Sunday, June 23, 2024

Louisiana voters to decide on eight constitutional amendments

by BIZ Magazine

Jackie Mitchell | Ballotpedia via The Center Square

The Louisiana Legislature concluded its legislative session for 2023 on June 8. During this session, a total of seven constitutional amendments were passed, adding to the existing one that was referred to the 2023 ballot in the Legislature’s 2022 session. Altogether, there will be eight amendments on the statewide ballot for 2023.

Four amendments will be on the Oct. 14 ballot and four will be on the Nov. 18 ballot.

On Oct. 14, voters will decide the following constitutional amendments:

  • An amendment to provide that the freedom to worship in a church or other place of worship is a fundamental right deserving the highest level of protection;
  • An amendment to prohibit nonprofit organizations from receiving property tax exemptions if they own residential properties that pose a danger to public health or safety due to disrepair;
  • An amendment to require a minimum allocation of 25% of nonrecurring state revenue to address the unfunded liability of the state retirement system; and
  • An amendment to prohibit the utilization of funds, goods, and services donated by foreign governments or nongovernmental sources in conducting elections.
  • On Nov. 18, voters will decide the following constitutional amendments:
  • An amendment to provide that the legislature has the authority to consider vetoed bills during regular or extraordinary sessions instead of convening a separate veto session;
  • An amendment to allow the legislature, through a two-thirds supermajority vote, to utilize up to $250 million from the Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund to address a budget deficit;
  • An amendment to authorize local governments to grant an additional property tax exemption of up to $2,500 for first responders, including firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, emergency response dispatchers, peace officers, police officers, and sheriffs; and
  • An amendment to repeal constitutional provisions that establish various inactive state funds and permit the transfer of remaining funds to the state general fund.

Louisiana has a divided government in which the governor is a Democrat, while the Republican Party holds majorities in both chambers of the Legislature.

In Louisiana, a two-thirds vote is required in each chamber of the Legislature to refer a legislatively proposed constitutional amendment to the ballot for voter consideration. The governor’s signature is not required.

From 1999 to 2021, a total of 56 constitutional amendments appeared on the statewide ballot in Louisiana during odd-numbered years. Of these, 37 (67.27%) were approved, and 19 (34.54%) were defeated. On average, approximately five constitutional amendments were on the statewide ballot during odd years in Louisiana.

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