Article IV: Executive Branch
1. Composition; Number of Departments; Reorganization
Section 1.(A) Composition. The executive branch shall consist of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, superintendent of education, commissioner of elections, and all other executive offices, agencies, and instrumentalities of the state.
(B) Number of Departments. Except for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, all offices, agencies, and other instrumentalities of the executive branch and their functions, powers, duties, and responsibilities shall be allocated according to function within not more than twenty departments. The powers, functions, and duties allocated by this constitution to any executive office or commission shall not be affected or diminished by the allocation provided herein except as authorized by Section 20 of this Article.
(C) Reorganization. Reallocation of the functions, powers, and duties of all departments, offices, agencies, and other instrumentalities of the executive branch, except those functions, powers, duties, and responsibilities allocated by this constitution, shall be as provided by law.
Section 2. To be eligible for any statewide elective office, a person, by the date of his qualification as a candidate, shall have attained the age of twenty-five years, be an elector, and have been a citizen of the United States and of this state for at least the preceding five years. In addition, the attorney general shall have been admitted to the practice of law in the state for at least the five years preceding his election. During his tenure in office, a statewide elected official shall hold no other public office except by virtue of his elected office.
Section 3.(A) Election. Except as provided in Section 20 of this Article, the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, superintendent of education, and commissioner of elections each shall be elected for a term of four years by the electors of the state at the time and place of voting for members of the legislature. The term of each such official shall begin at noon on the second Monday in January next following the election.
(B) Limitation on Governor. A person who has served as governor for more than one and one-half terms in two consecutive terms shall not be elected governor for the succeeding term.
(C) Additional Limitation. Except as provided by this constitution, no official shall be elected statewide.
(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of this constitution or of law to the contrary, statewide elected officials and members of the legislature elected in 1987 shall hold office from and after the second Monday in March, 1988. These statewide elected officials and any successor elected to the unexpired term of any of them shall serve for terms which shall expire at noon on January 13, 1992. These members of the legislature and any successor elected to the unexpired term of any of them shall serve for terms which shall expire at ten o'clock a.m. on January 13, 1992. Thereafter, statewide elected officials and members of the legislature shall be elected for terms of four years. For purposes of retirement, the statewide elected officials and members of the legislature elected in 1987 shall be deemed to be elected for a four-year term.
Acts 1986, No. 1082, 1, approved Sept. 27, 1986, eff. Oct. 30, 1986.
Section 4. Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, the compensation of each statewide elected official shall be provided by law.
5. Governor; Powers and Duties
Section 5.(A) Executive Authority. The governor shall be the chief executive officer of the state. He shall faithfully support the constitution and laws of the state and of the United States and shall see that the laws are faithfully executed.
(B) Legislative Reports and Recommendations. The governor shall, at the beginning of each regular session, and may, at other times, make reports and recommendations and give information to the legislature concerning the affairs of state, including its complete financial condition.
(C) Departmental Reports and Information. When requested by the governor, a department head shall provide him with reports and information, in writing or otherwise, on any subject relating to the department, except matters concerning investigations of the governor's office.
(D) Operating and Capital Budget. The governor shall submit to the legislature an operating budget and a capital budget, as provided by Article VII, Section 11 of this constitution.
(E) Pardon, Commutation, Reprieve, and Remission; Board of Pardons. (1) The governor may grant reprieves to persons convicted of offenses against the state and, upon favorable recommendation of the Board of Pardons, may commute sentences, pardon those convicted of offenses against the state, and remit fines and forfeitures imposed for such offenses. However, a first offender convicted of a non-violent crime, or convicted of aggravated battery, second degree battery, aggravated assault, mingling harmful substances, aggravated criminal damage to property, purse snatching, extortion, or illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities never previously convicted of a felony shall be pardoned automatically upon completion of his sentence, without a recommendation of the Board of Pardons and without action by the governor.
(2) The Board of Pardons shall consist of five electors appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. Each member of the board shall serve a term concurrent with that of the governor appointing him.
(F) Receipt of Bills from the Legislature. The date and hour when a bill finally passed by the legislature is delivered to the governor shall be endorsed thereon.
(G) Item Veto.
(1) Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, the governor may veto any line item in an appropriation bill. Any item vetoed shall be void unless the veto is overridden as prescribed for the passage of a bill over a veto.
(2) The governor shall veto line items or use means provided in the bill so that total appropriations for the year shall not exceed anticipated revenues for that year.
(1) The governor shall appoint, subject to confirmation by the Senate, the head of each department in the executive branch whose election or appointment is not provided by this constitution and the members of each board and commission in the executive branch whose election or appointment is not provided by this constitution or by law.
(2) Should the legislature be in regular session, the governor shall submit for confirmation by the Senate the name of an appointee within forty-eight hours after the appointment is made. Failure of the Senate to confirm the appointment, prior to the end of the session, shall constitute rejection.
(3) If the legislature is not in regular session, the governor may make interim appointments, which shall expire at the end of the next regular session, unless submitted to and confirmed by the Senate during that session.
