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PAR Releases “Guide to the Constitutional Amendments”

Click here to download a copy of the “Guide.”
The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR) today released its “Guide to the Constitutional Amendments” for the ballot on Nov. 2, 2010.

The “Guide” explains the potential impact of the 10 amendments that the public will consider in the November election. This neutral analysis of each amendment will help voters develop their own positions on the propositions.

“On the heels of the election this past weekend, voters are challenged to get up to speed quickly on another set of amendments for the November election. This group of 10 proposals ranges from the mundane to the arcane and addresses issues that most voters probably never have considered,” said Jim Brandt, president of PAR. “It’s a heavy ballot, and I would encourage everyone to start early trying to make sense of it.”

The topics on the Nov. 2 ballot include property taxes, property rights, severance taxes, elected officials’ pay, public pension benefits, workers’ compensation claims and criminal trial procedure. The PAR “Guide” provides background for each amendment, describes the current situation regarding the issues and provides a commentary on each proposed change. Arguments of proponents and opponents also are provided.

“There is no way to develop an informed position while standing in the ballot box for this long list of proposals. If people aren’t prepared with their answers in advance, they likely won’t even vote on most of the questions,” Brandt said.

Even in high turnout elections like the November election is expected to be, it is often the case that many voters casting ballots fail to vote on some or all of the amendment proposals. Over the life of the current Constitution, the percentage of registered voters who have voted on proposed amendments has ranged from a low of 18 percent to a high of 55 percent. Thus a proposed amendment has never needed the support of more than 28 percent of the registered voters, and as few as 9 percent, to pass.

Voters approved two amendments in the election held this past Saturday. Louisiana voters have considered 223 amendments and approved 155 of them since the 1974 Constitution was adopted.

PAR’s “Guide to the Constitutional Amendments” is available for free download on PAR’s Web site at www.la-par.org. The Web site also has a complete listing and explanation of all amendments that have been proposed and adopted since 1974.

The Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) is a private, nonprofit, non-partisan public policy research organization focused on pointing the way toward a more efficient, effective, transparent and accountable Louisiana government. PAR was founded in 1950 and is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations. PAR has never accepted state government funds.

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