September 30 Vote - State Amendments
NOLA.com has a sample ballot for the election tomorrow, however, I found some of the Amendment descriptions a little vague. Below are the Amendments as listed on NOLA.com but I have also provided a more detailed description of them at the bottom:
Amendment No. 1: Change the name of the Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund and deposit federal revenue from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas.
Amendment No. 2: Require 20 percent of the proceeds from any future sale of the state's tobacco settlement to be deposited in the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund
Amendment No. 3: Authorize the Legislature to establish regional flood control authorities and create two authorities in southeast Louisiana.
Amendment No. 4: Reduce the level of compensation paid by the government for taking or damaging private property for hurricane protection projects.
Amendment No. 5: Place restrictions on the taking of private property for some economic development projects.
Amendment No. 6: Prohibit, except in limited instances, the transfer or lease of property expropriated by the state or its political subdivisions to any person without first offering the property to the original owner.
Amendment No. 7: Authorize the state to invest up to 35 percent of the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly in stocks.
Amendment No. 8: Allow people who cannot reoccupy their homes because of a governor-declared disaster to keep their homestead exemption and special assessments.
Amendment No. 9: Prohibit some state mandates to increase local school spending unless passed by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or accompanied by financing or a revenue source.
Amendment No. 10: Allow public or private colleges and universities to invest up to 35 percent of state-financed permanently endowed funds in stocks.
Amendment No. 11: Extend the homestead exemption to property placed in a revocable trust by a person who continues to occupy the home.
Amendment No. 12: Require an election if there is a vacancy in the office of the lieutenant governor and more than a year remains in term. Also, require a special election, if necessary, to fill vacancies in statewide elective offices.
Amendment No. 13: Require judicial candidates to have been admitted to the practice of law for eight or 10 years, depending on the court, and reside in their districts for one year prior to qualifying for election.
DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF THE AMENDMENTS
CA No. 1 – Act 69 (2005 1st Extra Session)
To change the name from the Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund; to provide that the eligible federal revenues received by the state generated from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activity shall be credited to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund and used only for purposes of coastal wetlands conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane protection, and infrastructure directly impacted by coastal wetland losses.
(Amends Article VII, Sections 10(D)(2)(e), 10.2, and 10.5(B) and (C))
This changes the name of the fund to shift the focus from wetlands only to the entire coast and dedicates all federal revenues from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activities to coastal restoration and hurricane protection.
CA No. 2 – Act 854 (2006 Regular Session)
Requires twenty percent of the proceeds of tobacco settlement to be deposited in the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund, with a portion to be used for barrier island stabilization and preservation, and repeals the Louisiana Coastal Restoration Fund.
(Adds Article VII, Section 10.2(F); Repeals Article VII, Section 10.11)
This amendment would combine the now empty Louisiana Coastal Restoration Fund with the aforementioned Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund (or Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund should amendment 1 pass) along with monies from any future sale of the remaining 40% of the tobacco settlement.
CA No. 3 – Act 43 (2006 1st Extra Session)
To authorize the legislature to establish regional flood protection authorities and provide for its governing authority, powers, duties, and functions, for the governing authority of levee districts within the territorial jurisdiction of the regional authority, and authorizing ad valorem taxes subject to voter approval.
(Amends Article VI, Sections 38(A)(1) and 39 and adds Article VI, Section 38.1)
This amendment would reduce the number of levee boards located primarily in southeast Louisiana to less than 20, its current number.
CA No. 4 – Act 853 (2006 Regular Session)
To provide that compensation paid for the taking of, or loss or damage to, property rights affected by the construction, enlargement, improvement, or modification of hurricane protection projects, including mitigation related thereto, shall be limited to the compensation required by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution; to provide an exception for the taking of buildings or structures destroyed or damaged by an event for which a presidential declaration of major disaster or emergency was issued, if the taking occurs within three years of such event; and to authorize the legislature by law to provide procedures and definitions for these requirements.
(Amends Article VI, Section 42(A); Adds Article I, Section 4(G))
This is a case of closing the barn door after the cattle have left. Besides, it gives too much power to government, pays private landowners less. I understand this was based on one extreme case and seems like a knee-jerk reaction, treats landowners differently, fails to consider issues such as relocation costs and is overly vague.
