Constitutional Amendments Protect Gun Laws and Take Retirement Funds from Felons

They may not have the sex appeal of the bigger races, but Louisianans voted Tuesday on nine constitutional amendments, some of which could have far-reaching impact.  A hot topic at the polls?  The three minute time limit voters had to cast their ballots.  The amendments can be complicated and difficult to understand, especially one of the most contentious, the right to keep and bear arms.

That amendment passed…making gun laws subject to the highest level of judicial review or something called strict scrutiny.  It's an interesting amendment, with gun rights advocates split on whether they were for or against it.  The National Rifle Association supported the amendment, saying it would protect our gun rights.  However the organization Gun Owners of America was against it, arguing that opening gun laws to judicial review could open the door to even stricter restrictions.  Political analyst Jeff Crouere says, "Gun rights advocates, most of them, believe that this would be a solid protection for folks here in Louisiana.  On the other side, law enforcement is concerned because they feel this might actually increase crime and give criminals more opportunity to have weapons."  Those opponents say it'll now be more difficult to regulate concealed weapons in places like college campuses and government buildings.

Another contentious amendment was number one, which also passed, prohibiting the governor from using our Medicaid trust fund for the elderly to help balance the state budget.  The fund helps cover the costs of nursing home or primary care, however, much of the money comes from the federal government, which specifies how it has to be spent so the state generally leaves it alone anyway.

The last hot-button amendment was number five, which targets elected officials and state workers.  If those public servants are convicted of a felony, the amendment which passed, now gives courts the ability to take away their retirement benefits.  It's a change that could potentially cause crooked officials to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Amendment 1- Medicaid Trust Fund, PASSED

Amendment 2- Right to keep and bear arms, PASSED

Amendment 3- Prefiling DL for retirement/public employees, PASSED

Amendment 4- Surviving spouses/deceased veterans homestead, PASSED

Amendment 5- Forfeiture of retirement benefits, PASSED

Amendment 6- Property tax exemption for New Iberia, FAILED

Amendment 7- Membership of certain state boards and commissions, PASSED

Amendment 8- Property tax exemption for non-manufacturing businesses, PASSED

Amendment 9- Crime prevention and security districts, PASSED

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