2012 LA Constitutional Amendments passed: What does that mean to me?
BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — Along with casting their vote for president, mayor, and other public offices in Baton Rouge, all Louisiana voters were given nine amendments to the Louisiana State Constitution. All, but one, passed.
Here is a breakdown of what each amendment means to you:
1. Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly (Passed)
The amendment adds the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly to the list of funds protected in the Constitution from being “swept” of cash when the state is looking for additional money to help balance the state budget.
2. Strict Scrutiny Standard for Gun Laws (Passed)
The amendment adds terminology to the State Constitution that says possessing a weapon is a fundamental right in Louisiana and any restriction must pass a “strict scrutiny” judicial review. Also, the amendment removes, from the Constitution, the Legislature's authority to pass laws restricting the right to carry a concealed weapon.
3. Earlier Notice of Public Retirement System Bills (Passed)
The amendment doubles the public notice period for prefiled retirement bills. The public will have to be given earlier notice to file a bill affecting any of the 21 public employee retirement systems. Now, retirement bills or constitutional amendments will need to be prefiled no later than 45 days before the first day of the session and any notice of intention to introduce a bill, affecting the state’s public retirement systems, has to be published in the official state journal on two separate days, with the second notice published no later than 60 days before the bill is introduced.
4. Property Tax Exemption for Spouses of Certain Disabled Veterans (Passed)
The amendment revises the 2010 amendment, which doubled the homestead exemption from $75,000 to $150,000 for disabled veterans, and says that if the surviving spouse of a deceased, disabled veteran occupies and remains the owner of the couple’s home, he or she can claim the higher homestead exemption whether or not it was in effect at the time the veteran died.
5. Forfeiture of Public Retirement Benefits for Convicted Public Servants (Passed)
The amendment requires any public servant, convicted of a felony associated with his or her office, to forfeit some or all of his public retirement benefits depending on what the courts to decide. Only the publicly-funded portion of a person’s retirement benefits will be affected and they only apply to those hired, rehired or elected on or after January 1, 2013.
6. Property Tax Exemption Authority for New Iberia (Did Not Pass)
The city of New Iberia will not be allowed to grant city property tax exemptions to any property owner annexed into the city after January 1, 2013.
7. Membership of Certain State Boards and Commissions (Passed)
After the 2010 Census, Louisiana lost one of its congressional districts, decreasing the number from seven to six. As a result, the membership selection process for these boards and commissions was no longer valid. The amendment reforms how members of these six boards are selected to align with the reduced districts and to ensure that each one is represented equally.
8. Property Tax Exemption for Non-Manufacturing Businesses (Passed)
The amendment gives a $10 million or 10 percent of fair market value tax exemption from local property taxes to certain non-manufacturing businesses, like distribution centers, data service centers, and corporate headquarters, in parishes that decide to take part in the program.
9. Crime Prevention and Security Districts (Passed)
The amendment increases the amount of public notice required for crime prevention and security district bills from two days to three for the area where the special district is to be located. Also, the amendment adds a requirement to say whether the crime prevention district’s governing authority could collect a parcel fee without an election and what the maximum amount of the fee would be.
-Information provided by The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana.