Louisiana voters approved three constitutional amendments

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, December 13, 2022

(The Center Square) — Louisiana voters approved three constitutional amendments and elected a new Public Service Commission member on Saturday.

Democrat Davante Lewis defeated three-term incumbent Democrat Lambert Boissiere III for the PSC seat in a runoff with 59 percent of the vote.

Voters approved Amendment 1 by 73.44 percent, with 314,678 votes in favor and 113,807 against.

The measure will include language in the state constitution that will require voters to be citizens of the United States to cast a ballot.

While Louisiana voters are already required to attest that they are citizens to register to vote, proponents contend the amendment will close a loophole that has allowed non-citizens to vote in local elections in other states.

“I am exceedingly pleased that the voters overwhelmingly supported Amendment 1. This vote sends a clear message that the radical election policies of places like San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, D.C. have no place in Louisiana,” said Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, who championed the measure. “I would also like to thank Representative Debbie Villio and Senator Beth Mizell for their support and for securing the passage of this amendment through the legislature earlier this year.”

Voters also approved Amendment 2 by 70.92 percent, with 300,635 votes for and 123,250 against.

The amendment will require Senate confirmation of gubernatorial appointments to the State Civil Service Commission. The governor appoints six of the board’s seven members, selected from a list of three nominees submitted by presidents of each major private university in Louisiana: Centenary College, Dillard University, Louisiana Christian University Loyola University, Tulane University and Xavier University.

The seventh commissioner is elected by the state’s classified employees.

Amendment 3, which would include the same Senate confirmation process for members of the State Police Commission, was also approved by 72.01 percent — 305,007 to 118,538. Gubernatorial appointments to the police commission followed the same process as the civil service commission, with six of the seven member board selected from nominees presented by private university presidents. The seventh member is elected by classified state police officers.

The change in amendments 2 and 3 will give senators the chance to question and review qualifications of the governor’s appointees, which proponents believe will allow more oversight from their elected representatives.

Passage of the two amendments will also align the commissions with the process for gubernatorial appointees to other important boards and high-level staff positions that require Senate confirmation.

The results on Saturday stand in contrast to the November election, when voters rejected five of eight proposed constitutional amendments.

Amendments that were approved last month include a property tax reduction for veterans with disabilities, allowing water districts and municipalities to reduce customer bills for damage outside of their control, and removing a requirement for disabled homeowners to annually certify their income for property tax breaks.