(4) A person not confirmed by the Senate shall not be appointed to the same office during any recess of the legislature.
(I) Removal Power. The governor may remove from office a person he appoints, except a person appointed for a term fixed by this constitution or by law.
(J) Commander-in-Chief. The governor shall be commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the state, except when they are called into service of the federal government. He may call out these forces to preserve law and order, to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, or in other times of emergency.
(K) Other Powers and Duties. The governor shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.
Amended by Acts 1999, No. 1398, 1, approved Oct. 23, 1999, eff. Nov. 25, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 1401, 1, approved Nov. 20, 1999, eff. Dec. 27, 1999.
6. Lieutenant Governor; Powers and Duties
Section 6. The lieutenant governor shall serve ex officio as a member of each committee, board, and commission on which the governor serves. He shall exercise the powers delegated to him by the governor and shall have other powers and perform other duties in the executive branch authorized by this constitution or provided by law.
7. Secretary of State; Powers and Duties
Section 7. There shall be a Department of State. The secretary of state shall head the department and shall be the chief election officer of the state. He shall prepare and certify the ballots for all elections, promulgate all election returns, and administer the election laws, except those relating to voter registration and custody of voting machines. He shall administer the state corporation and trademark laws; serve as keeper of the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana and attest therewith all official laws, documents, proclamations, and commissions; administer and preserve the official archives of the state; promulgate and publish all laws enacted by the legislature and retain the originals thereof; and countersign and keep an official registry of all commissions. He may administer oaths, and shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.
8. Attorney General; Powers and Duties
Section 8. There shall be a Department of Justice, headed by the attorney general, who shall be the chief legal officer of the state. The attorney general shall be elected for a term of four years at the state general election. The assistant attorneys general shall be appointed by the attorney general to serve at his pleasure.
As necessary for the assertion or protection of any right or interest of the state, the attorney general shall have authority (1) to institute, prosecute, or intervene in any civil action or proceeding; (2) upon the written request of a district attorney, to advise and assist in the prosecution of any criminal case; and (3) for cause, when authorized by the court which would have original jurisdiction and subject to judicial review, (a) to institute, prosecute, or intervene in any criminal action or proceeding, or (b) to supersede any attorney representing the state in any civil or criminal action.
The attorney general shall exercise other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or by law.
9. Treasurer; Powers and Duties
Section 9. There shall be a Department of the Treasury. The treasurer shall head the department and shall be responsible for the custody, investment, and disbursement of the public funds of the state, except as otherwise provided by this constitution. He shall report annually to the governor and to the legislature at least one month before each regular session on the financial condition of the state, and shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.
10. Commissioner of Agriculture; Powers and Duties
Section 10. There shall be a Department of Agriculture. The commissioner of agriculture shall head the department and shall exercise all functions of the state relating to the promotion, protection, and advancement of agriculture, except research and educational functions expressly allocated by this constitution or by law to other state agencies. The department shall exercise such functions and the commissioner shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.
11. Commissioner of Insurance; Powers and Duties
Section 11. There shall be a Department of Insurance, headed by the commissioner of insurance. The department shall exercise such functions and the commissioner shall have powers and perform duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.
12. Commissioner of Elections; Powers and Duties
Section 12. There shall be a Department of Elections and Registration. The commissioner of elections shall head the department and shall administer the laws relating to custody of voting machines and voter registration. He shall have other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or provided by law.
13. First Assistants; Appointment
Section 13. Each statewide elected official except the governor and lieutenant governor shall appoint a first assistant, subject to public confirmation by the Senate, and may remove him at his pleasure. The official shall submit the appointment to the Senate in the manner and subject to the procedures and limitations applicable to appointments submitted by the governor. The first assistant shall possess the qualifications required for election to the office.
14. Vacancy in Office of Governor
Section 14. When a vacancy occurs in the office of governor, the order of succession shall be (1) the elected lieutenant governor, (2) the elected secretary of state, (3) the elected attorney general, (4) the elected treasurer, (5) the presiding officer of the Senate, (6) the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, and then (7) as provided by law. The successor shall serve the remainder of the term for which the governor was elected.
15. Vacancy in Office of Lieutenant Governor
Section 15. Should a vacancy occur in the office of lieutenant governor, the governor shall nominate a lieutenant governor, who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of the elected members of each house of the legislature.
16. Vacancies in Other Statewide Elective Offices
Section 16. A vacancy in a statewide elective office other than that of governor or lieutenant governor shall be filled by the first assistant. If the unexpired term exceeds one year, the office shall be filled by election at the next regularly scheduled congressional or statewide election, and the first assistant shall serve only until the person then elected takes office.
17. Declaration of Inability by Statewide Elected Officials
Section 17. When a statewide elected official transmits to the presiding officers of the Senate and House of Representatives a written declaration of his inability to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, the person who would succeed to the office when a vacancy occurs shall assume the powers and duties of the office as acting official.
