Louisiana State Constitution (1974)

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Constitution of the State of Louisiana  (1974) 
State of Louisiana
This Constitution was Updated through January, 2007, using the official version found at the LA State Senate website.
Preamble - Article III | Article IV - Article V | Article VI | Article VII | Article VIII - Article IX | Article X - Article XI | Article XII - Article XIV

Contents

PREAMBLE[edit]

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.

ARTICLE I. DECLARATION OF RIGHTS[edit]

§1. Origin and Purpose of Government[edit]

Section 1. All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded on their will alone, and is instituted to protect the rights of the individual and for the good of the whole. Its only legitimate ends are to secure justice for all, preserve peace, protect the rights, and promote the happiness and general welfare of the people. The rights enumerated in this Article are inalienable by the state and shall be preserved inviolate by the state.

§2. Due Process of Law[edit]

Section 2. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, except by due process of law.

§3. Right to Individual Dignity[edit]

Section 3. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. No law shall discriminate against a person because of race or religious ideas, beliefs, or affiliations. No law shall arbitrarily, capriciously, or unreasonably discriminate against a person because of birth, age, sex, culture, physical condition, or political ideas or affiliations. Slavery and involuntary servitude are prohibited, except in the latter case as punishment for crime.

§4. Right to Property[edit]

Section 4. (A) Every person has the right to acquire, own, control, use, enjoy, protect, and dispose of private property. This right is subject to reasonable statutory restrictions and the reasonable exercise of the police power.
(B)(1) Property shall not be taken or damaged by the state or its political subdivisions except for public purposes and with just compensation paid to the owner or into court for his benefit. Except as specifically authorized by Article VI, Section 21 of this Constitution property shall not be taken or damaged by the state or its political subdivisions:

(a) for predominant use by any private person or entity; or
(b) for transfer of ownership to any private person or entity.
(2) As used in Subparagraph (1) of this Paragraph and in Article VI, Section 23 of this Constitution, "public purpose" shall be limited to the following:
(a) A general public right to a definite use of the property.
(b) Continuous public ownership of property dedicated to one or more of the following objectives and uses:
(i) Public buildings in which publicly funded services are administered, rendered, or provided.
(ii) Roads, bridges, waterways, access to public waters and lands, and other public transportation, access, and navigational systems available to the general public.
(iii) Drainage, flood control, levees, coastal and navigational protection and reclamation for the benefit of the public generally.
(iv) Parks, convention centers, museums, historical buildings and recreational facilities generally open to the public.
(v) Public utilities for the benefit of the public generally.
(vi) Public ports and public airports to facilitate the transport of goods or persons in domestic or international commerce.
(c) The removal of a threat to public health or safety caused by the existing use or disuse of the property.
(3) Neither economic development, of tax revenue, or any incidental benefit to the public shall be considered in determining whether the taking or damaging of property is for a public purpose pursuant to Subparagraph (1) of this Paragraph or Article VI, Section 23 of this Constitution.
(4) enhancement: Property shall not be taken or damaged by any private entity authorized by law to expropriate, except for a public and necessary purpose and with just compensation paid to the owner; in such proceedings, whether the purpose is public and necessary shall be a judicial question.
(5) In every expropriation or action to take property pursuant to the provisions of this Section, a party has the right to trial by jury to determine whether the compensation is just, and the owner shall be compensated to the full extent of his loss. Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the full extent of loss shall include, but not be limited to, the appraised value of the property and all costs of relocation, inconvenience, and any other damages actually incurred by the owner because of the expropriation.
(6) No business enterprise or any of its assets shall be taken for the purpose of operating that enterprise or halting competition with a government enterprise. However, a municipality may expropriate a utility within its jurisdiction.

(C) Personal effects, other than contraband, shall never be taken.
(D) But the following property may be forfeited and disposed of in a civil proceeding, as provided by law: contraband drugs; property derived in whole or in part from contraband drugs; property used in the distribution, transfer, sale, felony possession, manufacture, or transportation of contraband drugs; property furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for contraband drugs; property used or intended to be used to facilitate any of the above conduct; or other property because the above-described property has been rendered unavailable.
(E) This Section shall not apply to appropriation of property necessary for levee and levee drainage purposes.
(F) Further, the legislature may place limitations on the extent of recovery for the taking of, or loss or damage to, property rights affected by coastal wetlands conservation, management, preservation, enhancement, creation, or restoration activities.
(G) Compensation paid for the taking of, or loss or damage to, property rights for the construction, enlargement, improvement, or modification of federal or non-federal hurricane protection projects, including mitigation related thereto, shall not exceed the compensation required by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. However, this Paragraph shall not apply to compensation paid for a building or structure that was destroyed or damaged by an event for which a presidential declaration of major disaster or emergency was issued, if the taking occurs within three years of such event. The legislature by law may provide procedures and definitions for the provisions of this Paragraph.
(H)(1) Except for leases or operation agreements for port facilities, highways, qualified transportation facilities or airports, the state or its political subdivisions shall not sell or lease property which has been expropriated and held for not more than thirty years without first offering the property to the original owner or his heir, or, if there is no heir, to the successor in title to the owner at the time of expropriation at the current fair market value, after which the property can only be transferred by competitive bid open to the general public. After thirty years have passed from the date the property was expropriated, the state or political subdivision may sell or otherwise transfer the property as provided by law.

