The Plaquemines Parish president apparently has no plans to veto a controversial mud motor ordinance passed by the council earlier this month — despite a request from the measure’s author to scrap it entirely, according to a Lafayette attorney.
Dean Guidry with the Guidry Law Group in Lafayette is not legally involved in the matter but is a mud motor enthusiast who said he spoke with President Amos Cormier Jr.’s secretary earlier this week.
“He conveyed through his secretary, after I called three or four times, saying he was not going to veto the ordinance,” said Guidry, who indicated Cormier had called him back to discuss the situation on his cellphone but he was in court at the time. “When I called back, his secretary said he had a message for me and this is it —‘He is not going to veto it. He’s going to let the council deal with it in whatever way they want.’”
“I have sent a request to the parish president to veto this ordinance due to the vagueness of the language,” Williams said last week. “He’s in Washington at this time, and I don’t expect him to respond to me until Friday because he’s out of town until late Thursday night.”
Williams did not return a phone call seeking comment on the status of the ordinance today, and Cormier’s office did not answer the phone at 4:30 Wednesday afternoon.
The ordinance, No. 15-63, was adopted by the Plaquemines Parish Council on May 14, with only council member Jeff Edgecombe absent. All other members voted for the measure, according to a draft of the resolution obtained by LouisianaSportsman.com.
The ordinance prohibits “commercial and recreational mud boats from trespassing on public and private property located within the boundaries of Plaquemines Parish without the written permission of the landowners,” and also establishes enforcement provisions for violators.
It also stipulates that all property subject to the ordinance be conspicuously posted with “No Trespassing” signs. Anyone convicted of violating the ordinance would be fined between $50 and $500, the ordinance states.
Last Wednesday, Williams said the ordinance that passed the council was too vague.
“My intentions were not to alienate hunters or fisherman or anyone else. My husband hunts and fishes,” Williams said last week. “The reason that I introduced this was because I was approached by a reserve deputy. The intention was to introduce something similar to the airboat ordinance that was passed a few years ago by the previous council.
“I guess the verbiage in this particular ordinance wasn’t clear enough, and because I received an enormous amount of concern from the public — as well as after reviewing it — I realized it’s not specific enough. It’s too vague. It doesn’t go into detail.”
Guidry said he was perplexed by Cormier’s decision to not veto the measure, despite Williams’ apparent request to do so.
“She was the sponsor of the ordinance and she’s urging the parish president to veto the thing, and he’s not going to veto it,” Guidry said. "If he lets it lie, it becomes law, and the only option then is to rescind it — but somebody needs to introduce a resolution to do that, it has to be seconded and it has to pass. Or they can amend it, but it’s a very bad way to fix an ordinance that was very poorly drafted to begin with. And everybody agrees with that, including the council’s attorney.”
Guidry, who owns a Gator-Tail, is an avid poster on the Mud Motor Talk forum, and took an interest in the issue when he saw it being discussed online.
“I took the initiative when we found out about the ordinance, and I raised hell and a lot of people started calling, and we got some results,” he said. “All of a sudden, we’re not getting the results everybody promised.
“They’ve done a 180 on it — at least the parish president has.”
Plaquemines Parish Council Chairman Benny Rousselle said he spoke with Cormier by phone over the weekend, but they had not discussed the mud boat ordinance.
But he was surprised to hear that the parish president had apparently decided to take no action on the measure, and Rousselle said that would have been an “easy fix.”
“This is the thing: He’s preaching that he wants to work together with us, right? But I guess this is an effort on his part to let us go ahead and fix this thing without him being involved,” Rousselle said. "I don’t know."
He said he plans to discuss the matter with Cormier tomorrow at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting, but said the mud boat ordinance was not on Thursday night’s agenda.
“To be perfectly honest with you, it’s probably my fault for assuming he was going to veto it,” Rousselle said. “But if he doesn’t want to handle it, I will handle it.”