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Privatization requires parish vote

Privatization of the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board would have to be considered by the state Legislature and then approved by a majority of voters in the parish, according to a bill that passed 30-1 in the Senate on Tuesday. For several years, the city has been embroiled in a debate about whether the water board should be run by a private company. City voters approved a referendum in March 2002 that gives them the right to vote on a privatization contract. The board in October rejected proposals to privatize, but the issue is expected to arise again. Senate Bill 781 by Sen. Lambert Boissierre Jr., D-New Orleans, which now goes to the House,
says that before privatization of any sewer or water facility, the city must submit a report to the Senate Local and Municipal Affairs Committee, which may hold hearings on the matter but would not vote on it.