(2) Within one year after the completion of the project for which the property was expropriated, the state or its political subdivision which expropriated the property shall identify all property which is not necessary for the public purpose of the project and declare the property as surplus property.
(3) All expropriated property identified as surplus property shall be offered for sale to the original owner or his heir, or, if there is no heir, to the successor in title to the owner at the time of expropriation at the current fair market value, within two years after completion of the project. If the original owner, heir, or other successor in title refuses or fails to purchase the surplus property within three years from completion of the project, then the surplus property may be offered for sale to the general public by competitive bid.
(4) After one year from the completion of the project for which property was expropriated, the original owner or his heir, or, if there is no heir, the successor in title to the owner at the time of expropriation may petition the state or its political subdivision which expropriated the property to have all or any portion of his property declared surplus. If the state or its political subdivision refuses or fails to identify all or any portion of the expropriated property as surplus, the original owner or the successor in title may petition any court of competent jurisdiction to have the property declared surplus.

Amended by Acts 1989, No. 840, §1, approved Oct. 7, 1989, eff. Nov. 7, 1989; Acts 2003, No. 1295, §1, approved Oct. 4, 2003, eff. Nov. 6, 2003; Acts 2003, No. 1304, §1, approved Oct. 4, 2003, eff. Nov. 6, 2003; Acts 2006, No. 851, §1, approved Sept. 30, 2006, eff. Oct. 31, 2006; Acts 2006, No. 853, §1, approved Sept. 30, 2006, eff. Oct. 31, 2006; Acts 2006, No. 859, §1, approved Sept. 30, 2006, eff. Oct. 31, 2006.

§5. Right to Privacy[edit]

Section 5. Every person shall be secure in his person, property, communications, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches, seizures, or invasions of privacy. No warrant shall issue without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, the persons or things to be seized, and the lawful purpose or reason for the search. Any person adversely affected by a search or seizure conducted in violation of this Section shall have standing to raise its illegality in the appropriate court.

§6. Freedom from Intrusion[edit]

Section 6. No person shall be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner or lawful occupant.

§7. Freedom of Expression[edit]

Section 7. No law shall curtail or restrain the freedom of speech or of the press. Every person may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on any subject, but is responsible for abuse of that freedom.

§8. Freedom of Religion[edit]

Section 8. No law shall be enacted respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

§9. Right of Assembly and Petition[edit]

Section 9. No law shall impair the right of any person to assemble peaceably or to petition government for a redress of grievances.

§10. Right to Vote; Disqualification from Seeking or Holding an Elective Office[edit]

Section 10. (A) Right to Vote. Every citizen of the state, upon reaching eighteen years of age, shall have the right to register and vote, except that this right may be suspended while a person is interdicted and judicially declared mentally incompetent or is under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony.
(B) Disqualification. The following persons shall not be permitted to qualify as a candidate for elective public office or take public elective office or appointment of honor, trust, or profit in this state:

(1) A person who has been convicted within this state of a felony and who has exhausted all legal remedies, or who has been convicted under the laws of any other state or of the United States or of any foreign government or country of a crime which, if committed in this state, would be a felony and who has exhausted all legal remedies and has not afterwards been pardoned either by the governor of this state or by the officer of the state, nation, government or country having such authority to pardon in the place where the person was convicted and sentenced.
(2) A person actually under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony.

(C) Exception. Notwithstanding the provisions of Paragraph (B) of this Section, a person who desires to qualify as a candidate for or hold an elective office, who has been convicted of a felony and who has served his sentence, but has not been pardoned for such felony, shall be permitted to qualify as a candidate for or hold such office if the date of his qualifying for such office is more than fifteen years after the date of the completion of his original sentence.
Acts 1997, No. 1492, §1, approved Oct. 3, 1998, eff. Nov. 5, 1998.

