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Program B: Civil Law

Program Authorization: General: La. Constitution, Article IV, Section 8; R.S.36:704(D) (Civil Division); R.S. 36:704(C) (Public Protection Division).

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The mission of the Civil Law Program is to serve the citizens of the State of Louisiana through courteous and competent employees; and to provide superior legal representation and prompt and accurate legal advice and information on behalf of the State of Louisiana and to all clients of the program in the general areas of civil law and public protection.

The goal of the Civil Law Program is to provide superior legal service and public protection services on behalf of the State of Louisiana through the Civil Division and Public Protection Division.

The Civil Program includes two activities (expressed as organizational divisions): the Civil Division and the Public Protection Division.

The Civil Division defends the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana and provides information and legal services in the areas of general civil law, public finance and contract law, education law, land and natural resource law, and collection law. The Civil Division is composed of the Collections Section, Education/Interagency Transfer Section, Governmental Litigation Section, Lands and Natural Resources Section, and Public Finance and Contracts Section.

The Education/Interagency Transfer Section includes supervision over up to nine attorneys in various state departments and agencies, including the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Public Safety and Corrections, the Secretary of State, the Louisiana Housing Finance Authority, and the Office of the Inspector General. This section represents these agencies in a variety of capacities, including confidential assistant, general counsel, litigation defense, collection and drafting opinions, and the defense of statutory law alleged to be unconstitutional.

The Public Protection Division asserts and protects the State of Louisiana's interest by providing legal services in the general areas of consumer protection/environmental law, fair housing law, and insurance receivership law. The Public Protection Division is composed of the Consumer Protection/Environmental Section, the Insurance and Securities Section, and the Equal Opportunity Section.

In the consumer protection area, this section was granted authority under Louisiana's Unfair Trade Practice Act (R.S. 51:1401 et seq.) to conduct investigations as necessary when the Office of the Attorney General has reason to believe that an unfair or deceptive trade practice has taken place, is taking place, or is about to take place. (In connection with this authority, the section has joined with local officials in the investigation of several chain distribution schemes, has investigated mail order schemes in violation of U.S. postal inspection regulations, and has conducted investigations with the used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission on several used automobile businesses, resulting in removal of license and attachment by the Internal Revenue Service. The section has also successfully litigated several registration enforcement cases.) The section conducts consumer awareness seminars throughout the state on such subjects as shoplifting, fraud, theft, and other deceptive trade practices. An important focus of the section is mediation and investigation of consumer complaints and inquiries. This section is also charged with the enforcement of antitrust and related laws relative to the regulation of trade and commerce. This includes, but is not limited to, the protection of the welfare of small business interests and the interests of any persons injured by antitrust violations and conspiracies in restraint of trade and other patterns of organized business extortion and theft.

In the environmental area, this section assists the attorney general in the discharge of his duties under the Environmental Quality Act and in connection with the constitutional responsibility and power of the attorney general as chief legal officer of the state to institute, prosecute, or intervene in any civil action in order to assert or protect a state natural resource interest. The section prepares opinions, analyzes legislation, and advises officials and employees of the Departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, Public Safety and Corrections, Wildlife and Fisheries, Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and Agriculture and Forestry; the U.S. Corps of Engineers; and other interested federal and state agencies or subdivisions. Staff personnel attend hearings throughout the state and visit problem sites and meet with representatives of both government and industry to seek resolution of environmental problems. Staff personnel also respond to inquiries and complaints from citizens and coordinate these with governmental action and appropriate agencies. (This section has played a prominent role in administrative litigation involving shell dredging; defense of key environmental legislation requiring limitations on land disposal of hazardous waste in a municipal landfill near Monroe; attempts to force the federal government to comply with state coastal zone regulations in connection with offshore leasing by the U.S. Department of the Interior; and numerous administrative enforcement actions involving assessed penalties against environmental violators in Louisiana.)

