Section 1.7. Parameters on the Expenditure of Public Funds for Professional Development; Other Discretionary Judicial Travel.
(a) Intent. It is the general intent of this Section to place parameters on the expenditure of public funds for discretionary travel by judges to attend conferences, seminars, and conventions for the purpose of continuing legal education, to maintain professional competence in the law or judicial administration in accordance with Canon 3A(1) and 3B(1) of the Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct, or otherwise pertaining to the professional development of judges. It is also the general intent of this Section to place parameters on the expenditure of public funds for other discretionary travel by judges, including, but not limited to, speaking, teaching, and lecturing activities; participation in Bar Association, law school or other university events (such as trial advocacy programs); participation in national or state board or committee meetings; participation in activities governed by Canons 4A and 4C of the Code of Judicial Conduct; and participation in other events and activities that are not specifically excluded from the monetary cap outlined in subpart (c).
(b) Definitions. The following definitions shall be applicable to this Section.
(i) The word “judge” means a justice of the supreme court; a judge of a court of appeal; a judge of a district court; a judge of a juvenile court; a judge of a family court; a judge of a parish court; a judge of a city court; a judge of a municipal court; or a judge of a traffic court.
(ii) The term “public funds” means legislatively-appropriated funds, judicial expense funds, self-generated funds, and funds of federal, state, local, parish, or municipal governments. The term does not include federal, state or local government grant funds; private sector grant funds; scholarships; or tuition or fee waivers of any nature.
(c) Fiscal Year Cap.No judge shall spend more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) in public funds, on a fiscal year basis, on fees, costs and expenses pertaining to attendance at conferences, conventions, seminars, and other discretionary travel, including, but not limited to, speaking, teaching, and lecturing activities; participation in bar association, law school, or other university events; participation in national or state board or committee meetings; participation in activities governed by Canons 4A and 4C of the Code of Judicial Conduct; and participation in other events and activities that are not expressly excluded in this subpart.
This fiscal year monetary cap shall not be applicable to the expenditure of public funds for state judicial branch, state judge association, or state court business meetings; ceremonial functions attended by a judge in a judicial capacity away from his or her court; events attended by a chief judge as a representative of the state or the chief judge’s court; federal, state or local government committee work; judicial branch or court committee work; or quasi-judicial activities permitted by Canon 4B of the Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct. The fiscal year cap also shall not be applicable to travel in which a public institution of higher learning chooses to compensate or reimburse expenses for judges engaged in teaching activities.
(d) Nexus. Public funds may be expended by a judge for attending a conference, seminar, convention, committee meeting, board meeting, teaching activities, bar association, law school or university activities, and other events that involve discretionary judicial travel only when there is a correlation between the purpose and function of the activity and the work of the judge or the judge’s court, or when the activity is allowed by Canon 4A or 4C of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
(e) Local Court Policies. Individual courts may adopt policies concerning the expenditure of public funds for discretionary travel by judges that are more restrictive than the policies contained in this Section.
(f) No Apportionment. If an event that is excluded from the fiscal year cap (i.e., state judge association business meeting) is held in conjunction with a conference, convention, seminar or other event subject to the cap, there shall be no apportionment of funds between included and excluded events. If a judge registers for and/or attends any conference, convention, seminar, meeting or other event that is subject to the fiscal year cap, the entirety of that event shall be subject to the fiscal year cap.
[Effective July 1, 2013; amended effective July 1, 2014]