§11. Right to Keep and Bear Arms[edit]

Section 11. The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.

§12. Freedom from Discrimination[edit]

Section 12. In access to public areas, accommodations, and facilities, every person shall be free from discrimination based on race, religion, or national ancestry and from arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable discrimination based on age, sex, or physical condition.

§13. Rights of the Accused[edit]

Section 13. When any person has been arrested or detained in connection with the investigation or commission of any offense, he shall be advised fully of the reason for his arrest or detention, his right to remain silent, his right against self incrimination, his right to the assistance of counsel and, if indigent, his right to court appointed counsel. In a criminal prosecution, an accused shall be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. At each stage of the proceedings, every person is entitled to assistance of counsel of his choice, or appointed by the court if he is indigent and charged with an offense punishable by imprisonment. The legislature shall provide for a uniform system for securing and compensating qualified counsel for indigents.

§14. Right to Preliminary Examination[edit]

Section 14. The right to a preliminary examination shall not be denied in felony cases except when the accused is indicted by a grand jury.

§15. Initiation of Prosecution[edit]

Section 15. Prosecution of a felony shall be initiated by indictment or information, but no person shall be held to answer for a capital crime or a crime punishable by life imprisonment except on indictment by a grand jury. No person shall be twice placed in jeopardy for the same offense, except on his application for a new trial, when a mistrial is declared, or when a motion in arrest of judgment is sustained.

§16. Right to a Fair Trial[edit]

Section 16. Every person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to a speedy, public, and impartial trial in the parish where the offense or an element of the offense occurred, unless venue is changed in accordance with law. No person shall be compelled to give evidence against himself. An accused is entitled to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him, to compel the attendance of witnesses, to present a defense, and to testify in his own behalf. However, nothing in this Section or any other section of this constitution shall prohibit the legislature from enacting a law to require a trial court to instruct a jury in a criminal trial that the governor is empowered to grant a reprieve, pardon, or commutation of sentence following conviction of a crime, that the governor in exercising such authority may commute or modify a sentence of life imprisonment without benefit of parole to a lesser sentence which includes the possibility of parole, may commute a sentence of death to a lesser sentence of life imprisonment without benefit of parole, or may allow the release of an offender either by reducing a life imprisonment or death sentence to the time already served by the offender or by granting the offender a pardon.
Acts 1995, No. 1322, §1, approved Nov. 18, 1995, eff. Dec. 23, 1995.

§17. Jury Trial in Criminal Cases; Joinder of Felonies; Mode of Trial[edit]

Section 17. (A) Jury Trial in Criminal Cases. A criminal case in which the punishment may be capital shall be tried before a jury of twelve persons, all of whom must concur to render a verdict. A case in which the punishment is necessarily confinement at hard labor shall be tried before a jury of twelve persons, ten of whom must concur to render a verdict. A case in which the punishment may be confinement at hard labor or confinement without hard labor for more than six months shall be tried before a jury of six persons, all of whom must concur to render a verdict. The accused shall have a right to full voir dire examination of prospective jurors and to challenge jurors peremptorily. The number of challenges shall be fixed by law. Except in capital cases, a defendant may knowingly and intelligently waive his right to a trial by jury.: (B) Joinder of Felonies; Mode of Trial. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, offenses in which punishment is necessarily confinement at hard labor may be charged in the same indictment or information with offenses in which the punishment may be confinement at hard labor; provided, however, that the joined offenses are of the same or similar character or are based on the same act or transaction or on two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or plan; and provided further, that cases so joined shall be tried by a jury composed of twelve jurors, ten of whom must concur to render a verdict.
Acts 1997, No. 1502, §1, approved Oct. 3, 1998, eff. Nov. 5, 1998.

§18. Right to Bail[edit]

Section 18. (A) Excessive bail shall not be required. Before and during a trial, a person shall be bailable by sufficient surety, except when he is charged with a capital offense and the proof is evident and the presumption of guilt is great. After conviction and before sentencing, a person shall be bailable if the maximum sentence which may be imposed is imprisonment for five years or less; and the judge may grant bail if the maximum sentence which may be imposed is imprisonment exceeding five years. After sentencing and until final judgment, a person shall be bailable if the sentence actually imposed is five years or less; and the judge may grant bail if the sentence actually imposed exceeds imprisonment for five years.
(B) However, a person charged with a crime of violence as defined by law or with production, manufacture, distribution, or dispensing or possession with intent to produce, manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled dangerous substance as defined by the Louisiana Controlled Dangerous Substances Law, and the proof is evident and the presumption of guilt is great, shall not be bailable if, after a contradictory hearing, the judge or magistrate finds by clear and convincing evidence that there is a substantial risk that the person may flee or poses an imminent danger to any other person or the community.
Acts 1997, No. 1498, §1, approved Oct. 3, 1998, eff. Nov. 5, 1998.

