By Nicole Tull
Kyle Ardoin was the scheduled speaker at the Republican meeting on October 20 at the RB4 event Center. He was ill so Rep. Larry Bagley stepped up to offer explanation for the constitutional amendments for the upcoming elections.
The following is a guide to help understand what the amendments mean. These amendments are on the upcoming election on November 8. If you need further explanation or assistance with these amendments, you can contact Rep. Larry Bagley’s office or the registrar of voters.
Amendment 1 – Larger stock investment for trust funds. A vote for would let the state increase to 65% the maximum amount of money in seven different trust funds that can be invest in equities on the stock market. A vote against would keep tighter limits in place on the percentage of the trust funds’ money that can be invested in the stock market, with some unable to be invested in equities at all.
Amendments 2 – Property tax exemption for veterans with disabilities. A vote for would increase the property tax exemption available to veterans with service-related disabilities and to the surviving spouses after the veteran’s death. A vote against would maintain the current level of property tax exemption.
Amendment 3 – Political activity for civil service workers when family members run for office. A vote for would allow most of Louisiana’s civil service employees to support certain campaign activities of a candidate for public office when that candidate is an immediate family member. A vote against would continue the current prohibition.
Amendment 4 – waiving charges for water use if infrastructure damaged. A vote for would let local water districts, municipalities or other political subdivisions reduce customer bills for water use if the charges stem from water lost due to damage outside a customer’s control. A vote against would keep local water districts, municipalities or other political subdivisions from lowering bills or waiving customer charges for water use in almost all circumstances.
Amendment 5 – Local authority over property tax rates. A vote for would give local taxing bodies more time to decide if they want to “roll forward” millages that increase property taxes paid by businesses and homeowners. A vote against would keep the rules governing millage “roll forwards” the same, giving local taxing bodies until the next property reappraisals to make the decision.
Amendment 6 – Property tax assessment increases in Orleans Parish. A vote for would limit increases in the property tax liability of homes subject to homestead exemption in Orleans Parish, capping the reassessment increase to 10% of the residential property’s assessed value in the previous year. A vote against would continue the current system, which requires a four-year phase-in of tax liability for homes subject to the homestead exemption when a reappraisal increases assessments by more than 50%.
Amendment 7 – Limits on involuntary servitude. A vote for would rework the state constitutional ban on slavery and involuntary servitude, allowing their use only for the “lawful administration of criminal justice”. A vote against would keep the state’s current constitutional language banning slavery and involuntary servitude but allowing involuntary servitude as a “punishment for crime.”
Amendment 8 – Property tax assessments for certain people with disabilities. A vote for would remove the requirement that certain property owners with disabilities annually certify their income to receive property tax rate freeze. A vote against would continue the annual income certification required for certain property owners with disabilities to receive a property tax rate freeze.