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This week in politics: Understanding the proposed constitutional amendments, early voting

A view of the Mississippi River and downtown Baton Rouge from the Louisiana State Capitol’s observation deck on Nov. 12, 2021.
Aubry Procell
A view of the Mississippi River and downtown Baton Rouge from the Louisiana State Capitol’s observation deck on Nov. 12, 2021.

Every Friday, politics reporter Molly Ryan rounds up the news of the week from the campaign trail and beyond. 

Four constitutional amendments on the ballot in November

In addition to voting for statewide and local officials, Louisiana voters will decide the fate of four constitutional amendments at the polls between now and Nov. 18.

Last month, four other constitutional amendments on the primary ballot passed with a majority of the vote. The amendments that will appear on November's general election ballot address separate issues.

The Public Affairs Research Council, a nonpartisan public policy group, has published a guide to the constitutional amendments. Voters can also browse a one-page version — or check out a quick summary of the guide on our website.

The first proposed amendment deals with deadlines for the governor to veto bills and rules for veto sessions, in which the Legislature has a five-day period to override vetoes from the governor.

The second amendment would remove six inactive funds from the state constitution. Five of those funds contain no money. One fund, the Louisiana Investment Fund for Enhancement (LIFE), has $604 in it, according to the Public Affairs Research Council. If the amendment passes, that money would be moved to the state general fund for lawmakers to use as they choose.

The third proposed amendment would give local authorities the power to approve an additional property tax exemption of up to $25,000 for certain first responders on top of the property tax exemption that most Louisianans receive on the first $75,000 of the home they live in, also known as the homestead exemption.

The fourth proposed amendment adds some restrictions to how lawmakers can access and use money from a state savings account known as the Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund.

Want to vote early in the general election? Polls will be open for (most of) the next 7 days

Early voting in the general election begins today — Friday, Nov. 3 — and lasts for a through next Saturday, Nov. 11.

Polls will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day of early voting — but they’ll be closed on Sunday, Nov. 5, and on Friday, Nov. 10 for Veterans Day.

Louisianans don’t need a reason to vote early — any registered voter can do so. But voters should check the Secretary of State’s website for their designated early polling place, which is often different from regular polling locations.

In addition to the four constitutional amendments, here’s what's on the general election ballot:

  • Statewide: Secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general
  • Locally: The specific races vary by location, but many voters will see state representatives, sheriffs, school board members, clerks and other public officials on the ballot

In each statewide race, there is one Republican and one Democrat vying for the seat. WRKF and WWNO will be airing conversations with each of those candidates on Louisiana Considered, between now and election day. This week, host Bob Pavlovich spoke with attorney general candidates Republican Liz Murrill and Democrat Lindsey Cheek.

Politics news from across the state

Not just Jeff Landry. Louisiana Legislature will also take a hard turn to the right.Louisiana Illuminator, Baton Rouge

Democrats have been losing power in the state Legislature for many years as they lose seats in elections and as Democratic lawmakers have switched to the Republican Party. With a Republican Gov.-elect Jeff Landry set to take office and Republicans poised to maintain a supermajority in the Legislature, this already red-state is expected to shift even further to the right.

Next application round for Louisiana’s $10,000 roof grants opens Monday — Louisiana Illuminator, Baton Rouge

Applications for the third round of funding for the Louisiana Fortify Homes Program — a state-funded program that gives homeowners up to $10,000 to replace or strengthen their roofs — open on Monday, Nov. 6. Most homeowners are eligible to receive the grants, which are issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

Jeff Landry makes New Orleans and early focus: ‘We want it to operate like…Charleston’The Advocate, Baton Rouge

As part of his transition, Republican Gov.-elect Jeff Landry announced 14 advisory councils on Tuesday that will advise Landry on issues like crime, education and coastal restoration. One of the councils will focus on the city of New Orleans. It is unclear exactly what this committee seeks to do, but Landry’s history of clashing with Democratic leaders in New Orleans has raised questions about the committee’s intent.

Every Friday afternoon, politics reporter Molly Ryan brings listeners election and politics updates live on the Capitol Access segment of All Things Considered on WWNO and WRKF.

Molly Ryan is a political reporter and covers state politics from the Louisiana Capitol.

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