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There are four Louisiana Constitutional Amendments on the ballot across Louisiana on October 14 (or on any early voting day before October 14).  Each of the proposed Amendments calls for a “yes” or a “no” vote.  Any Amendment which receives a majority of “yes” votes will become part of the Louisiana Constitution.



Amendment 1:

“Do you support an amendment to prohibit the use of funds, goods, or services from a foreign government or a nongovernmental source to conduct elections and election functions and duties unless the use is authorized by the secretary of state through policies established in accordance with law?”

Right now the law isn’t clear about whether elections officials may accept outside donations to help conduct elections.  A “yes” vote would explicitly prohibit such donations from nongovernmental sources or from foreign governments unless properly authorized by the Secretary of State.  A “no” vote would leave it up to state and local officials to determine what contributions are acceptable. 

Amendment 2:

“Do you support an amendment to provide that the freedom of worship in a church or other place of worship is a fundamental right that is worthy of the highest order of protection?”

Freedom of religion is already embedded in both the U.S. and Louisiana Constitutions.  This Amendment would make it clear that freedom of religion is a “fundamental right” any limit on which would be subject to “strict scrutiny.”  This is already the law, according to both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Louisiana Supreme Court.  Putting this Amendment into the state Constitution would just mean that no future Louisiana Supreme Court could change its mind and decide that freedom of religion isn’t “fundamental” after all.  That’s not likely to happen, nor would it change anything if it did happen since the U.S. Supreme Court is not likely to change its mind either. 

May as well vote “yes” unless you think there’s too much religious freedom, in which case a “no” vote won’t change anything either.

Amendment 3:

“Do you support an amendment to require that a minimum of twenty-five percent of any money designated as nonrecurring state revenue be applied toward the balance of the unfunded accrued liability of the state retirement systems?”

The Constitution already requires that 10% of any money designated as “nonrecurring” be applied toward paying down the unfunded liabilities of the state retirement system.  A “yes” vote would raise this requirement to 25%.  A “no” vote would keep it at 10%. 

Amendment 4:

“Do you support an amendment to deny a property tax exemption to a nonprofit corporation or association that owns residential property in such a state of disrepair that it endangers public health or safety?”

A “yes” vote would authorize local officials to remove a property tax exemption from nonprofit organizations that lease housing and have repeated code enforcement regulations that endanger health or safety.  A “no” vote would not authorize this.