Louisiana Constitution

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Louisiana Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIV
The Louisiana Constitution is the fundamental governing document of the state of Louisiana.

Features

The Louisiana Constitution includes 14 articles that define the rights of individuals, describe the distribution and power of state officials and local government and establish the state and city civil service systems.[1]

The state's current constitution, its ninth version, was adopted by constitutional convention in 1974. It was ratified by the voters of Louisiana on April 20, 1974 and became effective on January 1, 1975.[2]

Preamble

Main article: Preambles to state constitutions

The preamble to the Louisiana Constitution states:

We, the people of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political, economic, and religious liberties we enjoy, and desiring to protect individual rights to life, liberty, and property; afford opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; assure equality of rights; promote the health, safety, education, and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; ensure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and justice to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.[1]

Article I

Article I of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Declaration of Rights" for the citizens of Louisiana and consists of 27 sections.

Article II

Article II of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Distribution of Powers" and consists of two sections. This article details the distribution of governmental powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

Article III

Article III of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Legislative Branch" and consists of twenty sections. This article establishes the state legislature as the law-making body of the government.

Article IV

Article IV of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Executive Branch" and consists of 21 sections. This article establishes the executive department and lists the duties of the Louisiana Governor.

Article V

Article V of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Judicial Branch" and consists of 34 sections. This article establishes the system of courts and the judicial department.

Article VI

Article VI of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Local Government" and consists of 44 sections.

Article VII

Article VII of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Revenue and Finance and consists of 42 sections. This article details the state's revenue and finance system, taxation, and exemptions.

Article VIII

Article VIII of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Education" and consists of 17 sections, as well as a preamble. This article details the foundation of the public school system of Louisiana.

Article IX

Article IX of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Natural Resources" and it consists of 10 sections. This article concerns the use and preservation of natural resources in Louisiana.

Article X

Article X of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Public Officials and Employees" and consists of 43 sections. This article is concerned with public officials and employees.

Article XI

Article XI of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Elections" and consists of five sections. This article details the election process as well as voter eligibility.

Article XII

Article XII of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "General Provisions" and consists of 16 sections.

Article XIII

Article XIII of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Constitutional Revision." It has three sections that defines the process of how the constitution can be amended and revised over time.

Article XIV

Article XIV of the Louisiana Constitution is entitled "Transitional Provisions." It is divided into three parts and further subdivided into 37 sections. This article details the transitional schedule, which was designed to ease the transition from territory to state.

Amending the constitution

See also: Amending state constitutions

Article XIII, Louisiana Constitution lays out two ways to amend or revise the Louisiana Constitution:

If two-thirds of the members of both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature vote in the affirmative, a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment can be placed on a statewide ballot. If approved by a simple majority, it becomes part of the constitution in twenty days, unless the amendment itself has a different date that it will become effective.

  • Amendments to the constitution can be proposed that directly affect voters in just part of the state. If an amendment affects five or fewer parishes it has to be approved by a majority statewide vote and by a majority vote in the parishes it affects. The same thing is true for an amendment that affects five or fewer municipalities in the state.
  • Resolutions of the state legislature authorizing a proposed amendment to be placed on the ballot for voter ratification must specify an election. The legislature can decree a special election for this purpose.
  • Proposed amendments must cover just one subject with the exception that the legislature is allowed to put an amendment on the ballot that, if approved, would alter or revise one full article of the constitution. In the case of such an amendment, it can cover multiple subjects.

Two-thirds of the members of both houses can call for a constitutional convention. The results of such a convention have to go before the state's voters for ratification. Unlike most other states that allow for constitutional conventions, the Louisiana legislature can directly order up a convention without having to submit the question of whether or not to hold one to the state's voters.

History

Louisiana's current constitution, the version adopted in 1974, is its ninth constitution. The previous versions were adopted in 1812, 1845, 1852, 1864, 1868, 1879, 1898 and 1921. In 1913, a constitutional convention in the state adopted a re-codification of the constitution of 1898. The re-codification was not submitted to the state's voters for ratification, and some observers do not therefore count it as a new constitution.[2]

See also

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External links

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Additional reading

References