Tuesday, 02 November 2010 18:29

Louisiana Elections: Ten Amendments Command No Attention

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jeffcrouere_150_200Once again, the people of Louisiana are going to the polls today to vote on a variety of important elections. It is difficult enough for voters to decide among a variety of candidates, but our legislators have made the process even more difficult. Thanks to the Louisiana Legislature, ten constitutional amendments have been crammed on the ballot.

As noted by political watchdog, C.B. Forgotston, none of the amendments deal with the real problems facing the state of Louisiana, such as the poor economy, the unfair tax structure or the crisis in higher education. The amendments do not address the budget crisis, the growing poverty rate or increasing unemployment. Not surprisingly, the amendments do not tackle coastal erosion, the most significant problem facing Louisiana. Instead the amendments deal with a variety of inconsequential issues.

Each amendment was approved by a two-thirds vote of the Louisiana Legislature. To become part of the state constitution, the voters must approve these amendments. Many of them may pass today, but I will be voting against all of the amendments except number one, which prevents immediate pay raises for elected officials.

The amendments are written in a language that is foreign to most Louisiana voters. As usual, the amendments were written by lawyers who are intending to confuse most voters. If voters are confused, they should not vote for an amendment for there may be unintended and harmful consequences.

It is typical of our legislators to foist on the people of Louisiana such mundane amendments wrapped in complex legal language. It is time that the legislature stopped amending the constitution and started to consider the idea of a constitutional convention. Our last constitutional convention was held in 1974 and obviously the document is outdated for 155 amendments have been passed by both the legislature and the people of Louisiana. On the other hand, maybe legislators should refrain from their desire to amend the constitution in the first place. As Forgotston observes, 223 amendments have been proposed by legislators since the constitution was passed.

The amendment frenzy occurs in almost every election and it is becoming a ridiculous exercise that needs to stop. It is offensive to the people of Louisiana to make them decipher a multitude of complex amendments in a span of only three minutes in the voting booth.

Many voters are typically forced to make uninformed decisions about issues they do not understand. It is time this amendment charade stopped and the Louisiana Legislature started to show the proper respect to their bosses, the people of this great state.

Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].

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