Lawrason Act Will Govern St. George

Like two-thirds of Louisiana’s municipalities, the new City of St. George will be governed by the Lawrason Act, adopted in 1898. Residents of Baton Rouge may be surprised at the differences between the City-Parish form of government and a Lawrason Act municipality.

In the City-Parish system, the Mayor-President is clearly the executive and the Metro Council is clearly the legislative branch of the local government.

•In a Lawrason Act municipality, the mayor is more powerful, and the lines between the executive and legislative are blurred.

•In St. George, the Mayor will preside over the City Council, but he can vote only to break a tie.

•In a Lawrason Act municipality, the Mayor proposes the City Budget, and the Council cannot amend it.  They can accept it or reject it but not change it.

•The Mayor alone approves or rejects all contracts. As long as a contract is funded, the Council has no authority to reject it.

There are many other differences. You can learn more about a Lawrason Act municipality by reading La. R.S. 33:321-463.

In the future, St. George may consider adopting a home rule charter, which would allow it to vary from the Lawrason Act. That process takes a year or more.

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