Judge throws out pension hike as unconstitutional

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent has been declared unconstitutional.

State District Judge Janice Clark ruled Tuesday that the Louisiana Legislature didn't properly pass the pension change that gave enhanced benefits to Col. Mike Edmonson and a 32-year trooper in Houma.

Clark's ruling voids the provision. Both Edmonson and the other trooper already had said they didn't intend to accept the increased retirement benefit.

The change, which carried a $359,000 price tag, drew strong criticism as a backroom deal for a political insider.

Lawmakers said they didn't realize the retirement provision had been included in the bill, and no one defended the law in court. Lawyers for Gov. Bobby Jindal, the state police retirement system and Treasurer John Kennedy supported the judge's decision.

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