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PAR Releases “Guide to the Proposed Constitutional Amendments”

Click here for a copy of the report (with correction on page 3) .

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR) today released its “Guide to the Proposed Constitutional Amendments” for the November 4, 2008, ballot.

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

“The propositions on the ballot this year are a mix of simple and highly complex changes in legal matters most people don’t ever think about,” said Jim Brandt, president of PAR. “The ‘Guide’ puts these changes into plain language so voters can figure out how they would be affected.”

The amendments would:

  • Establish term limits for members of state boards and commissions;
  • Require two additional days of notice before calling a special legislative session;
  • Allow temporary successors to be appointed for legislators called to active military duty;
  • Redistribute severance tax revenue;
  • Allow the transfer of the special property tax assessment level for certain homeowners;
  • Change the requirements for public bodies to re-sell expropriated property; and
  • Authorize certain post-retirement benefit funds to be invested in stocks.

The “Guide” provides a 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.

Including the seven new proposals, Louisiana voters will have considered 221 amendments since the 1974 Constitution was adopted. To date, voters have approved 151 amendments.

The Constitution is considered the fundamental law of the state. Its purpose is to address the rights of the citizens and the authority of the government. The concept of the Constitution as a relatively permanent statement of basic law, however, fades with the adoption of each new amendment.

“In each case, voters should consider not only the merits of the amendment, but also whether the proposed language belongs in the Constitution,” Brandt said.

PAR members will receive a free copy of the “Guide to the Proposed Constitutional Amendments.” Others may order copies by writing PAR at P.O. Box 14776, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-4776 or by calling (225) 926-8414. The “Guide” may also be accessed on PAR’s Web site at www.la-par.org.

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