18. Determination of Inability of Statewide Elected Official
Section 18.(A) Declaration and Counter-Declaration. When a majority of the statewide elected officials determine that any other such official is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, they shall transmit a written declaration to this effect to the presiding officer of each house and to the official, and shall file a copy of the declaration in the office of the secretary of state. Thereafter, the constitutional successor shall assume the office as acting official unless, within forty-eight hours after the declaration is filed in the office of the secretary of state, the elected official files in that office and transmits to the presiding officer of each house his written counter-declaration of his ability to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his office.
(B) Determination by the Legislature. The legislature shall convene at noon on the third calendar day after the filing of any counter-declaration, which may be filed by the official at any time. Should two-thirds of the elected members of each house fail to adopt a resolution within seventy-two hours declaring probable justification for the determination that inability exists, the official shall continue in or resume office.
(C) Assumption of Office by Constitutional Successor. If two-thirds of the elected members of each house adopt a resolution declaring that probable justification exists for the declaration of inability, the constitutional successor shall assume the powers and duties of the office and a copy of the resolution shall be transmitted forthwith to the supreme court.
(D) Determination by Supreme Court. By preference and with priority over all other matters, the supreme court shall determine the issue of inability after due notice and hearing, by a majority vote of members elected to the court, under such rules as it may adopt.
(E) Reconsideration by Supreme Court. A judgment of the supreme court affirming inability may be reconsidered by the court, after due notice and hearing, either upon its own motion or upon the application of the official. Upon proper showing and by majority vote of its elected members, the court may determine that no inability then exists, whereupon the official shall immediately resume the powers and duties of his office.
Section 19. When the governor is temporarily absent from the state, the lieutenant governor shall act as governor. When any other statewide elected official is temporarily absent from the state, the appointed first assistant shall act in his absence.
20. Appointment of Officials; Merger, Consolidation of Offices and Departments
Section 20. After the first election of state officials following the effective date of this constitution, the legislature may provide, by law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house, for appointment, in lieu of election, of the commissioner of agriculture, the commissioner of insurance, the superintendent of education, the commissioner of elections, or any of them. In that event, the legislature shall prescribe qualifications and method of appointment and by similar vote, may provide by law for the merger or consolidation of any such office, its department, and functions with any other office or department in the executive branch. No action of the legislature pursuant hereto shall reduce the term or compensation of any incumbent elected official. By law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house, the legislature may reestablish any such office as elective and, in that event, shall prescribe qualifications.
Section 21.(A) Composition; Term; Domicile. There shall be a Public Service Commission in the executive branch. It shall consist of five members, who shall be elected for overlapping terms of six years at the time fixed for congressional elections from single member districts established by law. Each commissioner serving on the effective date of this constitution shall be the commissioner for the new district in which he resides and shall complete the term for which he was elected. The commission annually shall elect one member as chairman. It shall be domiciled at the state capital, but may meet, conduct investigations, and render orders elsewhere in this state.
(B) Powers and Duties. The commission shall regulate all common carriers and public utilities and have such other regulatory authority as provided by law. It shall adopt and enforce reasonable rules, regulations, and procedures necessary for the discharge of its duties, and shall have other powers and perform other duties as provided by law.
(C) Limitation. The commission shall have no power to regulate any common carrier or public utility owned, operated, or regulated on the effective date of this constitution by the governing authority of one or more political subdivisions, except by the approval of a majority of the electors voting in an election held for that purpose; however, a political subdivision may reinvest itself with such regulatory power in the manner in which it was surrendered. This Paragraph shall not apply to safety regulations pertaining to the operation of such utilities.
(D) Applications, Petitions, and Schedules; Protective Bond and Security.
(1) Within twenty days after a common carrier or public utility files a proposed rate schedule which would result in a change in rates, it shall give notice thereof by publication in the official state journal and in the official journal of each parish within the geographical area in which the schedule would become applicable.
(2) Within twelve months after the effective filing date, the commission shall render a full decision on each application, petition, and proposed rate schedule.
(3) After the effective filing date of any proposed schedule by a public utility which would result in a rate increase, the commission may permit the proposed schedule to be put into effect, in whole or in part, pending its decision on the application for rate increase and subject to protective bond or security approved by the commission. If no decision is rendered on the application within twelve months after such filing date, the proposed increase may be put into effect, but only if and as provided by law and subject to protective bond or security requirements, until final action by a court of last resort.
(4) If a proposed increase which has been put into effect is finally disallowed, in whole or in part, the utility shall make full refund, with legal interest thereon, within the time and in the manner prescribed by law.
(E) Appeals. Appeal may be taken in the manner provided by law by any aggrieved party or intervenor to the district court of the domicile of the commission. A right of direct appeal from any judgment of the district court shall be allowed to the supreme court. These rights of appeal shall extend to any action by the commission, including but not limited to action taken by the commission or by a public utility under the provisions of Subparagraph (3) of Paragraph (D) of this Section.