§19. Right to Judicial Review[edit]

Section 19. No person shall be subjected to imprisonment or forfeiture of rights or property without the right of judicial review based upon a complete record of all evidence upon which the judgment is based. This right may be intelligently waived. The cost of transcribing the record shall be paid as provided by law.

§20. Right to Humane Treatment[edit]

Section 20. No law shall subject any person to euthanasia, to torture, or to cruel, excessive, or unusual punishment. Full rights of citizenship shall be restored upon termination of state and federal supervision following conviction for any offense.

§21. Writ of Habeas Corpus[edit]

Section 21. The writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.

§22. Access to Courts[edit]

Section 22. All courts shall be open, and every person shall have an adequate remedy by due process of law and justice, administered without denial, partiality, or unreasonable delay, for injury to him in his person, property, reputation, or other rights.

§23. Prohibited Laws[edit]

Section 23. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be enacted.

§24. Unenumerated Rights[edit]

Section 24. The enumeration in this constitution of certain rights shall not deny or disparage other rights retained by the individual citizens of the state.

§25. Rights of a Victim[edit]

Section 25. Any person who is a victim of crime shall be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect, and shall be informed of the rights accorded under this Section. As defined by law, a victim of crime shall have the right to reasonable notice and to be present and heard during all critical stages of preconviction and postconviction proceedings; the right to be informed upon the release from custody or the escape of the accused or the offender; the right to confer with the prosecution prior to final disposition of the case; the right to refuse to be interviewed by the accused or a representative of the accused; the right to review and comment upon the presentence report prior to imposition of sentence; the right to seek restitution; and the right to a reasonably prompt conclusion of the case. The legislature shall enact laws to implement this Section. The evidentiary and procedural laws of this state shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with this Section.
Nothing in this Section shall be construed to inure to the benefit of an accused or to confer upon any person the right to appeal or seek supervisory review of any judicial decision made in a criminal proceeding. Nothing in this Section shall be the basis for an award of costs or attorney fees, for the appointment of counsel for a victim, or for any cause of action for compensation or damages against the state of Louisiana, a political subdivision, a public agency, or a court, or any officer, employee, or agent thereof. Remedies to enforce the rights enumerated in this Section shall be provided by law.
Acts 1997, No. 1487, §1, approved Oct. 3, 1998, eff. Nov. 5, 1998.

§26. State Sovereignty[edit]

Section 26. The people of this state have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free and sovereign state; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, pertaining thereto, which is not, or may not hereafter be, by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in congress assembled.
Acts 1997, No. 1494, §1, approved Oct. 3, 1998, eff. Nov. 5, 1998.

§27. Freedom to Hunt, Fish and Trap[edit]

Section 27. The freedom to hunt, fish, and trap wildlife, including all aquatic life, traditionally taken by hunters, trappers and anglers, is a valued natural heritage that shall be forever preserved for the people. Hunting, fishing and trapping shall be managed by law and regulation consistent with Article IX, Section I of the Constitution of Louisiana to protect, conserve and replenish the natural resources of the state. The provisions of this Section shall not alter the burden of proof requirements otherwise established by law for any challenge to a law or regulation pertaining to hunting, fishing or trapping the wildlife of the state, including all aquatic life. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to authorize the use of private property to hunt, fish, or trap without the consent of the owner of the property.
Added by Acts 2004, No. 927, §1, approved Nov. 2, 2004, eff. Dec. 7, 2004.

ARTICLE II. DISTRIBUTION OF POWERS[edit]

§1. Three Branches[edit]

Section 1. The powers of government of the state are divided into three separate branches: legislative, executive, and judicial.

§2. Limitations on Each Branch[edit]

Section 2. Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, no one of these branches, nor any person holding office in one of them, shall exercise power belonging to either of the others.

ARTICLE III. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH[edit]

§1. Legislative Power; Composition; Continuous Body[edit]

Section 1. Legislative Power of State.
(A)The legislative power of the state is vested in a legislature, consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Senate shall be composed of one senator elected from each senatorial district. The House of Representatives shall be composed of one representative elected from each representative district.
(B) Continuous Body. The legislature is a continuous body during the term for which its members are elected; however, a bill or resolution not finally passed in any session shall be withdrawn from the files of the legislature.

