January 26, 2024
The Constitutional Reform Policy Council
About the Council’s Work
The Constitutional Reform Policy Council was established at the request of Governor Jeff Landry to identify the problems that exist in Louisiana’s Constitution and to discuss and propose solutions to those problems. This Council was led by Lane Grigsby and included voices from across the political and policy spectrum in Louisiana. The findings listed below represent the recommendations made by the Council.
Louisiana’s Constitution is overly complex.
At over 79,000 words, the Louisiana Constitution is three times longer than the average state constitution and has been amended over two hundred times. Constitutions exist to set up a framework for government and protect individual rights and liberties. Since the Louisiana Constitution has continuously been amended, it has evolved into an overreaching document that often prevents our state from running an efficient government by the people, for the people.
1. Reduce the length and scope of the constitution to ensure only foundational principles of government remain. This will give lawmakers, from the state legislature to local governments, more flexibility and autonomy to respond to the needs of today’s citizens.
2. Reform the process by which the constitution is amended. With over two hundred amendments to the 1974 constitution, it is clear that it is too easy to amend the foundational document of our state’s government. This process should be reviewed and reformed to make it more of a hurdle to amend the constitution.
3. Review the scope and number of boards and commissions looking for areas where government can be streamlined and modernized.
The hands of lawmakers are tied when trying to move Louisiana forward. With over two hundred amendments and many policy decisions finding their way into the constitution instead of by statute, the Louisiana Constitution reflects more of a pseudo-statute document instead of a basic framework for government. The Constitution often gets in the way of lawmakers attempting to bring positive change to the state because of constant amendments needing to be ratified by the people of Louisiana on complex policy decisions.
1. Identify areas of the constitution that unnecessarily limit the options of lawmakers and prevent them from fulfilling their roles as the people’s representatives.
2. Move many fiscal policies to statute. Although, some protections for balanced budgets and other core financial principles belong in the constitution, the details of a specific tax and budget policy should be reserved for statute.