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The LABI Board met on September 8, 2006 and
took positions on the following proposed
Constitutional Amendments:

 

On the September 30, 2006 Ballot

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT NO.  1
WETLANDS CONSERVATION

Act 69 of the 2005 First Extraordinary Session; SB 27 by Sen. Dupre’

Changes the name from the Wetlands Conservation & Restoration Fund to the Coastal Protection & Restoration Fund; provides that the eligible federal revenues received by the state generated from Outer Continental Shelf oil & gas activity shall be credited to the Coastal Protection & Restoration Fund and used only for purposes of coastal wetlands conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane protection, and infrastructure directly impacted by coastal wetland losses.

Though there are no guarantees that the state will receive any new federal revenues, it would serve the state well to earmark any potential resources for coastal wetlands reparations and to tie up those federal dollars to assure that they are not simply used as state general fund revenues.
LABI Position: Support
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PROPOSED AMENDMENT NO. 3
LEVEE DISTRICTS

Act 43 of the 2006 First Extraordinary Session; SB 9 by Sen. Boasso

To authorize the legislature to establish regional flood protection authorities and provide for its governing authority, powers, duties, and functions, to provide for the governing authority of levee districts within the territorial jurisdiction of the regional authority, and authorizing ad valorem taxes subject to voter approval.
Authorizes the regional flood protection authority to levy a property tax on all property not exempt from taxation situated within jurisdiction of the authority, subject to majority approval by every affected parish.  Does not allow any regional flood protection authority or levee district created on or after January 1, 2006 to levy any property tax without voter approval.  (Current levee districts have the authority to levy up to either 2.5 mils (Orleans Parish only) or 5 mils without a vote of the people.)
This amendment is necessary in order for the levee board reforms which LABI supported to take effect.
LABI Position: Support
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PROPOSED AMENDMENT NO. 10
UNIVERSITIES INVEST IN STOCKS

Act 856 of the 2006 Regular Session; HB 345 by Rep. Cazayoux
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).)

The present Constitution prohibits the purchase by the state of stock of a corporation or association or any private enterprise, unless the purchase of stock is specifically authorized in the constitution.  This proposed constitutional amendment provides an exception from the prohibition against purchasing stock for the investment of a portion of the endowed funds of a public college or university, not to exceed 35 percent of the public funds endowed.

Passage of this amendment will allow post-secondary institutions to increase the amount of money earned on their investments, aiding faculty recruitment and retention.

LABI Position: Support

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PROPOSED AMENDMENT NO. 13
JUDGES’ QUALIFICATIONS

Act 860 of the 2006 Regular Session; HB 13 by Rep. Greene
To require that judicial candidates 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.  (AMENDS Article V, Section 24.)

The current Constitution establishes minimum qualifications and residency requirements for state judges.  All candidates for state supreme court, court of appeals, district court, family court, parish court and juvenile court judgeships must have been admitted to practice law in Louisiana for at least five years prior to election.  Additionally, these candidates must be domiciled in their respective districts for at least two years prior to election.

LABI Position: Support

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On the November 7, 2006 Ballot

PROPOSED AMENDMENT NO. 7
LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONSOLIDATION
IN NEW ORLEANS

Act 863 of the 2006 Regular Session; SB 141 by Sen. Duplessis
To provide for a single tax assessor in Orleans Parish to be elected at the same time as the municipal officers of New Orleans. (AMENDS Article VII, Section 24.)

This is a first step toward reforming New Orleans’ seven-assessor system.  The proposed amendment would not take effect until 2010.

LABI Position: Support

 

 

September 2006