§2. Sessions[edit]

Section 2. (A) Annual Session.

(1) The legislature shall meet annually in regular session for a limited number of legislative days in the state capital. A legislative day is a calendar day on which either house is in session. Any bill to be introduced in either house shall be prefiled no later than five o'clock in the evening of the Friday before the first day of a regular session; thereafter no member of the legislature may introduce more than five bills, except as provided in the joint rules of the legislature. The legislature is authorized to provide by joint rule for the procedures for passage of duplicate or companion instruments.
(2) All regular sessions convening in odd-numbered years shall be general in nature and shall convene at noon on the last Monday in March. The legislature shall meet in such a session for not more than sixty legislative days during a period of eighty-five calendar days. No such session shall continue beyond six o'clock in the evening of the eighty-fifth calendar day after convening. No new matter intended to have the effect of law shall be introduced or received by either house after midnight of the thirtieth calendar day. No matter intended to have the effect of law, except a measure proposing a suspension of law, shall be considered on third reading and final passage in either house after midnight of the fifty-fifth legislative day of a regular session, except by a favorable record vote of two-thirds of the elected members of each house. No measure levying or authorizing a new tax by the state or by any statewide political subdivision whose boundaries are coterminous with the state, increasing an existing tax by the state or by any statewide political subdivision whose boundaries are coterminous with the state, or legislating with regard to tax exemptions, exclusions, deductions or credits shall be introduced or enacted during a regular session held in an odd-numbered year.
(3)(a) All regular sessions convening in even-numbered years shall be general in nature and shall convene at noon on the last Monday in March. The legislature shall meet in such a session for not more than sixty legislative days during a period of eighty-five calendar days. No such session shall continue beyond six o'clock in the evening of the eighty-fifth calendar day after convening. No new matter intended to have the effect of law shall be introduced or received by either house after six o'clock in the evening of the twenty-third calendar day. No matter intended to have the effect of law, except a measure proposing a suspension of law, shall be considered on third reading and final passage in either house after six o'clock in the evening of the fifty-seventh legislative day or the eighty-second calendar day, whichever occurs first, except by a favorable record vote of two-thirds of the elected members of each house.
(b) No measure levying or authorizing a new tax by the state or by any statewide political subdivision whose boundaries are coterminous with the state; increasing an existing tax by the state or by any statewide political subdivision whose boundaries are coterminous with the state; or legislating with regard to tax exemptions, exclusions, deductions or credits shall be introduced or enacted during a regular session held in an even-numbered year.
(4)(a) All regular sessions convening in odd-numbered years shall convene at noon on the last Monday in April. The legislature shall meet in such a session for not more than forty-five legislative days in a period of sixty calendar days. No such session shall continue beyond six o'clock in the evening of the sixtieth calendar day after convening. No new matter intended to have the effect of law shall be introduced or received by either house after six o'clock in the evening of the tenth calendar day. No matter intended to have the effect of law, except a measure proposing a suspension of law, shall be considered on third reading and final passage in either house after six o'clock in the evening of the forty-second legislative day or fiftyseventh calendar day, whichever occurs first, except by a favorable record vote of two-thirds of the elected members of each house.
(b) During any session convening in an odd-numbered year, no matter intended to have the effect of law, including any suspension of law, shall be introduced or considered unless its object is to enact the General Appropriation Bill; enact the comprehensive capital budget; make an appropriation; levy or authorize a new tax; increase an existing tax; levy, authorize, increase, decrease, or repeal a fee; dedicate revenue; legislate with regard to tax exemptions, exclusions, deductions, reductions, repeals, or credits; or legislate with regard to the issuance of bonds. In addition, a matter intended to have the effect of law, including a measure proposing a suspension of law, which is not within the subject matter restrictions provided in this Subparagraph may be considered at any such session if:
(i) It is prefiled no later than the deadline provided in Subparagraph (2) of this Paragraph, provided that the member shall not prefile more than five such matters pursuant to this Subsubparagraph; or
(ii) Its object is to enact a local or special law which is required to be and has been advertised in accordance with Section 13 of this Article and which is not prohibited by the provisions of Section 12 of this Article.

