A constitutional convention that would change the budgetary process which recently cut deep ruts into health care and higher education in Louisiana is not likely, according to state representative Mike Danahay (D-Sulphur).
"After last year's session, there was a group of freshmen representatives [who] wanted to get together and look at some things that would impact Louisiana, truly change Louisiana," Danahay told the Sunrise Rotary Club during their weekly meeting Friday.
This group of representatives came to the idea of changing the state constitution, a document that has changed 221 times since it was ratified in 1974.
"We certainly would like to see it, and what started that conversation were the dedications in the budget," Danahay indicated.
Even so, Sulphur's state representative said that the dedications will be almost impossible to dislodge.
"These dedications are buried in various parts of the constitution, and to undo it would be a very difficult and piecemeal basis," he said.
"We felt like, for that purpose, we'd like to have a constitutional convention. We actually came up with a resolution, that I co-authored, asking to study the possibility of having a constitutional convention. It went through the House no problem, but the Senate got really lukewarm on it, and it just died."
Danahay said that the Governor's office is also lukewarm on the idea.
"I think it's highly unlikely that it's going to take place. You have your special interests getting involved, because they're the ones with the funds dedicated," he said.
Danahay also outlined constitutional changes on the ballot this fall: Senate Bill 5 will move the start of the legislative session two weeks, while Senate Bill 209 has to do with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness making their employees ‘unclassified’.
"The reasoning behind this is that during an emergency situation working around the Civil Service rules and regulations would be very difficult," Danahay said.
He recommends that when voters go to the ballot box, they choose yes for this amendment.
Other bills include House Bill 509, which regards the process behind ad valorum taxes and the sale of property; House Bill 765 bumps the amount of oil and gas revenue that parish government will be allowed to keep from $850,000 to $2.85 million; House bill 903 concerns the issue of rolling forward on millage rates after a new tax reassessment that increases local property values; and Senate Bill 67, which simply states that any state elected official would not be afforded a pay raise until their next term.