Ritchie speaks on proposed amendments

Published 8:12 am Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On Tuesday, Louisiana Rep. Harold Ritchie visited the Rotary Club of Bogalusa to talk about the various constitutional amendments voters will decide on in the Nov. 4 election.

Early voting began on Oct. 21 and will continue through Oct. 28. Times are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Sunday.

“We changed the constitution back in 1974,” said Ritchie.

He noted that around 175 amendments have been passed since that time.

“We put a lot of stuff in the constitution that really should be straight statutes,” said Ritchie, adding, “It’s a lot harder to change a constitutional amendment.”

Below are the 12 constitutional amendments Washington Parish voters will see on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot in the order in which they will appear. Two other amendments pertain to Orleans Parish voters.

Amendment No. 1

Do you support an amendment to authorize the legislature to create the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund, for the payment of Medicaid reimbursement to the health care provider groups paying fees into the fund?

Amendment No. 2

Do you support an amendment to create the Hospital Stabilization Fund to stabilize and protect Medicaid reimbursements for health care services by depositing assessments paid by hospitals, as authorized by the Legislature, into a fund to support Louisiana hospital reimbursement?

Amendment No. 3

Do you support an amendment allowing an authorized agent of a tax collector to assist in the tax sale process, including the sale of property for delinquent taxes and that the fee charged by the authorized agent be included within the costs that the collector can recover in the tax sale?

Amendment No. 4

Do you support an amendment to authorize the investment of public funds to capitalize a state infrastructure bank and the loan, pledge, guarantee or donation of public funds by a state infrastructure bank for eligible transportation projects?

Proposed Amendment No. 5

Do you support an amendment to remove the constitutional requirement that a judge retire upon attaining the age of 70 or, if his 70th birthday occurs during his term, that he retire upon completion of that term?

Proposed Amendment No. 7

Do you support an amendment to provide that the homesteads of veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 100 percent unemployability or totally disabled by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and their surviving spouses, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation for up to $150,000, and that a parishwide vote shall not be required to implement this change in qualification for the exemption?

Proposed Amendment No. 8

Do you support an amendment to establish the Artificial Reef Development Fund in the state treasury by depositing into the fund monies that have been received by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in the form of grants, donations or other assistance to provide funding for programs dedicated to managing an artificial reef system, the wild seafood certification program and inshore fisheries habitat enhancement projects?

Proposed Amendment No. 9

Do you support an amendment to exclude owners who are permanently totally disabled from the requirement that they annually certify to the assessor the amount of their adjusted gross income in order to receive the Special Assessment Level on their residences for property tax purposes?

Proposed Amendment No. 10

Do you support an amendment providing for an 18-month redemption period in any parish other than Orleans, for vacant property sold at tax sale which is blighted or abandoned?

Proposed Amendment No. 11

Do you support an amendment to change the maximum number of departments in the executive branch of state government from 20 to 21?

Proposed Amendment No. 12

Do you support an amendment to require that two members of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission be electors from parishes located north of the parishes of Beauregard, Allen, Evangeline, Avoyelles and Pointe Coupee?

Proposed Amendment No. 14

Do you support an amendment to provide that legislation relative to tax rebates, tax incentives and tax abatements may not be introduced or considered by the legislature in a regular session held in an even-numbered year?