Louisiana legislature certifies constitutional amendment for December 5 ballot

On October 21, 2020, the Louisiana Legislature referred a constitutional amendment to the December 5 ballot during its second special legislative session. Senate Bill 44 (SB 44) would allow the governor to appoint at-large members to the boards of supervisors of state university systems from outside of the state if there are multiple at-large seats and at least one at-large seat is filled by a member from the state. The boards would each still consist of 15 members appointed by the governor and approved by the state Senate. Currently, the Louisiana Constitution requires all members to be from the state.

In Louisiana, a two-thirds vote is needed in each chamber of the Louisiana Legislature to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot for voter consideration.

SB 44 was introduced on September 30, 2020. The state Senate and House approved the bill unanimously.

SB 44 is the only 2020 ballot measure certified for a post-November 3 statewide election. Louisiana voters will decide seven constitutional amendments on November 3 that concern abortion, taxes, natural resources, and state finances. In addition to statewide constitutional amendments, measures legalizing sports betting on a parish-by-parish basis are on the ballot in each of Louisiana’s 64 parishes on November 3. 

Louisiana is holding a general runoff election on December 5. Louisiana’s electoral system for local, state, and federal offices differs from those employed in the other 49 states. In Louisiana, all candidates running for a local, state, or federal office appear on the same ballot in either October (in odd-numbered years) or November (in even-numbered years), regardless of their partisan affiliations. If a candidate wins a simple majority of all votes cast for the office (i.e., 50 percent, plus one vote), he or she wins the election outright. If no candidate meets that threshold, the top two finishers, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to the election in December. In that election, the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes wins.

Between 1995 and 2019, Louisiana voters decided 189 constitutional amendments, averaging 10 measures per even-numbered year election. Voters approved 75 percent (141 of 189) and rejected 25 percent (48 of 189) of the constitutional amendments.

Additional reading:

Louisiana 2020 ballot measures