8 constitutional changes backed by lawmakers

Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana lawmakers are proposing eight new changes to the state constitution following their regular session. But the constitutional amendments will linger for more than a year before voters decide if they take effect.

The next statewide election isn't until 2014.

Two proposals that grabbed the most attention would make it more difficult to reduce dollars paid to private hospitals and nursing homes for taking care of Medicaid patients.

Approval came despite concerns that locking up an estimated $1.9 billion in the Medicaid program would leave public colleges more vulnerable to cuts during budget shortfalls.

Other amendment proposals would change the membership of the state's Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, protect from cuts the donations that oil companies make for artificial reefs and limit when tax rebates can be considered by lawmakers.

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