Laws governing local ballot measures in Louisiana

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Laws Governing Local Ballot Measures

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Louisiana Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIV
Some Louisiana local governments have an initiative process for local ballot measures. This article sets out the laws governing local ballot measures in Louisiana. It explains:
  • Which local units of government make the initiative process available to residents.
  • How and whether local units of government, including school districts, can refer local ballot measures (such as school bond propositions) to the ballot.
  • An overview of laws governing local recall elections.

Types of local government

Local government in Louisiana consists of:

  • Parishes: Parishes are Louisiana's equivalent to counties in most states. Parishes can have various forms of governments including police jury, parish commission, and consolidated parish/city. These divisions have different sub-types and different rules for petition and establishment.[1]
  • Cities: Any municipality that has a population of 5,000 or more is a city.
  • Towns: Any municipality that has a population of less than 5,000 but more than 1,000 is a town.
  • Villages: Any municipality that has a population of less than 1,000 is a village. These divisions are made in Louisiana Statutes RS 33:341.[2]
  • In addition, there are 97 special districts and 69 independent school districts.[3]

State Statutes establish the right and the process for all Counties and all municipalities to request and adopt a Home Rule Charter.[4]

School districts

See also: School bond and tax elections in Louisiana

Louisiana requires ballot propositions for elections that involve bond issues, special school taxes, and retailing consumption taxes to fund education. All of Louisiana's requirements for ballot propositions involving bond issues, special school, and retailing consumption taxes are protected in the Louisiana Constitution. Louisiana is very restrictive on when school districts can place ballot propositions and the allowable dates depend on the year of the election.

Local recall

The citizens of Louisiana are granted the authority to perform a recall election by the Section 26 of Article 10 of the Louisiana Constitution.

Louisiana is one of nine states with provisions that say that the right of recall extends to recalling members of its federal congressional delegation, but it hasn't been clear whether federal courts would allow states to actually recall their federal politicians.[5]

For additional detail see: Laws governing recall in Louisiana

Initiative process availability

  • The power and process of petitioning for the amendment of charters is mandated by State Law for all 23 Home rule counties and all 31 Home rule cities, towns, and villages.
  • Approximately 15 charted counties out the 23 total had explicit provisions for initiative and referendum for ordinances in their charters.
  • Approximately 15 charted cities, towns and villages out of the 31 total had explicit provisions for initiative and referendum for ordinances in their charters.[6]
Ballot Law Portal
Laws Governing Ballot Measures

Authority

Constitution

There is no mention of Initiative and Referendum powers for ordinances in the State Constitution, but some local governments reserve that power in their charters.

Statutes

There is no mention of Initiative and Referendum powers for ordinances in the State Statutes, but home rule charters of some local governments do reserve that power.

Initiative process features

A guide to local ballot initiatives
Local Ballot Initiatives cover.jpg

Counties: There are 64 parishes in Louisiana. 41 of them are general law parishes and 23 have home rule charters.[6]

Municipalities. There are 303 municipalities in Louisiana. 272 of them are general law cities, towns or villages. 31 have home rule charters.

Initiative and Referendum for Ordinance

  • Counties: Of the 23 counties that have home rule charters 6 counties were sampled and 4 of the 6 had initiative and referendum for ordinances explicitly in their charters. All of those had restrictions about taxes, appropriation of money and salaries of officials. The number of signatures required for a petition was generally 10%.[9][6]
  • Municipalities: Of the 31 charter municipalities, 10 were sampled and 5 out of the 10 had initiative and referendum powers for ordinances explicitly in their charters. 4 of these 5 had restrictions on the use of initiative and referendum for taxes, appropriating money, and salaries of elected officials. The number of signatures required for the petition was generally 10%.[4][6]
Local I&R Laws in the 50 States
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Source:Local Ballot Initiatives: How citizens change laws with
clipboards, conversations, and campaigns

Initiative process in the top 10 most populated cities

List of Most Populated Cities in Louisiana
City[10] Population City Type Next election
New Orleans 360,740 Charter as consolidated city-parish
Baton Rouge 230,139 Charter as consolidated city-parish
Shreveport 200,975 Charter Special Election
Lafayette 122,130 Charter as consolidated city-parish Special Election
Lake Charles 72,475 Charter No I&R
Kenner 66,715 Charter No I&R
Bossier City 62,745 Charter Special Election
Monroe 49,183 Charter N/A
Alexandria 48,164 Charter Special Election
Houma 33,745 Charter as consolidated city-parish

Below are the individual city processes for initiative and referendum.



External links



References