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2012 Constitutional Amendments PAR

2012 Constitutional Amendments PAR

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Published by RepNLandry
Independent, neutral analysis of the nine state constitutional amendments on the Louisiana November 6, 2012 ballot published by Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. (parlouisiana.org)
Independent, neutral analysis of the nine state constitutional amendments on the Louisiana November 6, 2012 ballot published by Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. (parlouisiana.org)

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Published by: RepNLandry on Sep 29, 2012
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An Independent, Non-Partisan Review
PAR Guide to the2012 ConstitutionalAmendments
September 2012 Publication 332 Available at www.parlouisiana.org
Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana
Louisiana voters will be asked to decide nine proposed amendments to theLouisiana Constitution on the Nov. 6 ballot. These proposals were approved by legislators during the 2012 Regular Session. Those receiving a majorityvote in the statewide election will be enacted.As required or passage o constitutional amendments, each bill received at least a two-thirds vote in the House o Rep-resentatives and in the Senate. The governor cannot vetoproposals or constitutional amendments.A constitution is supposed to be a state’s undamental lawthat contains the essential elements o government orga-nization, the basic principles o governmental powers andthe enumeration o citizen rights. A constitution is meantto have permanence. Statutory law, on the other hand,provides the details o government operation and is subjectto requent change by the Legislature.Typically, constitutional amendments are proposed to authorize new pro-grams, ensure that reorms are not easily undone by uture legislation orseek protections or special interests. Unortunately, as more detail is placedin the Constitution, more amendments may be required when conditionschange or problems arise with earlier provisions.Louisiana has a long history o requent constitutional changes. Too oten,amendments are drated or a specifc situation rather than setting a guidingprinciple and leaving the Legislature to fll in the details by statute. Specialinterests requently demand constitutional protection or avored programsto avoid uture legislative intererence, resulting in numerous revenuededications and trust und provisions. The concept o the Constitution asa relatively permanent statement o basic law ades with the adoption omany amendments.Through the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure, the Legislatureis supposed to make certain that each proposed amendment does, in act,need to be posed to voters. In other words, committee members look to seei the goal o each proposed amendment can be accomplished simply by pass-ing a law or whether it requires amending the Constitution. The Legislaturehas tried to make proposed amendments easier to understand by requiringthat the ballot language be written in a “clear, concise and unbiased” mannerand that it be phrased in the orm o a question.Voters must do their part as well. In order to develop inormed opinionsabout the proposed amendments, they must evaluate each one careully and
Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana
make a decision based on its merits. One important consideration shouldalways be whether the proposed language belongs in the Constitution. An-other should be whether they clearly understand what will happen i theproposed amendment is approved or rejected.Since its implementation in 1974, the Louisiana Constitution has beenamended 167 times.In addition to the proposed constitutional amendments, another questionwill appear on the Nov. 6 ballot or voters across Louisiana to decide. Underthe provisions o Act 386 (House Bill 292) by Rep. Steve Pugh, nearly everypublic school district in the state must ask voters whether they want toimpose term limits on their local school boards.This vote is not asking voters to change the Constitution and does not re-quire a statewide majority to pass. Term limits will become eective only inthose school districts where a majority o the vote is in avor o the proposal.Because this question appears on most ballots statewide, PAR is providing areview o it to urther public education about this signifcant decision.

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