A coalition of economic development executives joined the call Tuesday night for a new convention to rewrite the state’s constitution.
The Regional Economic Alliance of Louisiana, which is composed of the chief executives of Louisiana’s eight economic development regions, is backing legislative action that would set in motion “a new Constitutional Convention as early as feasible, preferably in 2020.”
Seven bills that would lead to a constitutional convention are working their way through the legislative process.
The furthest along is House Bill 500, by Democratic New Orleans Rep. Neil Abramson, which is scheduled for debate Wednesday on the House floor. HB500 would convene the convention on Jan. 6, 2020.
Several business-oriented groups have announced support for calling a new convention, including the Council for a Better Louisiana.
REAL, like CABL and the others, note that the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 has been amended hundreds of times and now includes too many dedications that lock up state dollars for spending on specific purposes.
“Louisiana has struggled to create an environment where economic growth, infrastructure, healthcare and education are adequately protected to meet the needs of all Louisianans. Our collective inability to bring about the necessary changes that need to be made to unlock the state’s full potential demonstrates the overwhelming need to move beyond our normal political and electoral processes,” REAL said in a press release.
The economic development executives want the constitutional convention to focus on modernizing the state’s tax code, ensure more independence for local governments, and limit the ability of the Legislature to amend the Constitution.