Senator Jack Donahue Newsletter - Back to the Ballot, Again - November 2nd - Ten Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot
Wednesday, October 20 2010 - 10:10 am
Election day is rapidly approaching and whereas this election is of the utmost importance to our Nation, we do have several amendments being proposed to Louisiana's Constitution.
As I did for our last election, I am sharing a brief synopsis of each for your consideration:
No. 1 Specifies that Salary increases for statewide elected officials and legislators are not effective until the next term of office.
For - would require that an increase could not take effect until the beginning of the next term after the increase was approved
Against - would continue to allow an increase to take effect at any time, including during the term of the elected official who voted for the increase
No. 2 Establishes a process to increase the amount of state severance taxes collected on certain natural resources that is returned to the parishes where the taxes are collected.
For - would dedicate the tax revenue to the parish of origin, restrict the use of a portion of these funds and dedicate a portion of severance taxes collected on state lands to the Atchafalaya Basin Conservation Fund. This is not a tax increase.
Against - would maintain the limit on severance tax revenue that must be paid by the state to parishes at $850,000 per year, adjusted annually for inflation
No. 3 Doubles the homestead exemption for qualified disabled veterans and their surviving spouses.
For - would give each parish governing authority the option to call an election of whether to double the homestead exemption available to veterans with service-connected disability rating of 100 percent and certain surviving spouses
Against - would maintain the current homestead exemption for all homeowners and provide no additional exemption for disabled veterans
No. 4 Limits non-elected taxing authorities to millage increases of no more than 2.5 percent a year.
For - would limit the property tax millage increase that certain non-elected taxing bodies could impose following a mandatory millage decrease due to reassessment. The millage adjustment could not increase taxes more than 2.5 percent above the amount collected the previous year.
Against - would continue to allow all local taxing bodies to roll a millage back up to the previous maximum authorized rate, following a mandatory reassessment roll back
No. 5 Extends the time in which the owner of a home must reoccupy the home after a disaster to retain the homestead exemption.
For - would allow homeowners displaced by disaster to apply for a second five-year extension on their special assessment levels and homestead exemptions if they are unable to reoccupy their homes due to a pending appeal on damage claims
Against - would continue to allow only a single five-year period in which homeowners displaced by a disaster could reoccupy their homes before they lose their special assessment levels and homestead exemptions
No. 6 Requires a two-thirds vote of each legislative body to enact any benefit provision for members of a Louisiana public retirement system if the provision has an actuarial cost.
For - would continue to require a simple-majority legislative approval for changes to benefit provisions of any public retirement system subject to legislative authority, but would require two-thirds legislative approval when the proposed change has an actuarial cost
Against - would continue to allow certain retirement systems to change benefit provisions for their members without legislative approval, and would continue to allow the Legislature to increase the benefits for members of state and statewide public retirement systems with a simple majority vote
No. 7 Changes the rules for ad valorem property tax sales regarding the payment of delinquent taxes, interest and other costs.
For - would change the bidding rules for tax sale auctions and would allow tax collectors to charge additional penalties for the nonpayment of property taxes
Against - would maintain the current bidding process and would continue to exclude certain charges from the list of delinquent amounts that can be recovered through a tax sale
No. 8 Changes the procedure for expropriation by removing the requirement of offering the property back to the original owner if the property was expropriated because it posed a threat to public health or safety.
For - would remove the requirement that public authorities first offer expropriated property for resale to its prior owner because of whose neglect the property was taken to remove a threat to public health or safety and was held for 30 years or less
Against - would continue to grant the right of first refusal to former owners of property even though the property was taken to remove a threat to public health or safety when it has been held for 30 years or less
No. 9 Requires re-argument before a five (5) judge panel before the modification or reversal of an Office of Workers' Compensation judgment when there is one judge on the original three (3) judge panel that dissents.
For - would require that workers' compensation cases be re-argued before a panel of five or more appellate judges prior to the reversal of modification of an administrative agency's decision
Against - would continue to allow administrative agency decisions in workers' compensation claims to be reversed or modified with only a majority vote of a panel of three appellate judges
No. 10 Requires criminal defendants eligible to waive their right to a trial by jury to do so no later than forty-five days prior to the trial date with the decision to waive their trial by jury rights irrevocable.
For - would allow criminal defendants to waive their right to a jury trial in noncapital cases only if the waiver was made at least 45 days prior to the beginning of trial and would provide that once the waiver was made it could not be revoked
Against - would continue to allow criminal defendants to waive their right to a jury trial in non-capital cases without any time restrictions and would remain silent as to whether such a waiver could later be revoked
To see the exact ballot language you can visit https://voterportal.sos.louisiana.gov/address.aspx.
Early voting began on October 19 and will run through October 26. Early voting hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and takes place at the Registrar of Voters Office.