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Proposed amendments to Louisiana Constitution for November election

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 6:12 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 4:14 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The 2020 election is approaching and aside from the presidential election, there are some proposed changes to the Louisiana Constitution that will appear on the ballot as well.

Below are the proposed amendments voters will see on the ballot with an explanation of what each ‘yes’ vote and ‘no’ vote means.

Proposed Amendment 1:

This is how it will look on the ballot: “Do you support an amendment declaring that to protect human life, a right to abortion and the funding of abortion shall not be found in the Louisiana Constitution?”

The proposal says that the Louisiana Constitution would not protect the right to abortion or the funding of abortions.

A “yes” vote would support adding a line to the Louisiana Constitution stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

A “no” vote would oppose adding that line and would keep the anti-abortion language out of the state constitution and maintain the legal right to abortion in Louisiana

Proposed Amendment 2:

This is how it will look on the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to permit the presence or production of oil or gas to be included in the methodology used to determine the fair market value of an oil or gas well for property assessment?”

This proposal says that it will give tax assessors the ability to include the value of oil or natural gas in a well on a piece of property in the property tax assessments.

A “yes” vote would support the amendment allowing the presence or production of oil or gas into account when determining the fair market value of an oil or gas well on a piece of property in the property tax assessment.

A “no” vote would oppose taking the presence or production of oil or gas into account when determining the fair market value.

Proposed Amendment 3:

This is how it will look on the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to allow for the use of the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, for state costs associated with a disaster declared by the federal government?”

This proposal deals with the Rainy Day Fund which is money set aside for Louisiana in the case of an emergency.

Currently, the money in the fund can only be used if there is a two-thirds majority vote and restricts the use of and deposits the fund according to budgeted forecasts and deficits.

A “yes” vote would allow Louisiana to use the Rainy Day Fund to cover costs from natural disasters or the COVID-19 pandemic.

A “no” vote opposes amending the state constitution to allow the Louisiana State Legislature to use up to one-third of the revenue in the Budget Stabilization Fund to cover the state’s costs associated with a federally-declared disaster, thereby maintaining the restricted use of the fund according to budget forecasts and deficits.

Proposed Amendment 4:

This is how it will look on the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to limit the growth of the expenditure limit for the state general fund and dedicated funds and to remove the calculation of its growth factor from the Constitution?”

This amendment would change the formula that lawmakers use to find out how much of the state’s revenue that they are allowed to spend per year.

A “yes” vote supports amending the Louisiana Constitution to remove the existing expenditure limit formula and allow the Louisiana Legislature to enact a state spending limit formula through a statute that does not allow more than five percent growth per year.

A “no” vote opposes that which would keep the existing formula that caps state spending growth at the prior year’s spending limit multiplied by the average annual percentage rate of change of personal income for Louisiana for the three years prior.

Proposed Amendment 5:

This is how it will look on the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to authorize local governments to enter into cooperative endeavor ad valorem tax exemption agreements with new or expanding manufacturing establishments for payments in lieu of taxes?”

This proposal would allow new or expanding manufacturing establishments to make payments to the taxing authority instead of paying property taxes.

It would also allow these companies to make these payments in a payment plan instead of all at once.

A “yes” vote would support this.

A “no” vote opposes allowing local governments to enter into agreements with new or expanding manufacturing establishments to make payments to the taxing authority instead of paying property taxes.

Proposed Amendment 6:

This is how it will look on the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to increase the maximum amount of income a person may receive and still qualify for the special assessment level for residential property receiving the homestead exemption?”

The Homestead Exemption Special Assessment Level freezes the property taxes owed unless the tax rate would increase in the parish. This exemption applies to people 65 and older, those who have a service-connected disability rating of 50% or more by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

It is also for those members of the armed forces of the United States or the Louisiana National Guard who owned and last occupied such property who are killed in action, or who are missing in action, or are a prisoner of war for a period exceeding 90 days. Lastly, it is also for any person who is permanently disabled.

A “yes” vote would increase the income threshold by approximately $28,000 to $100,000 annually and still qualify for the special assessment beginning in 2026.

A “no” vote would keep the income threshold at $77,000 per year to receive the exemption.

Proposed Amendment 7:

This is how it will look on the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to create the Louisiana Unclaimed Property Permanent Trust Fund to preserve the money that remains unclaimed by its owner or owners?”

It would also allocate any additional unclaimed property receipts and any investment revenue from the UCP Permanent Trust Fund to the state’s general fund and authorize the treasurer to invest up to 50% of the UCP Permanent Trust Fund inequities.

A “yes” vote supports amending the state constitution to Create the Unclaimed Property (UCP) Permanent Trust Fund, with the fund, earmarked for payment of claims made by owners of the abandoned property and authorize the treasurer to invest up to 50% of the UCP Permanent Trust Fund inequities.

A “no” vote opposes this amendment to create the Unclaimed Property Permanent Trust Fund, dedicate fund revenue to paying claims from owners of unclaimed property, and allocate investment revenue and unclaimed property revenue above the state’s estimate unclaimed property liability to the state’s general fund.

Last proposition on the ballot:

This is how it will look on the ballot: “Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of _____? YES ( ) NO ( )”

This proposition follows a bill that was passed earlier this year which would leave the decision up to each individual parish.

A “yes” vote would allow for sports betting in that particular parish.

A “no” vote would oppose that.

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