(B) Extraordinary Session. The legislature may be convened at other times by the governor and shall be convened by the presiding officers of both houses upon written petition of a majority of the elected members of each house. The form of the petition shall be provided by law. At least five days prior to convening the legislature in extraordinary session, the governor or the presiding officers, as the case may be, shall issue a proclamation stating the objects of the session, the date on which it shall convene, and the number of days for which it is convened. The power to legislate shall be limited, under penalty of nullity, to the objects specifically enumerated in the proclamation. The session shall be limited to the number of days stated therein, which shall not exceed thirty calendar days.
(C) Emergency Session. The governor may convene the legislature in extraordinary session without prior notice or proclamation in the event of public emergency caused by epidemic, enemy attack, or public catastrophe.
(D) Organizational Session. The legislature shall meet in an organizational session in the state capitol to be convened at ten o'clock in the morning on the day the members are required to take office. No such session shall exceed three legislative days. The session shall be for the primary purpose of judging the qualifications and elections of the members, taking the oath of office, organizing the two houses, and selecting officers. No matter intended to have the effect of law shall be introduced at an organizational session.
Amended by Acts 1989, No. 841, §1, approved Oct. 7, 1989, eff. Nov. 7, 1989; Acts 1990, No. 1095, §1, approved Oct. 6, 1990, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 1041, §1, approved Oct. 16, 1993, eff. Nov. 18, 1993; Acts 2001, No. 1231, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.

§3. Size[edit]

Section 3. The number of members of the legislature shall be provided by law, but the number of senators shall not exceed thirty-nine and the number of representatives, one hundred five.

§4. Qualifications; Residence Requirements; Term; Election Limitations; Vacancies[edit]

Section 4. (A) Age; Residence; Domicile. An elector who at the time of qualification as a candidate has attained the age of eighteen years, resided in the state for the preceding two years, and been actually domiciled for the preceding year in the legislative district from which he seeks election is eligible for membership in the legislature.
(B) Domicile; Special Provisions. However, at the next regular election for members of the legislature following legislative reapportionment, an elector may qualify as a candidate from any district created in whole or in part from a district existing prior to reapportionment if he was domiciled in that prior district for at least one year immediately preceding his qualification and was a resident of the state for the two years preceding his qualification. The seat of any member who changes his domicile from the district he represents or, if elected after reapportionment, whose domicile is not within the district he represents at the time he is sworn into office, shall be vacated thereby, any declaration of retention of domicile to the contrary notwithstanding.
(C) Term. A member of the legislature shall be elected for a four-year term.
(D) Vacancy. A vacancy in the legislature shall be filled for the remainder of the term only by election by the electors of the respective district as provided by law.
(E) Election Limitation. No person who has been elected to serve as a member of the Senate for more than two and one-half terms in three consecutive terms, that service being during a term of office that began on or after January 8, 1996, shall be elected to the Senate for the succeeding term. No person who has been elected to serve as a member of the House of Representatives for more than two and one-half terms in three consecutive terms, that service being during a term of office that began on or after January 8, 1996, shall be elected to the House of Representatives for the succeeding term.
Acts 1995, No. 1326, §1, approved Oct. 21, 1995, eff. Nov. 23, 1995.

§5. Taking Office[edit]

Section 5. (A) Full Term. Members of the legislature shall take office on the same day as the governor and other officials elected statewide.
(B) Filling Vacancy. A person elected to fill the remainder of an unexpired legislative term shall take office within thirty days after the secretary of state promulgates the election returns.

§6. Legislative Reapportionment; Reapportionment by Supreme Court; Procedure[edit]

Section 6. (A) Reapportionment by Legislature. By the end of the year following the year in which the population of this state is reported to the president of the United States for each decennial federal census, the legislature shall reapportion the representation in each house as equally as practicable on the basis of population shown by the census.
(B) Reapportionment by Supreme Court. If the legislature fails to reapportion as required in Paragraph (A), the supreme court, upon petition of any elector, shall reapportion the representation in each house as provided in Paragraph (A).
(C) Procedure. The procedure for review and for petition shall be provided by law.

§7. Judging Qualifications and Elections; Procedural Rules; Discipline; Expulsion; Subpoenas; Contempt; Officers[edit]

Section 7. (A) Judging Qualifications and Elections; Procedural Rules; Discipline; Expulsion. Each house shall be the judge of the qualifications and elections of its members; shall determine its rules of procedure, not inconsistent with the provisions of this constitution; may punish its members for disorderly conduct or contempt; and may expel a member with concurrence of two-thirds of its elected members. Expulsion creates a vacancy in the office.
(B) Subpoena Power; Contempt. Each house may compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books and papers before it, before any committee thereof, or before joint committees of the houses and may punish those in willful disobedience of its orders for contempt.
(C) Officers. Each house shall choose its officers, including a permanent presiding officer selected from its membership. The presiding officers shall be the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives. The clerical officers shall be the clerk of the House of Representatives and the secretary of the Senate, each of whom may administer oaths.

