Constitutional Amendment 11 looks to add one more state department

Constitutional Amendment 11 looks to add one more state department

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana state government currently operates with 20 different departments, from the Department of Health and Hospitals to the Department of Justice.

A constitutional amendment on the November ballot looks to add one more to that list.

In 2013, the state legislature passed a bill to create a Department of Elderly Affairs.   However, in order for that to happen, the state must get rid of an existing department or change the state constitution to allow expansion.  That's where Constitutional Amendment number 11 comes in.

The Public Affairs Research Council, PAR, is an independent organization that explains both the pros and cons for all amendments.

"The people who are in favor of that say, well this will be great for the elderly. It will help us draw down more federal dollars and  help make the care system services more efficient for these people," said PAR's President Robert Scott.  "There are other people who are opposed to this who say it's quite the opposite that the job is already being done very efficiently. We've already gone through and streamlined that operation."

There is also a catch. The amendment only paves the way for a new department- not specifically a Department of Elderly Affairs.  While Scott says Elderly Affairs would be the first on the list, there is no guarantee the addition would be permanent.  

"If you increase from 20 to 21 and you create a Department of Elderly Affairs with a statute, you can come back and create another statute later on that moves elderly affairs underneath and creates yet a whole new department," said Scott.

Most services for senior citizens already fall under the responsibility of the Department of Health and Hospitals.

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