A Step by Step Guide to all of the Amendments
By Jeff Thomas
Most people are aware that they have to go and vote on November 6, 2018. In fact, early voting starts 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.
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.
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.
A Yes Vote would prevent felons from holding elected or appointed position of honor, trust, or profit in this state for at least 5 years which includes probation or parole.
A Vote No would allow felons to hold office and fully reenter society without any restrictions.
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.
Require unanimous jury decisions for verdicts in noncapital felony cases for offenses committed starting next year
A YES VOTE would require unanimous juries
A NO VOTE will continue to ignore the views of 2 jurors in deliberations for non-capital offenses
Lending of Equipment and Personnel for Government Subdivisions
Currently the constitution bans municipalities from sharing resources without receiving just compensation for the resource.
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.
A YES VOTE would allow jurisdictions to donate resources without receiving comparable value.
A NO VOTE will continue to require jurisdictions receive comparable value for any donation provided to another governmental entity.
Prevents Use of Transportation Trust Funds for Being Used to Fund the State Police
Add constitutional safeguard to not allow funding for traffic control by State Police out of TTF monies.
A YES VOTE would safeguard TTF funds from being raided in the future to fund state police
A NO VOTE would continue to allow TTF monies to go to state police traffic control.
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.
Allow estate planners the exemptions of the in place home owner
A YES VOTE would allow properties placed in a trust to be exempt from taxes matching the eligible exemptions of the in-place homeowner
A NO VOTE would mean the property in a trust is not eligible for exemptions
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%
Give homeowners time when huge increases in property values result in huge increases in property tax bills.
A YES VOTE would require phasing in over four years the increase in the property taxes due on homes if the reappraised value increased by more than 50%. And the increases in taxes would not be due or subject to collection
A NO VOTE would mean all property taxes would be immediately due as is normal with any property tax increase
FANTASY SPORTS BETTING
There is also a ballot item that would allow fantasy sports betting in Louisiana parishes.
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.
A YES VOTE would allow fantasy sports betting in Louisiana parishes that vote to allow it.
A NO VOTE would continue to prevent fantasy sports betting in Louisiana.