§8. Privileges and Immunities[edit]

Section 8. A member of the legislature shall be privileged from arrest, except for felony, during his attendance at sessions and committee meetings of his house and while going to and from them. No member shall be questioned elsewhere for any speech in either house.

§9. Conflict of Interest[edit]

Section 9. Legislative office is a public trust, and every effort to realize personal gain through official conduct is a violation of that trust. The legislature shall enact a code of ethics prohibiting conflict between public duty and private interests of members of the legislature.

§10. Quorum; Compulsory Attendance; Journal; Adjournment With Consent of Other House[edit]

Section 10. (A) Quorum. Not less than a majority of the elected members of each house shall form a quorum to transact business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day-to-day and may compel the attendance of absent members.
(B) Journal. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings and have it published immediately after the close of each session. The journal shall accurately reflect the proceedings of that house, including all record votes. A record vote is a vote by yeas and nays, with each member's vote published in the journal.
(C) Adjournment. When the legislature is in session, neither house shall adjourn for more than three days or to another place without consent of the other house.

§11. Legislative Auditor[edit]

Section 11. There shall be a legislative auditor responsible solely to the legislature. He shall serve as a fiscal advisor to it and shall perform the duties and functions provided by law related to auditing fiscal records of the state, its agencies, and political subdivisions. He shall be elected by the concurrence of a majority of the elected members of each house and may be removed by the concurrence of two-thirds of the elected members of each house.

§12. Prohibited Local and Special Laws[edit]

Section 12. (A) Prohibitions. Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, the legislature shall not pass a local or special law:

(1) For the holding and conducting of elections, or fixing or changing the place of voting.
(2) Changing the names of persons; authorizing the adoption or legitimation of children or the emancipation of minors; affecting the estates of minors or persons under disabilities; granting divorces; changing the law of descent or succession; giving effect to informal or invalid wills or deeds or to any illegal disposition of property.
(3) Concerning any civil or criminal actions, including changing the venue in civil or criminal cases, or regulating the practice or jurisdiction of any court, or changing the rules of evidence in any judicial proceeding or inquiry before courts, or providing or changing methods for the collection of debts or the enforcement of judgments, or prescribing the effects of judicial sales.
(4) Authorizing the laying out, opening, closing, altering, or maintaining of roads, highways, streets, or alleys; relating to ferries and bridges, or incorporating bridge or ferry companies, except for the erection of bridges crossing streams which form boundaries between this and any other state; authorizing the constructing of street passenger railroads in any incorporated town or city.
(5) Exempting property from taxation; extending the time for the assessment or collection of taxes; relieving an assessor or collector of taxes from the performance of his official duties or of his sureties from liability; remitting fines, penalties, and forfeitures; refunding moneys legally paid into the treasury.
(6) Regulating labor, trade, manufacturing, or agriculture; fixing the rate of interest.
(7) Creating private corporations, or amending, renewing, extending, or explaining the charters thereof; granting to any private corporation, association, or individual any special or exclusive right, privilege, or immunity.
(8) Regulating the management of parish or city public schools, the building or repairing of parish or city schoolhouses, and the raising of money for such purposes.
(9) Legalizing the unauthorized or invalid acts of any officer, employee, or agent of the state, its agencies, or political subdivisions.
(10) Defining any crime.

(B) Additional Prohibition. The legislature shall not indirectly enact special or local laws by the partial repeal or suspension of a general law.

§13. Local or Special Laws; Notice of Intent; Publication[edit]

Section 13. No local or special law shall be enacted unless notice of the intent to introduce a bill to enact such a law has been published on two separate days, without cost to the state, in the official journal of the locality where the matter to be affected is situated. The last day of publication shall be at least thirty days prior to introduction of the bill. The notice shall state the substance of the contemplated law, and every such bill shall recite that notice has been given.

§14. Style of Laws; Enacting Clause[edit]

Section 14. The style of a law enacted by the legislature shall be, "Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana." It shall be unnecessary to repeat the enacting clause after the first section of an act.

