Louisiana Voters wil have four constitutional amendments to decide on when they go to the polls on October 20. Below is a list of the amendments from the Louisiana Secretary of State's website, followed by a brief overview of each amendment.
1. Act 483 (2007 Regular Session) amends Article VII, Section 10(D)(3)(a) and(c).
Present Constitution requires the legislature to provide by law for the payment by the
state of supplements to the salaries of full-time local law enforcement and fire protection
officers of the state. Further provides that the legislature shall appropriate funds
sufficient to fully fund the cost of such state supplements.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment prohibits the reduction of any payments by the
state of salary supplements to full-time local law enforcement and fire protection officers
of the state.
Present Constitution provides that full funding of salary supplements to full-time local
law enforcement and fire protection officers of the state shall be equal to the amount
which is required to meet the requirements of law in effect on July 1, 2001.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment provides that full funding of salary supplements
to full-time local law enforcement and fire protection officers of the state shall be equal
to the amount which is required to meet the requirements of law.
Police, firefighters, constables, marshalls and deputy sheriffs get supplement pay from the state. By law the state must only fund the pay at $300 a month, however during the most recent legislative session, lawmakers increased the pay to $425 month. If the amendment passes, then any future supplemental pay increases would be locked in and could not be reduced except by a 2/3 majority the house and senate plus the governor's signature. A vote against the amendment means the state only has to pay $300 a month. Any increases are not guaranteed to continue.
2. Act 485 (2007 Regular Session) amends Article X, Section 10(A)(1).
Present Constitution vests the state and city civil service commissions with broad and
general rulemaking and subpoena power for the administration and regulation of the
classified service, including the power to adopt rules regulating compensation and
disbursements to employees; and to adopt a uniform pay and classification plan.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment authorizes the legislature to supplement the
uniform pay plans for sworn, commissioned law enforcement officers employed by a
bona fide police agency of the state or its political subdivisions and for fire protection
officers employed by a port authority from any available funds of the state, department,
agency or the political subdivision. Further requires that such supplement may be made
available only for sworn, commissioned law enforcement officers employed on a fulltime
basis who serve the welfare of the public in the capacity of a police officer by
providing police services to the general public, by effecting arrests, issuing citations,
and serving warrants while patrolling waterways and riverfront areas and for fire
protection officers employed on a full-time basis who provide fire protection services to
a port authority.
Officers with the Port of New Orleans Harbor Police, The Crescent City Connection Police Department and the Orleans Levee District Police Department as well as firefighters for the Port of New Orleans do not get supplemental pay from the state. A vote for the amendment would add only the officers with the Port of New Orleans Harbor Police and the Port of New Orleans firefighters.
3. Act 484 (2007 Regular Session) amends Article X, Section 29(E)(5).
Present Constitution provides that all assets, proceeds, or income of the state and
statewide public retirement systems and all contributions and payments made to such
system to provide for retirement and related benefits shall be held, invested as
authorized by law, or disbursed as in trust for the exclusive purpose of providing such
benefits, refunds, and administrative expenses under the management of the boards of
trustees and shall not be encumbered for or diverted to any other purpose. Further
provides that the accrued benefits of members of any state or statewide public
retirement system shall not be diminished or impaired and future benefit provisions for
members of the state and statewide public retirement systems shall only be altered by
Proposed Constitutional Amendment retains present law and clarifies that future
benefits provisions for members of the state and statewide public retirement systems
shall be altered only by legislative enactment.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment provides that no benefit provision for any
member of a state retirement system having an actuarial cost shall be approved by the
legislature unless a funding source providing new or additional funds sufficient to pay all
such actuarial cost within ten years of the effective date of the benefit provision is
identified in such enactment. Further provides that this provision shall be implemented
as provided by law.
Louisiana has four "State" retirement systems, which include state employees, teachers, state police and school employees. Louisiana also has nine "Statewide" retirement systems that covers assessors, clerks of court, district attorneys, firefighters, municipal employees, municipal police, parish employees, registrar of voters and sheriffs. Over the years the state has ended up with a large amount of debt in trying to pay for the retirement systems. Under the proposed amendment, any future benefit increases for the four "State" retirement systems would have to already have its funding source identified, and the debt tied to those benefits would have to be paid off in 10 years instead of the 30 currently required by law.
4. Act 486 (2007 Regular Session) amends Article VII, Section 21(C)(19).
Present Constitution exempts from ad valorem taxation all artwork which is listed as a
consignment article by an art dealer. Further provides that "artwork" includes sculptures,
glass works, paintings, drawings, signed and numbered posters, photographs, mixed
media, collages, or any other item which would be considered as the material result of a
Proposed Constitutional Amendment adds an exemption from ad valorem taxation
for jewelry which is listed as a consignment article by an art or jewelry dealer.
Right now artwork on consignment (letting a dealer sell the artwork for the artist or artwork owner for a commission) is exempt from the state levied property tax. The amendment would also make jewelry on consignment exempt from state levied property taxes.