Voters in Louisiana will decide on seven state constitutional amendments on the ballot this year.
Here’s a breakdown of the first two amendments. One is on the highly controversial topic of abortion. The other is on the foundation of Acadiana’s economy, oil and gas.
Let’s start with Amendment #1. It reads: “Do you support an amendment declaring that, to protect human life, a right to abortion and the funding of abortion shall not be found in the Louisiana constitution?”
“There’s nothing in the Louisiana constitution about abortion,” said Robert Scott of the Public Affairs Research council of Louisiana. “The people opposed to abortion want to make sure it’s never interpreted as ever having anything in it, such as the privacy provisions or the due process provisions, as the courts would interpret as a right to abortion.”
According to PAR, a vote in favor would make the constitution more specific, in that the language does not protect the right to abortion. A vote against would leave the constitution up to legal interpretation, neither defending or denying abortion arguments.
Amendment #2 reads: “Do you support an amendment to permit the presence or production of oil or gas to be included in the methodology used to determine the fair market value of an oil or gas well for the purpose of property assessment?”
This one is more technical. A vote for would allow for a well’s oil and gas production when valuing it for property tax assessment. A vote against would keep the current methods of oil and gas well assessment.
Currently, local assessors calculate the value of a well, short from bearing in mind the money if might churn out from the oil and gas it holds.
If the amendment passes, wells that process more would pay more in property taxes, while wells that process less would pay less.
PAR has put together a voters guide that explains each amendment, and presents arguments for and against. For a copy of the guide, click here.