CA No. 5 – Act 851 (2006 Regular Session)
To prohibit the expropriation of property by the state or a political subdivision of the state for predominant use by or transfer to a private person or entity under certain circumstances; to define “public purposes” relative to the expropriation of property; to provide exceptions for the operation of public ports and airports and for the expropriation of property for industrial development purposes; and to provide for items included in just compensation to be paid to the owner of the expropriated property.
(Amends Article I, Section 4(B) and Article VI, Section 21(A); Adds Article VI, Section 21(D))
Part political window-dressing/part blank check given to the government, this amendment has loopholes big enough to drive several casinos through.
CA No. 6 – Act 859 (2006 Regular Session)
To prohibit, except in limited instances, the transfer or lease of property expropriated by the state or its political subdivisions to any person without first offering the property to the original owner; to provide that unused expropriated property be declared surplus property to be first offered to the original owner prior to sale to the general public by competitive bid.
(Adds Article I, Section 4(G))
CA No. 7 – Act 857 (2006 Regular Session)
To authorize the investment in equities of up to thirty-five percent of the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly.
(Amends Article VII, Section 14(B))
This would authorize (not mandate!) the state to invest up to 35% of the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly in the stock market, something the state can already do with similar funds like 8(g) funds, wildlife trust funds and the Millennium Trust Fund.
CA No. 8 – Act 70 (2005 1st Extra Session)
To authorize the continuation of the homestead exemption and the special assessment level where the homestead has been destroyed or is uninhabitable due to a declared disaster or emergency.
(Adds Article VII, Sections 18(G)(5) and 20(A)(10))
This amendment extends the homestead exemption to persons unable to inhabit their homes while rebuilding after an emergency or disaster.
CA No. 9 – Act 855 (2006 Regular Session)
To provide that no law, unless enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house of the legislature, requiring increased expenditures for any purpose shall be applicable to any city, parish, or other local public school board until approved by school board resolution or until, and as long as, the legislature appropriates funds to the school board for the purpose and only to the extent and amount of such funds or until a law provides for a local source of revenue to the school board for the purpose and the school board is authorized to levy and collect such revenue and only to the extent and amount of such revenue; and to provide for exceptions to such prohibition on increasing the financial burden of city, parish, and other local public school boards.
(Amends Article VI, Section 14)
Intended to eliminate unfunded mandates.
CA No. 10 – Act 856 (2006 Regular Session)
To authorize the investment in stocks of up to thirty-five percent of the state-funded permanently endowed funds of public or private colleges and universities.
(Amends Article VII, Section 14(B))
This would authorize the investment of up to 35% of endowed university funds in the stock market.
CA No. 11 – Act 852 (2006 Regular Session)
To extend the homestead exemption to property owned by a revocable trust, in addition to the existing application to property owned by an irrevocable trust.
(Amends Article VII, Section 20(A)(3) and (5))
The law was changed in 2004 to allow for parents who had transferred their homes into irrevocable trusts for their children but continued to live in their homes. Now those with revocable trusts want in, too, though there are limited cases.
CA No. 12 – Act 858 (2006 Regular Session)
To provide for the filling of vacancies in the lieutenant governor’s office and other statewide elective offices; to provide that if more than one year remains in the term, the person nominated by the governor and confirmed by the legislature to serve as lieutenant governor or the first assistant in other statewide elected offices, shall fill the vacancy only until the office can be filled at the next regular statewide or congressional election or until the governor is required to call a special election.
(Amends Article IV, Sections 15 and 16)
In a nutshell, this amendment makes the procedure for filling vacancies uniform across all the statewide elected offices.
CA No. 13 – Act 860 (2006 Regular Session)
To provide that a person shall have been admitted to the practice of law for ten years preceding election to the supreme court or a court of appeals and for eight years preceding election to a district court, family court, parish court, or court having solely juvenile jurisdiction; and to decrease the requirement that a person be domiciled in the respective district, circuit, or parish from two years to one year preceding election. Effective January 1, 2008, and applicable to any person who is elected to the office of judge on and after January 1, 2008.
(Amends Article V, Section 24)
This amendment will raise the qualifications required of all of our judges except city and municipal courts or justices of the peace.