Eight constitutional amendments on Nov. 8 ballot

Heart of Louisiana: State Capitol building
Heart of Louisiana: State Capitol building
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 5:55 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - There are eight constitutional amendments on the Nov. 8 ballot, although the author of one is now asking Louisiana residents to vote against it.

Louisiana voters will consider 11 constitutional amendments this year - three more are on the December ballot. Since Louisiana’s constitution was ratified in 1974, 203 amendments have been voted in.

The 11 amendments have each passed the Louisiana House and Senate with a two-thirds vote.

Amendment 7 would rework the state constitutional ban on slavery and involuntary servitude, allowing their use only for the “lawful administration of criminal justice,” according to the Public Affairs Research Council.

But because of that exception, State Rep. Edmond Jordan, who originally authored the bill, is now asking the state’s residents to vote “No” on Nov. 8.

In a statement to KPLC’s sister station in Baton Rouge, WAFB, Jordan says the language on the ballot is confusing.

He plans to remove the ambiguity in the language and return the amendment to the ballot next year.

Each year, the Public Affairs Research Council, a non-partisan group, puts together a guide on proposed amendments.

Here’s a breakdown of what PAR says about the eight amendments on the Nov. 8 ballot.

AMENDMENT 1

Larger Stock Investments for Trust Funds

  • How the ballot reads: “Do you support an amendment to increase to 65% the cap on the amount of monies in certain state funds that may be invested in stocks?”
  • A vote for would: Let the state increase to 65% the maximum amount of money in seven different trust funds that can be invested in equities on the stock market.
  • A vote against would: Keep tighter limits in place on the percentage of the trust funds’ money that can be invested in the stock market, with some unable to be invested in equities at all.

AMENDMENT 2

Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans with Disabilities

  • How the ballot reads: “Do you support an amendment to expand certain property tax exemptions for property on which the homestead exemption is claimed for certain veterans with disabilities?”
  • A vote for would: Increase the property tax exemption available to veterans with service-related disabilities and to their surviving spouses after the veteran’s death.
  • A vote against would: Maintain the current level of property tax exemption available to veterans with service-related disabilities and to their surviving spouses.

Amendment 3

Political Activity for Civil Service Workers When Family Members Run for Office

  • How the ballot reads: “Do you support an amendment to allow classified civil service employees to support the election to public office of members of their own families?”
  • A vote for would: Allow most of Louisiana’s civil service employees to support certain campaign activities of a candidate for public office when that candidate is an immediate family member.
  • A vote against would: Continue the current prohibition on Louisiana’s civil service employees participating in campaign activities or supporting candidates for public office.

AMENDMENT 4

Waiving Charges for Water Use if Infrastructure Damaged

  • How the ballot reads: “Do you support an amendment to allow local governments to waive water charges that are the result of damage to the water system not caused by the customer?”
  • A vote for would: Let local water districts, municipalities or other political subdivisions reduce customer bills for water use if the charges stem from water lost due to damage outside a customer’s control.
  • A vote against would: Keep local water districts, municipalities and other political subdivisions from lowering bills or waiving customer charges for water use in almost all circumstances.

AMENDMENT 5

Local Authority Over Property Tax Rates

  • How the ballot reads: “Do you support an amendment to allow the levying of a lower millage rate by a local taxing authority while maintaining the authority’s ability to adjust to the current authorized millage rate?”
  • A vote for would: Give local taxing bodies more time to decide if they want to “roll forward” millages that increase property taxes paid by businesses and homeowners.
  • A vote against would: Keep the rules governing millage “roll forwards” the same, giving local taxing bodies until the next property reappraisals to make the decision.

AMENDMENT 6

Property Tax Assessment Increases in Orleans Parish

  • How the ballot reads: “Do you support an amendment to limit the amount of an increase in the assessed value of residential property subject to the homestead exemption in Orleans Parish following reappraisal at ten percent of the property’s assessed value in the previous year?”
  • A vote for would: Limit increases in the property tax liability of homes subject to homestead exemption in Orleans Parish, capping the reassessment increase to 10% of the residential property’s assessed value in the previous year.
  • A vote against would: Continue the current system, which requires a four-year phase-in of tax liability for homes subject to the homestead exemption when a reappraisal increases assessments by more than 50%.

AMENDMENT 7

Limits on Involuntary Servitude

  • How the ballot reads: “Do you support an amendment to prohibit the use of involuntary servitude except as it applies to the otherwise lawful administration of criminal justice?”
  • A vote for would: Rework the state constitutional ban on slavery and involuntary servitude, allowing their use only for the “lawful administration of criminal justice.”
  • A vote against would: Keep the state’s current constitutional language banning slavery and involuntary servitude, but allowing involuntary servitude as a “punishment for crime.”

AMENDMENT 8

Property Tax Assessments for Certain People with Disabilities

  • How the ballot reads: “Do you support an amendment to remove the requirement that homeowners who are permanently totally disabled must annually re-certify their income to keep their special assessment level on their residences for property tax purposes?”
  • A vote for would: Remove the requirement that certain property owners with disabilities annually certify their income to receive a property tax rate freeze.
  • A vote against would: Continue the annual income certification required for certain property owners with disabilities to receive a property tax rate freeze.

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