§15. Passage of Bills[edit]

Section 15. (A) Introduction; Title; Single Object; Public Meetings. The legislature shall enact no law except by a bill introduced during that session, and propose no constitutional amendment except by a joint resolution introduced during that session, which shall be processed as a bill. Every bill, except the general appropriation bill and bills for the enactment, rearrangement, codification, or revision of a system of laws, shall be confined to one object. Every bill shall contain a brief title indicative of its object. Action on any matter intended to have the effect of law shall be taken only in open, public meeting.: (B) No General Reference. A bill enacting, amending, or reviving a law shall set forth completely the provisions of the law enacted, amended, or revived. No system or code of laws shall be adopted by general reference to it.
(C) Germane Amendments. No bill shall be amended in either house to make a change not germane to the bill as introduced.
(D) Three Readings. Each bill shall be read at least by title on three separate days in each house. No bill shall be considered for final passage unless a committee has held a public hearing and reported on the bill.
(E) Rejected bills; Reconsideration. No bill rejected by either house may again be introduced or considered during the same session by the house which rejected it without the consent of a majority of the members elected to that house.
(F) Concurrence in Amendments. No amendment to a bill by one house shall be concurred in by the other, and no conference committee report shall be concurred in by either house except by the same vote required for final passage of the bill. The vote thereon shall be by record vote.
(G) Majority Vote; Record Vote. No bill shall become law without the favorable vote of at least a majority of the members elected to each house. Final passage of a bill shall be by record vote. In either house, a record vote shall be taken on any matter upon the request of one-fifth of the elected members.

§16. Appropriations[edit]

Section 16. (A) Specific Appropriation for One Year. Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, no money shall be withdrawn from the state treasury except through specific appropriation, and no appropriation shall be made under the heading of contingencies or for longer than one year.
(B) Origin in House of Representatives. All bills for raising revenue or appropriating money shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur in amendments, as in other bills.
(C) General Appropriation Bill; Limitations. The general appropriation bill shall be itemized and shall contain only appropriations for the ordinary operating expenses of government, public charities, pensions, and the public debt or interest thereon.
(D) Specific Purpose and Amount. All other bills for appropriating money shall be for a specific purpose and amount.
(E) Extraordinary Session. Except for expenses of the legislature, a bill appropriating money in an extraordinary session convened after final adjournment of the regular session in the last year of the term of office of a governor shall require the favorable vote of three-fourths of the elected members of each house.

§17. Signing of Bills; Delivery to Governor[edit]

Section 17. (A) Signing; Delivery. A bill passed by both houses shall be signed by the presiding officers and delivered to the governor within three days after passage.
(B) Resolutions. No joint, concurrent, or other resolution shall require the signature or other action of the governor to become effective.

§18. Gubernatorial Action on Bills; Sign, Failure to Sign, Veto; Veto Session[edit]

Section 18. (A) Gubernatorial Action. If the governor does not approve a bill, he may veto it. A bill, except a joint resolution, shall become law if the governor signs it or if he fails to sign or veto it within ten days after delivery to him if the legislature is in session on the tenth day after such delivery, or within twenty days after delivery if the tenth day after delivery occurs after the legislature is adjourned.
(B) Veto Message. If the governor vetoes a bill, he shall return it to the legislature, with his veto message within twelve days after delivery to him if the legislature is in session. If the governor returns a vetoed bill after the legislature adjourns, he shall return it, with his veto message, as provided by law.
(C) Veto Session.

(1) A bill vetoed and returned and subsequently approved by two-thirds of the elected members of each house shall become law. The legislature shall meet in veto session in the state capital at noon on the fortieth day following final adjournment of the most recent session, to consider all bills vetoed by the governor. If the fortieth day falls on Sunday, the session shall convene at noon on the succeeding Monday. No veto session shall exceed five calendar days, and any veto session may be finally adjourned prior to the end of the fifth day upon a vote of two-thirds of the elected members of each house.
(2) No veto session shall be held if a majority of the elected members of either house declare in writing that a veto session is unnecessary. The declaration must be received by the presiding officer of the respective houses at least five days prior to the day on which the veto session is to convene.

Acts 1989, No. 841, §1, approved Oct. 7, 1989, eff. Nov. 7, 1989.

§19. Effective Date of Laws[edit]

Section 19. All laws enacted during a regular session of the legislature shall take effect on August fifteenth of the calendar year in which the regular session is held and all laws enacted during an extraordinary session of the legislature shall take effect on the sixtieth day after final adjournment of the extraordinary session in which they were enacted. All laws shall be published prior thereto in the official journal of the state as provided by law. However, any bill may specify an earlier or later effective date.
Acts 1992, No. 1139, §1, aproved Oct. 3, 1992, eff. Nov. 5, 1992.

§20. Suspension of Laws[edit]

Section 20. Only the legislature may suspend a law, and then only by the same vote and, except for gubernatorial veto and time limitations for introduction, according to the same procedures and formalities required for enactment of that law. After the effective date of this constitution, every resolution suspending a law shall fix the period of suspension, which shall not extend beyond the sixtieth day after final adjournment of the next regular session.


NOTES[edit]