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7 Louisiana Amendments You Need To Understand Before November

Louisiana, let’s continue to be vigilant! In addition, to keeping our attention fixed on the presidential candidates in this upcoming election, let’s be sure to keep an eye out for the seven proposed amendments to the Louisiana Constitution. To review a full list of the seven proposed amendments check out this resource site on the Secretary of State’s website. Below you will find a breakdown of each of the seven proposed amendments on your ballot. 

 

  • Topic: Abortion
  •  Proposed Amendment 1: No Right to Abortion Amendment 

Ballot Language: “Do you support an amendment declaring that, to protect human life, a right to abortion and the funding of abortion shall not be found in the Louisiana Constitution?” (Adds Article I, Section 20.1) 

 

The Breakdown: Voting “yes for this amendment means you would like to add language to the Louisiana Constiution stating that “nothing in the constitution shall be interpreted/written to protect someone’s right to abortion or have access to the required  funding.” This means you are in favor of taking someone’s right to abortion or the required funding for abortions away from them. Taking the choice from within their hands. Voting “nofor this amendment ensures that women’s private and personal medical decisions are not invaded. 

 

 

  • Topic: Taxes and Natural resources
  • Proposed Amendment 2: Include Oil and Gas Value in Tax Assessment of Wells Amendment:

Ballot Language: “Do you support an amendment to permit the presence or production of oil or gas to be included in the methodology used to determine the fair market value of an oil or gas well for the purpose of property assessment?” (Amends Article VII, Section 4(B).

 

The Breakdown: Voting “yes for this amendment allows production of oil or gas to be taken into account when assessing its fair market value for ad valorem property tax purposes. In essence, tax assessors would have the ability to add the value of the oil or natural gas in a well on a piece of property in the property tax assessment. What’s important to note here is that in Louisiana, a two-thirds vote is needed in each chamber of the Louisiana State Legislature to get a constitutional amendment referred to the ballot for consideration.  According to Ballotpedia, when this amendment was introduced on February 27, 2020  Louisiana House of Representatives approved the constitutional amendment in a vote of 98-0 with six representatives absent or not voting and one vacancy. On May 29, 2020, the Louisiana State Senate passed the measure in a vote of 33-0 with six Democratic Senators absent or not voting. Voting “nofor this amendment will oppose taking the presence or production of oil or gas into account when determining the fair market value.

 

 

  • Topic: State and local government budgets, spending and finance 
  • Proposed Amendment 3: Use of Budget Stabilization Fund for Declared Disasters Amendment:

 

Ballot Language: “Do you support an amendment to allow for the use of the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, for state costs associated with a disaster declared by the federal government?” (Amends Article VII, Section 10.3(C)(3) and (4); Adds Article VII, Section 10.3(A)(5) and (C)(5))

 

The Breakdown: Voting“yes for this amendment allows the usage of the “Rainy Day” fund, to set aside money for disasters such as hurricanes or even pandemics. Voting “noto this amendment reverts the fund to its alternative use as ‘normal’ and it would not be used to its fullest potential. For example, Louisiana State Representative Gary Carter Jr., sponsor of the amendment says: “We can’t access our ‘rainy day’ fund when we have a true rainy day.” We all need a “rainy day” fund when it truly rains. 

 

 

  • Topic: State and local government budgets, spending and finance 
  • Proposed Amendment 4: Expenditures Limit Growth Formula Amendment:

Ballot Language: “Do you support an amendment to limit the growth of the expenditure limit for the state general fund and dedicated funds and to remove the calculation of its growth factor from the Constitution?” (Effective June 30, 2022) (Amends Article VII, Section 10(C)(1)

 

The Breakdown: Currently, the Constitution allows the legislature to determine the expenditure limit for each fiscal year which is established during the first quarter of the calendar year. Voting “yes for this  amendment would limit government control by changing the current formula lawmakers use by limiting the formula to a 5 percent growth per year cap. According to Jenn Hensley from the MyArkLaMiss, a similar measure was proposed in the 2018 Louisiana legislative session. It passed the state House, but it did not pass the state Senate. Voting “no opposes that which would keep the existing formula that caps state spending growth at the prior year’s spending limit multiplied by the average annual percentage rate of change of personal income for Louisiana for the three years prior.

 

 

  • Topic: Taxes and property 
  • Proposed Amendment 5: Payments in Lieu of Property Taxes Option Amendment:

Ballot Language: “Do you support an amendment to authorize local governments to enter into cooperative endeavor ad valorem tax exemption agreements with new or expanding manufacturing establishments for payments in lieu of taxes?” (Adds Article VII, Section 21(O)

 

The Breakdown: Voting “yes” to this amendment allows certain property owners who enter into cooperative agreements or payment plans with the taxing authority to make payments instead of paying a yearly lump sum of property taxes, according to Jenn Hensley from the MyArkLaMiss. Voting “no” to this amendment is in step with Edgar Cage of Together Louisiana who is an opposer of this amendment who says, “This gives another avenue for a manufacturer to get around paying ad valorem property tax. Instead of the tax rate being set by an election, it’ll be based on how well a company can negotiate.” This becomes a matter of those who have and those who have not. 

 

 

  • Topic: Taxes and property 
  • Proposed Amendment 6: Homestead Exemption Special Assessment Income Limit Amendment:

 

Ballot Language: ““Do you support an amendment to increase the maximum amount of income a person may receive and still qualify for the special assessment level for residential property receiving the homestead exemption?” (Amends Article VII, Section 18(G)(1)(a)(ii))

 

The Breakdown: Balllotpedia says, this amendment would mean people who meet the qualifications for homestead exemption would be able to make approximately $28,000 more per year and still qualify for the special assessment level for residential property. Voting “yes” to this amendment would increase the income threshold by approximately $28,000 to $100,000 annually and still qualify for the special assessment beginning in 2026. Currently, someone who is a senior citizen, served in a certain branch of the military, or a disabled person can only make $50k up to $77,030.36 per year to receive the homestead exemption. This gives more people an opportunity to take advantage of special accommodations. Voting “no” to this amendment keeps the income threshold at $77,000 per year to receive the exemption.

 

 

  • Topic: Property and state and local governments budgets, spending and finance 
  • Proposed Amendment 7: Unclaimed Property Permanent Trust Fund Amendment:

Ballot Language: “Do you support an amendment to create the Louisiana Unclaimed Property Permanent Trust Fund to preserve the money that remains unclaimed by its owner or owners?” (July 1, 2021) (Adds Article VII, Sections 10(F)(4)(i) and 28)

 

The Breakdown: Voting “yes” to this amendment will create the Unclaimed Property (UCP) Permanent Trust Fund, with the fund’s responsibility for payment of claims made by owners of abandoned property. Louisiana State Treasurer John M. Schroder says, “My staff and I have worked hard on this issue because I truly believe Unclaimed Property belongs to the people of Louisiana. It should be there whether it takes you two years or 20 years to claim it.” Voting “no” opposes this amendment to create the Unclaimed Property Permanent Trust Fund.  How do you want to claim your unclaimed property? Cast your ballot and let it speak for you!  

 

Louisiana native, Rachel C. Oatis is a youth advocate and nonprofit professional.  She has a B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College and a M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University. 

 

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