BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Early voting has begun and PAR Louisiana has a breakdown of each constitutional amendment on the general election ballot.
Amendment 1 looks to clarify when the legislature can take up vetoed bills when they have begun a different session than where the bill originated from. In 2022, after the redistricting session, lawmakers weren’t sure if they could begin a veto override session without ending the regular session early. They went ahead with it without concluding the regular session but this would give specific permission to do so in the future.
“If you leave it as it is, you can still probably do what you’re doing, but everyone’s not sure that that’s how the law should work,” said PAR President Steven Procopio.
This would not impact the legislature’s ability to attempt to override a veto on bills that were vetoed from the same session they are currently in.
A vote yes would make specific language allowing for a veto override session to take place during a different session without having to end it.
A vote no would require lawmakers to hold a separate veto override session if the veto came from a different session.
Amendment 2 would clear away some defunct funds out of the state constitution. There are six funds included in the proposal that are now empty or were found unconstitutional. The goal is to clear up the state constitution but cutting parts that are no longer useful. PAR Louisiana made recommendations to lawmakers to clear away some of the unused funds as a form of constitutional reform.
“On the other side, voters voted on all of these things. They got two-thirds vote at some point and a majority vote. So the issue is maybe we keep them around and they could turn into something in the future,” Procopio said.
A vote yes would remove six inactive funds with zero or near-zero balances from the Louisiana Constitution.
A vote no would keep the six inactive funds with zero or near-zero balances in the Louisiana Constitution.
Amendment 3 would create an additional property tax exemption for first responders. The optional tax break could be up to $25,000 on top of an already existing homestead exemption of $75,000. Parishes and police juries will be able to decide if they want to implement the exemption, for how much and for how long.
“This isn’t mandatory and it doesn’t have to be the whole $25,000. They can set their own policy,” Procopio said.
Some see it as a way to help retain first responders. Those against it believe first responders should be given higher pay instead since only homeowners will be able to benefit.
A vote yes would allow parishes to implement an additional property tax exemption for first responders.
A vote no would not create the additional exemption.
Amendment 4 would put strict parameters on when the legislature can dip into the Revenue Stabilization Fund. Not to be confused with the Rainy Day Fund, this pot of money is set aside for emergencies to fill budget holes. Currently, the “emergencies” this fund could be used for is not clearly defined.
This change would still allow lawmakers to dip into it with some boxes to be checked first.
“It would say you can use [the Revenue Stabilization Fund] with a two thirds vote up to $250 million to essentially plug a budget hole once you’ve already tapped the Rainy Day Fund,” Procopio said.
A vote yes would tighten the rules on allowed use of a seven-year-old state trust fund that collects dollars from corporate tax collections and oil and gas production in Louisiana.
A vote no would maintain broad rules for emergency use of a seven-year-old state trust fund that collects dollars from corporate tax collections and gas production in Louisiana.
Read the full analysis of the amendments from PAR Louisiana.
Early voting lasts until Nov. 11 and Election Day is Nov. 18.