governor to “repair, maintain, and, as appropriate, enhance the buildings and grounds.” Legislative leaders also earmarked $1 million currently slated for Dardenne’s office to the lieutenant governor’s office in the event the bill passes, as part of the budget that was approved by the House Thursday.

Dardenne, a Republican who endorsed Edwards, a Democrat in his longshot 2015 bid, before becoming his chief budget architect, railed against the proposal, warning lawmakers they would waste taxpayer money and make maintenance woes worse.

“If you’re for growing government and if you’re for duplicating services and if you’re for an allocation of an arbitrary amount of $1 million … You’…….

Source: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/legislature/article_f9130fe2-c1bf-11ec-9cc9-e726856080fa.html

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