Wednesday, November 16, 2022

December 10, 2022 Constitutional Amendments Overview

Source: Public Domain

There's another election right around the corner and this time there are 3 Constitutional Amendments on the ballot for Louisiana voters. Each time this happens I try to provide a "plain English" explanation of the amendments because they are often written in "legalize" which essentially means they are written by lawyers, for lawyers. I'm not knocking that because it's very important for the language to be correct. But sometimes it makes them difficult to understand by the layperson.

Thankfully that is not the case with the three amendments before us on the December 10, 2022 ballot. They really are fairly easy to understand. What's harder to understand is the motive behind the amendments! There's always a backstory, which is also important to understanding the amendments and why you should vote for or against them. So here's my best attempt at explaining the amendments and why you might vote for or against them:

  • Constitutional Amendment 1 would ban people who are not US citizens from registering to vote or casting ballots in Louisiana elections. While that seems to be a good idea, the LA Constitution already requires a person to be at least 18 years old and a citizen of Louisiana in order to register to vote and to cast a ballot. Plus, the election code requires people applying to register to vote to attest they are US citizens. So this really seems to be a redundancy. Apparently this is a knee-jerk reaction to the fact the some municipalities in other states have allowed non-US citizens to vote in local elections. But that loophole does not exist in LA as municipalities do not have the legal authority to change the rules to allow non-citizens to vote. (I'm voting NO because I believe this is a needless change that only seeks to stir up emotions and gain political points.)

  • Constitutional Amendment 2 would require that the governor's appointees to the State Civil Service Commission be confirmed by the LA Senate. Backstory: 6 of the 7 members of the State Civil Service Commission are appointed by the Governor. (The 7th is elected by the states classified employees themselves.) The governor receives 3 recommendations from six different private universities (including Louisiana Christian University). He then selects one from each region of the state, making sure there is at least one representative from each of the 6 congressional districts. This amendment would require that his appointees go through a Senate confirmation process, which would slow down the process and introduce politics into what should be an apolitical process. (I'm voting NO because I think this just gums up the works.)

  • Constitutional Amendment 3 would require that the governor's appointees to the State Police Commission be confirmed by the LA Senate. Pretty much the same backstory as the previous amendment with recommendations coming from six private universities, including LCU, and the 7th being elected by the classified state police officers. I find it interesting that both of these amendments seek to limit the governor's discretion so it makes me wonder if these two are more about disagreements between the current legislature and governor than about policy. I trust the presidents of the various universities (Centenary, Dillard, LCU, Loyola, Tulane, and Xavier) to put forth good candidates that are above reproach, and I don't think we need to insert additional politics into the process. (I'm voting NO because I think this just gums up the works.)
Well, there you have it! I don't expect you to agree with me on everything. I've often found that the elections often don't go the way of my recommendations - and I'm ok with that! My goal is to try to explain things as simply as I can in hopes that folks will at least be more informed on the amendments and not skip over them. I HIGHLY recommend the PAR Louisiana guide to the amendments which gives a wonderfully balanced approach to explaining them (although they use a lot more words than I do! LOL!).

Don't forget there are several other very important runoff elections on the ballot, including:
  • Alexandria City Council, District 2: Gary Johnson or Roosevelt Johnson
  • School Board District G: Keith Breazeale or Wally Fall
  • Forest Hill Chief of Police: Glynn Dixon or Jay Molinary
  • Lecompte Alderman: Top 2 among Alex Baker, Michael Busch, Butch Butler and Nancy Phillips
Early voting is Nov 26-Dec 3 (excluding Sunday, Nov 27) from 8:30AM-6PM and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Dec 6 from Louisiana's Voter Portal or your Registrar of Voters Office. (Absentee ballots must be received by 4:30PM on Dec 9 and election day is Dec 10 from 7AM-8PM. Don't forget to VOTE!!!

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