THE FORUM: Recapping the November Election

By: The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana

November 30, 2022

Beyond reelecting Louisiana’s congressional delegation in the Nov. 8 election, the state’s voters also decided the fate of eight constitutional amendments. They rejected five of the proposals and backed only three of those placed on the ballot by lawmakers.

The amendments passed by voters will:

  • Increase the property tax exemption for disabled veterans with a 100% service-connected disability or unemployability rating and expand the homestead exemption to cover more disabled veterans, on a sliding scale based on the level of disability. The tax break also will extend to their surviving spouses after the veteran’s death.
  • 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.
  • Remove the requirement that property owners who are permanently and totally disabled and their spouses annually certify that they meet certain income benchmarks to receive a property tax rate freeze. Instead, they’ll certify their income level only once to qualify for the freeze.

The spurned amendments that will not take effect would have:

  • Let the state increase to 65% the maximum amount of money in seven different trust funds that can be invested in equities on the stock market.
  • Allowed 51,000 state and local civil service workers to attend campaign events and appear in campaign advertisements and photographs for a candidate for public office if that candidate is an immediate family member.
  • Given local taxing bodies more time to decide if they want to “roll forward” millages that increase property taxes paid by businesses and homeowners.
  • Limited increases in the property tax liability of homes subject to homestead exemption in Orleans Parish by capping the reassessment increase to 10% of the residential property’s assessed value in the previous year.
  • Rewritten Louisiana’s constitutional ban on slavery and involuntary servitude, allowing their use only for the “lawful administration of criminal justice.” Instead, voters kept current language banning slavery and involuntary servitude, but allowing involuntary servitude as a “punishment for crime.” The sponsor of the amendment asked voters to oppose it because of conflicting interpretations about the language’s impact.

Voters statewide face more homework for the Dec. 10 ballot, with three additional amendments up for consideration. Those proposals would ban people who aren’t United States citizens from registering to vote or casting ballots in Louisiana elections and require state Senate confirmation of the governor’s appointees to the State Civil Service Commission and the State Police Commission.

The large number of amendments spread across the fall elections continues a pattern.

Since voters ratified the Louisiana Constitution in 1974, they have been asked to decide 305 amendments, a number growing to 308 with the proposals in the December election. So far, 206 changes have won approval from voters. To reach the ballot, an amendment must receive two-thirds support from both the House and Senate.

To learn more about the three proposals on the Dec. 10 ballot, check out PAR’s constitutional amendment guide online