LABI summarizes state constitutional amendments on Nov. 6 ballot

CA No. 1 – Prohibition on Felons Holding Office Within Five Years of Sentence Completion

LABI: NO POSITION

This Constitutional Amendment would prohibit a person convicted of a felony who has exhausted all legal remedies from qualifying as a candidate for elected office and certain appointed offices for a period of five years from the completion of the original sentence for the conviction. The bill narrowly received the two-thirds vote required in the Legislature to place the Amendment on the ballot. LABI took no position on the bill during the legislative session and therefore has no position on the ballot measure.

CA No. 2 – Requirement for Unanimous Jury Verdict in Future Noncapital Felony Cases

LABI: NO POSITION

The Louisiana Constitution currently requires a minimum of 10 jurors (of 12 total) to render a verdict in certain criminal cases, which is a low threshold that only exists in two states. The Constitutional Amendment would require a unanimous verdict for noncapital felony offenses committed on or after January 1, 2019. LABI took no position on the bill during the legislative session and therefore has no position on the ballot measure.

CA No. 3 – Authorization for Donations From Local Government to Local Government

LABI: NO POSITION

The Louisiana Constitution currently prohibits the loan, pledge, or donation of funds, credit, property or things of value of the state. The Constitutional Amendment would add an exception to permit the use of public equipment and personnel by a political subdivision upon request to another political subdivision pursuant to a written agreement. The bill passed the Legislature unanimously. LABI took no position on the bill during the legislative session and therefore has no position on the ballot measure.

CA No. 4 – Limit Transportation Trust Fund, Removing Authority for State Police Traffic Control

LABI: SUPPORT

The Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) was approved by the voters of the state as an amendment to the Louisiana Constitution in 1990. The authorized uses of the Fund include the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges on state and federal highways, the statewide flood control program, ports, airports, transit, the Parish Transportation Fund, and traffic control by the State Police. This Constitutional Amendment would remove traffic control by State Police as an authorized use of the Transportation Trust Fund, in effect further limiting gas tax revenues to infrastructure. In Fiscal Year 2014, the cost borne by the TTF for traffic control peaked at $62.4 million, and it has been phased out to $0 in the current year. LABI’s Program of Work advocates for limiting the use of gas taxes to infrastructure. With LABI’s support, the bill passed the Legislature unanimously. LABI likewise urges voters to support Constitutional Amendment #4.

CA No. 5 – Extend Special Property Tax Treatment for Certain Veterans and Law Enforcement

LABI: NO POSITION

The present Constitution grants a special assessment level to certain populations: freezing value for people 65 or older with low incomes, granting 100% exemption for military veterans with 100% disability rating or their surviving spouse, and granting 100% exemption for surviving spouses of military, law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency responders who died while performing their duty. The Constitutional Amendment would extend these special property tax treatment to certain trusts if the settlers of the trust meet the current requirements. The bill passed the Legislature unanimously. LABI took no position on the bill during the legislative session and therefore has no position on the ballot measure.

CA No. 6 – Residential Property Reappraisals > 50% Must be Phased in Over Four Years

LABI: NO POSITION

The Louisiana Constitution requires all property to be reappraised and valued at intervals of not more than four years. The Constitutional Amendment would require local governments to phase in over four years any residential property reappraisals that increase by more than 50%, if it is not related to construction or improvements. The phase-in requirement would not apply if the property transfers ownership, and the taxing authority must absorb any cost related to the phase-in and is prohibited from adjusting tax liability or millage for other taxpayers in the district. LABI took no position on the bill during the legislative session and therefore has no position on the ballot measure.