NEW ORLEANS — Election Day is just around the corner, and early voting starts Tuesday, October 25th. Louisiana voters will have 8 amendments to consider on the ballot this year, and it’s important to understand what your vote means. Here, we have a full rundown on what each amendment will do if it is approved, and what your "yes" or "no" vote can actually change.
On the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to increase to 65% the cap on the amount of monies in certain state funds that may be invested in stocks?”
The increase would apply to the following funds:
- Louisiana Education Quality Trust Fund
- Artificial Reef Development Fund
- Lifetime License Endowment Trust Fund
- Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge Trust and Protection Fund
- Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Fund
The amendment would also remove a provision in the constitution that limits the amount of money in the Millennium Trust that may be invested in stock. Instead, this amendment would allow the legislature to provide for investments by general law.
A yes vote means you support increasing the amount of specific state funds that can be invested in stocks from 35% to 65%.
A no vote means you support keeping the amount at 35%.
Taxes and Property
On the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to expand certain property tax exemptions for property on which the homestead exemption is claimed for certain veterans with disabilities?”
Currently, Louisiana properties are assessed at 10% of fair market value. $7,500 of assessed value is exempt from property taxes, but veterans that are 100% disabled have $15,000 exempt from their property taxes. This amendment would replace the current exemption for veterans with a 100% disability and expand those exemptions to other disabled veterans of a lesser disability rate.
A yes vote means you support changes to property tax exemptions for certain disabled veterans and their surviving spouse. This vote means you support one or more of the following:
- Exempting $7,500 of homestead property tax AND exempting $2,500 for veterans with service-related disabilities that rate between 50% and 69%.
- Exempting $7,500 of homestead property tax AND exempting $4,500 of assessed value from property taxes for veterans with service-related disabilities that rate between 70% and 99%.
- Exempting the total assessed value from property taxes from veterans that are 100% disabled or 100% unemployable
- Allowing the surviving spouse of the deceased disabled veteran to receive the exemption, even if the exemption was not claimed on the property before the veteran’s death
A no vote means you support keeping the property tax exemptions at $7,500 for a veteran with a 100% disability rating and their surviving spouse.
Elections and Campaigns
On the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to allow classified civil service employees to support the election to public office of members of their own families?”
This amendment would allow Louisiana’s civil service employees to publicly support family members’ election campaigns when not currently on duty. This would allow off-duty civil service employees to appear in or at their family members’ political campaign commercials, photos, or events. The Louisiana Constitution currently prohibits this.
Civil service employees include, but are not limited to:
- Elected officials and those appointed to fill vacant position in offices
- City attorneys
- City and state board members, authorities, and commissions
- Military or naval forces members
- Administrative officers of schools, colleges, universities of the state
- Railroad employees with working conditions or retirement benefits are regulated by federal agencies
A yes vote means you support a classified service or civil service employees being allowed to publicly support election campaigns of their immediate family members when not working.
A no vote means you support a classified service or civil service employee to no be allowed to publicly support family members’ election campaigns.
On the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to allow local governments to waive water charges that are the result of damage to the water system not caused by the customer?”
The Louisiana Constitution currently prohibits local or state governments from “loaning, pledging, or donating its funds, credit, property, or things of value” to anyone. There are exceptions to this, but the amendment would add a new exception that would allow local governments to waive water charges under certain circumstances.
A yes vote means you support the local governments having the ability to waive water charges for customers who lost water because of infrastructure damages that were not caused by the customer.
A no vote means you support the local governments not having the ability to waive water charges.
On the ballot: "Do you support an amendment to allow the levying of a lower millage rate by a local taxing authority while maintaining the authority's ability to adjust to the current authorized millage rate?”
Breaking it down – should Louisiana get rid of the ‘use it or lose it’ law when it comes to millages?
This is one of the most nuanced questions on the ballot.
We know voters approve a maximum millage rate… but not every taxing body needs the maximum every year. Those taxing bodies can vote to roll forward or roll back how much they collect whenever necessary.
But currently – Louisiana law says every four years, for at least one year, those taxing bodies have to collect the maximum millage rate… or they’ll lose their ability to ask voters to increase that maximum in the future.
The argument for this amendment – is that it will save taxpayers money – since tax-funded entities don’t have to hit the max if they don’t need it.
The argument against this amendment – is that it would open the door for those entities to ask voters for a higher millage rate in the future – even if they really didn’t need it.
A vote ‘yes’ on this amendment would give districts the flexibility to adjust property tax collections when the need arises… without having to hit the maximum millage amount.
A vote ‘no’ would mean taxing bodies have to hit the maximum millage rate at least once every four years.
On the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to limit the amount of an increase in the assessed value of residential property subject to the homestead exemption in Orleans Parish following reappraisal at ten percent of the property's assessed value in the previous year?”
The amendment would limit the increase in the assessed value of residential property in Orleans Parish to 10%, in which the owner of the property is receiving a homestead exemption.
A yes vote means you support limiting the increase the assessed value of residential property in Orleans Parish to 10% by 2024, based on 2023 numbers.
A no vote means you support keeping that assessed value at previous rates that align with previous property estimates from 2001.
Constitutional Language and Constitutional Rights
On the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to prohibit the use of involuntary servitude except as it applies to the otherwise lawful administration of criminal justice?”
As of this year, Louisiana was one of nine states whose constitution includes provisions permitting involuntary servitude, but not slavery, as criminal punishment. The section of the constitution that allows involuntary servitude as a punishment for crime would be amended to say “slavery and involuntary servitude are prohibited” if this amendment is approved.
Many have criticized the language of this amendment, including its original sponsor, Rep. Edmund Jordan of Baton Rouge, who worries that the amendment could unintentionally allow slavery.
A yes vote means you support removing language from the Louisiana Constitution that allow involuntary servitude as a punishment for crimes. A yes vote also means you support adding language to say that the section of the constitution that prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude “does not apply to the otherwise lawful administration of criminal justice.”
A no vote means you support keeping the language of these provisions within the state constitution.
Taxes and Property
On the ballot: “Do you support an amendment to remove the requirement that homeowners who are permanently totally disabled must annually re-certify their income to keep their special assessment level on their residences for property tax purposes?”
This amendment would remove the annual income recertification requirement for permanently or 100% disabled homeowners and their surviving spouses that receive special property taxes assessment levels. The special assessment level is or property owners receiving a homestead exemption and are also:
- 65+ years old
- Veterans with a service-related disability rating of at least 50%
- U.S. or Louisiana National Guard members who were killed, missing in action, or a prisoner of war for at least 90 days
- Determined by a court or state or federal agency as being permanently or totally disabled
A yes vote means you support removing the requirement to recertify income for some disabled homeowners each year and allow that group to keep a special property tax level indefinitely.
A no vote means you supporting keeping this requirement for people with total or permanent disabilities to recertify their income each year in order to maintain their status.
The Louisiana Secretary of State website has a tool where voters can search for ballot information related to their own individual parish and precinct. Their website also has a list of early voting locations.
You will need to bring a form of I.D. to the polling center. It can be either a Louisiana Driver's License, wallet digital driver's license, Louisiana Special I.D., or a Military I.D. card that includes your name and picture.
Louisiana early voting begins Tuesday October 25th until Tuesday November 1st, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, there are no early voting times on Sunday, October 30th. Election Day is Tuesday November 8th from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.