Editorial: Reviewing the nine Louisiana Constitutional Amendments (with local ballots)

Odds are that voters in Calcasieu Parish have already determined who they will cast their ballot for today in the presidential

and Third District Congressional races.

The nine Louisiana Constitutional Amendments may be a different matter.

Judging from the phone calls the paper has received seeking guidance on the amendments, the American Press has decided to

review its recommendations on the amendments that will be on ballots statewide:

• No. 1 — Would constitutionally protect the Medicaid Trust Fund. We

believe that there are already too many funds protected

in the Constitution, which invariably lead to cuts to health care

and higher education when the state faces budget crunches.

Hence, we recommend a No vote.

• No. 2 — Would require that any laws restricting the right to keep and

bear arms be subject to strict scrutiny, the highest

level of judicial review. We believe that the state Constitution

laws regarding Second Amendment rights are more than adequate.

Hence, we recommend a No vote.

• No. 3 — Would require earlier notice on bills that are filed affecting

the state’s public retirement system. We believe that,

because of the importance of retirement bills for state public

employees, setting earlier deadlines for those bills is a worthy

endeavor. Hence, we recommend a Yes vote.

• No. 4 — Would allow a spouse of a deceased veteran who had a 100

percent service-related disability rating to claim a higher

homestead exemption even if the exemption was not in effect when

the veteran died. We believe this benefit should be extended

to the widow of such qualifying disable veterans. Hence, we

recommend a Yes vote.

• No. 5 — Would allow courts to include forfeiture of a portion of a

public retirement benefit as part of a sentence for a

public servant convicted of a felony related to his or her office.

We believe this is a further deterrent for public servants

to avoid corruption. Hence, we recommend a Yes vote.

• No. 6 — Would allow New Iberia to grant city property tax exemptions to any property owner annexed into the city after Jan.

1. 2013. We believe such a narrow proposal has no business in the state Constitution. Hence, we recommend a No vote.

• No. 7 — Would adjust the membership of certain boards and commissions

to reflect the loss of one congressional district as

a result of the 2010 census. We believe this housekeeping measure

is necessary to align the representation with the new six

districts. Hence, we recommend a Yes vote.

• No. 8 — Would allow parishes to permit a local 10-year property tax

exemption for certain non-manufacturing businesses locating

or expanding in the parish. We believe that this is another

necessary tool to compete with other states in enticing businesses

to locate in Louisiana. Hence, we recommend a Yes vote.

• No. 9 — Would require an increase in the number of times that bills to

create crime prevention or security districts must

be advertised and require the specifics of the bills to be listed

the advertisement. We believe that additional public notice

is good in practically every situation. Hence, we recommend a Yes

vote.

Additionally, voters in each parish will also decide the fate of a proposal that would limit school board members to serving

three four-year consecutive terms beginning after Jan. 1, 2014. We believe this proposal would result in more turnover on

school boards and, as a result, more diversity of thought and fresh approaches. Hence, we recommend a Yes vote.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney,

Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

2012 Ballot