OBJECTIVES AND PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Unless otherwise indicated, all objectives are to be accomplished during or by the end of FY 1999-2000. Performance indicators are made up of two parts: name and value. The indicator name describes what is being measured. The indicator value is the numeric value or level achieved within a given measurement period. For budgeting purposes, performance indicator values are shown for the prior fiscal year, the current fiscal year, and alternative funding scenarios (continuation budget level and Executive Budget recommendation level) for the ensuing fiscal year (the fiscal year of the budget document).

 

RESOURCE ALLOCATION FOR THE PROGRAM

SOURCE OF FUNDING

This program is funded from the State General Fund, Interagency Transfers, Fees and Self-generated Revenues and Federal Funds. Fees and Self-generated Revenues are derived from fees charged for the collection of delinquent student loans. Interagency Transfers are derived from various state agencies for legal services. Federal Funds are derived from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Administration and Enforcement of the Louisiana open housing law.

 

ANALYSIS OF RECOMMENDATION

GENERAL FUND

TOTAL

T.O.

DESCRIPTION

 

 

 

 

 

$4,309,888

$6,603,988

60

 

ACT 19 FISCAL YEAR 1998-1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BA-7 TRANSACTIONS:

$0

$120,000

1

 

Approved BA-7 for an Attorney specializing in Juvenile cases, and a Juvenile Coordinator funded via and for the Department of Corrections

$0

$156,179

0

 

Approved BA-7 for Legal Services to be provided for the Department of Insurance

$19,134

$74,420

0

 

Carry forward BA-7 approved for Court Reporting and related litigation services for Shell Offshore, etc. with reports not received until after June 30, 1998

$11,280

$11,280

0

 

Carry forward BA-7 approved for Printing not received until after June 30, 1998

$0

$48,725

0

 

Carry forward BA-7 approved for the Collections Computer System not received until after June 30, 1998

 

 

 

 

 

$4,340,302

$7,014,592

61

 

EXISTING OPERATING BUDGET November 20, 1998

 

 

 

 

 

$116,831

$152,973

0

Unclassified State Employees Merit Increases for FY 1999 2000

$101,282

$134,600

0

 

Acquisitions and Major Repairs

($30,414)

($134,426)

0

 

Nonrecurring carry forward for printing, acquisitions, and litigation services

$224,454

$224,454

0

 

Salary Base Adjustment

($81,695)

($81,695)

0

 

Attrition Adjustment

$34,580

$34,580

0

 

Other Adjustments Related Benefits adjustment

$0

$250,000

3

 

Consumer Protection, Multi-States actions, including 3 positions

 

 

 

 

 

$4,705,340

$7,595,078

64

 

TOTAL RECOMMENDED

 

 

 

 

 

$365,038

$580,486

3

 

DIFFERENCE (TOTAL RECOMMENDED AND EXISTING OPERATING BUDGET)

The total means of financing for this program is recommended at 108.3% of the existing operating budget. It represents 110.3% of the total request ($8,379,488) for this program. The net increase in funding is due primarily to adjustments provided for salaries for both attorney and non-attorney positions, and for the additional funding for the Consumer Protection Section, including 3 positions, for Multi-State legal actions.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

$992,534

 

Legal services for expert witnesses, taking depositions and other legal expenses

$220,000

 

Travel anticipated for expert witnesses, taking depositions and other required travel related to Legal Services

 

 

 

$1,212,534

 

TOTAL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

OTHER CHARGES

$303,612

 

Funds required to pay for depositions and court costs for cases for state agencies under the jurisdiction of this office

$311,500

 

Funds required for Legal services contracts

$88,500

 

Salaries and Travel for personnel

 

 

 

$703,612

 

TOTAL OTHER CHARGES

 

 

 

 

 

Interagency Transfers:

$8,597

 

Miscellaneous services/maintenance for state buildings

 

 

 

$8,597

 

TOTAL INTERAGENCY TRANSFERS

ACQUISITIONS AND MAJOR REPAIRS

$42,600

 

Library Reference Material replacement

$117,000

 

Replacement of obsolete office and computer equipment, and office equipment for the Consumer Protection Section

 

 

 

$159,600

 

TOTAL ACQUISITIONS AND MAJOR REPAIRS

 


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