AMENDMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

MANY HAVE ASKED!  SEE MY THOUGHTS ON HOW TO VOTE

By Jeff Thomas

Most people are aware that they have to go and vote on tomorrow.  Locally in New Orleans important offices will be filled with permanent officials.  The two clerks’ positions will be filled, and a new judge will be elevated to the bench.  But besides those choices, statewide offices field candidates for Secretary of State and Congressional seats are up for grabs.  And voters will be asked to update the state’s constitution and decide whether fantasy betting will be allowed.  Keep reading to get the details about the choices on the ballot.

Amendments

Amendment 1

Prohibits Felons From Holding Office

In 1998, Louisiana Voters adopted a constitutional amendment prohibiting felons from seeking or holding elective office unless they had been pardoned or waited 15 years after the completion of the sentence.  But former Senator Derrick Shepherd sued and the Supreme Court ruled it was the amendment was not unconstitutional because the language presented to voters was different than what the Legislature approved.

CHANGE SOUGHT

The proposed amendment would prohibit felons from holding or seeking elective public office or an “appointment of honor, trust or profit in this state” for five years after completing a sentence.

RECOMMENDATION

Vote NO!  The people should decide who to elect.  If a person has served her time, then she should be allowed to run for any office for which she may qualify.  The people will elect the best person for the job, and we should not limit the rights of anyone who has paid their debt to society.

Amendment 2

Unanimous Verdict for All Felony Cases

The much-discussed non-unanimous jury amendment.  Currently only Louisiana and Oregon allow convictions for felony offenses where the sentence is hard labor yet two jurors believe the defendant is not guilty.  It used to be only 9 out of 12 jurors needed to vote to convict, but in 1974 the change was made to 10.

CHANGE SOUGHT

Require unanimous jury decisions for verdicts in noncapital felony cases for offenses committed starting next year

RECOMMENDATION

VOTE YES! The racism that is the basis for this law has deeply destroyed many lives in our state.  40% of people who have been proven to have been wrongfully convicted were convicted by non-unanimous juries. Prosecutors should always have to prove their cases by beyond any reasonable vote.

AMENDMENT 3

Lending of Equipment and Personnel for Government Subdivisions

Currently the constitution bans municipalities from sharing resources without receiving just compensation for the resource.

CHANGE SOUGHT

The Amendment would allow cities and parishes to share resources as long as they have a written cooperative agreement in place.  With the written agreement in place, there is no need to provide comparable value between jurisdictions.

RECOMMENDATION

VOTE YES! Municipalities should be able to work together in a cooperative spirit without burdensome regulations.

AMENDMENT 4

Prevents Use of Transportation Trust Funds for Being Used to Fund the State Police

CHANGE SOUGHT

Add constitutional safeguard to not allow funding for traffic control by State Police out of TTF monies.

RECOMMENDATION

VOTE YES! Stopping future governors from raiding the fund dedicated to highway construction and maintenance projects to fund the state police would give the public confidence that future taxes- which are coming- will be dedicated to the intended purpose.

AMENDMENT 5

Special Property Tax Exemptions for Properties in Trust

This would add another exemption to property taxes for people who plan their successions and place their property in a trust.

CHANGE SOUGHT

Allow estate planners the exemptions of the in place home owner

RECOMMENDATION

VOTE YES!  People who plan their estates and want to provide safeguards for successions and remain in their homes, should continue to benefit from all exemptions for which they qualify.

AMENDMENT 6

PHASED IN PROPERTY TAX INCREASES

Require a four-year phase-in of property taxes due for homes subject to the homestead exemption when a reappraisal increases assessments by more than 50%

CHANGE SOUGHT

Give homeowners time when huge increases in property values result in huge increases in property tax bills.

RECOMMENDATION

VOTE YES! HOLD YOUR NOSE but vote yes.  This is better than nothing, but still unfair to people whose property values increase significantly (20%-49% get no tax break).  But this will help families in the hottest real estate markets combat gentrification.

FANTASY SPORTS BETTING

There is also a ballot item that would allow fantasy sports betting in Louisiana parishes.

CHANGE SOUGHT

Currently fantasy sports betting is illegal in Louisiana.  If passed in individual parishes, then eventually fantasy sports sites like Fan Dual and Draft Kings would be legal in Louisiana.

RECOMMENDATION

VOTE YES!  The state is trying to keep up with the times.  And tax your winnings!  But denying an this form of betting is hypocritical, given all the other legal gambling that the state allows

 

2 thoughts on “AMENDMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

  • November 5, 2018 at 12:14 pm
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    Thanks, Jeff. This is just what I needed right now from a source that I trust. Orissa Arend

    Reply
  • November 6, 2018 at 6:40 am
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    Thanks Jeff…This is exactly what is needed!! Checked my potential vote to see if I REally understood what I would be voting for. Turns out I was in line and on point!! This site is part of the viable information our community needs. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to your WBOK session.

    Reply

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