Thursday, November 02, 2023

Nov 18 Constitutional Amendments

Source: Public Domain

Election day is soon approaching and with it comes another round of proposed Amendments to the Louisiana Constitution. We voted on four back on October 14 (all of which were passed), and there will be another four on the November 18 ballot (along with a few remaining statewide runoffs (Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Treasurer), and a Rapides Parish 20-year tax proposal to support the Renaissance Home. You can get details on your ballot at the Secretary of State's website or by going to

 For the past several years I have sought to provide a layman's guide to the amendments because they are (rightfully so) written in legalize in order to be factual, precise, and enforceable. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes they are not easily understood!

To guide my research I read as much as I can about the amendments as well as take in PAR's excellent guide to the amendments. However, as hard as they work to boil the language down to understandable terms, this year's guide is still 17 pages long! (Granted, that includes covering the four on the Oct 14 ballot and the four on the Nov 18 ballot.) My goal is to summarize each amendment in one or two paragraphs. So let's dive right in!
  • Constitutional Amendment 1 would allow lawmakers to try to override a governor's veto without calling a separate session if they are already in a legislative session. In the past few years the Legislature has often called special sessions immediately after regular sessions to deal with pressing issues. This has caused some confusion as to the time limit requirements of veto sessions, so this amendment would clarify the language, especially dealing with special sessions. (I'm voting YES because I think the rules need to be clarified regarding special sessions.)

  • Constitutional Amendment 2 would remove six inactive funds with zero or near-zero balances from the Constitution. These six funds are not being used and no longer fulfill their original purpose. Five of the funds have $0 in them and the sixth has $604 and hasn't had a deposit in over 20 years. (The $604 would be transferred to the general fund.) (I'm voting YES because I think it helps streamline the Constitution by removing these no-longer-used funds.)

  • Constitutional Amendment 3 would allow property tax exemptions for First Responders. Most property owners receive a $75,000 property tax exemption for the home they live in, and some other specific exemptions are allowed (such as homeowners with disabilities, some military veterans, and homeowners of certain income levels who are 65 and older.) This amendment would allow parish governing authorities to approve an additional $25,000 exemption to qualified first responders who live in the parish in an effort to help recruit and retain first responders. I'm very conflicted about this because while I fully support first responders, this has the potential for confusion and abuse. And currently there is not an understanding of the financial impact so I'm withholding my recommendation until I can research it more fully.

  • Constitutional Amendment 4 would tighten the rules on how money from the Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund could be used by the Legislature. Currently funds can be accessed by a vote of 2/3 of the legislature for undefined "emergencies". The proposed changes would make it harder to access these funds by defining which "emergencies" it can be used for and limiting it to a certain amount of usage, only after the states separate "rainy day fund" was accessed. I'm leaning towards a YES vote, but I'm still researching the potential impact of this amendment and am withholding my recommendation until I gain some additional perspective.
Well, there you have it, a brief look at the four amendments coming up on the Nov 18 ballot. I will try to update this post later after I've had more time to take a closer look at 3 and 4. But I wanted to share this now since early voting starts Nov 3 and runs through on Veteran's Day, Nov 11 (excluding Sunday, Nov 5 and Veteran's Day holiday on Nov 10). I'd love to hear your thoughts on the constitutional amendments. Who knows, maybe you'll change my mind! But regardless of whether you agree with me or not, I hope everyone will educate themselves on the amendments and geaux vote!!!