Home  Senators  Officers  Session Info  Committees  Staff/Divisions  Systems/Services  Documents 

Session Information

2006 Regular Session Highlights

Previous  |  Next  |  Contents


by: Angela Lockett DeJean
(225) 342-0661


Present the law authorizes the La. Tax Commission for tax year 2005 to order the ad valorem property taxes in a parish (except Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard) in which are located lands or property destroyed, uninhabitable, or nonoperational due to a disaster or emergency declared by the governor for such tax year to be assessed and collected for that year on a pro rata basis as set forth in existing law. Property subject to mandatory evacuation is deemed to be uninhabitable or nonoperational during the pendency of the mandatory evacuation.

Unless the tax commission orders assessment in the parish on a pro rata basis, an assessor must proceed to assess land or property damaged or destroyed for the year in which the damage or destruction occurred by taking into consideration all damages to land or property and the depreciation of such land or property caused by the disaster or emergency. Provides that the assessments must be made whether the time provided by law for filing assessment rolls has elapsed or not. If the general assessment rolls have already been certified to the local board of review, the assessor must prepare a supplemental roll of land or property damaged, which rolls are to be filed in the same manner as provided for general assessment rolls in existing law, and such assessments are subject to the same rights as to contest as assessments generally. After the filing of the assessment roll for the year, the assessor may issue change orders for the assessment of damaged or destroyed property.

The total amount of ad valorem taxes collected by any taxing authority in the year in which the reappraisal and valuation are implemented shall not be increased or decreased because of a reappraisal or valuation above or below the total amount of such taxes collected in the year preceding implementation of the reappraisal and valuation. To accomplish this result, each affected taxing authority, in the year of implementation must adjust millages upwards or downwards without regard to millage limitations contained in the constitution without further voter approval.

House Bill 46 by Representative Arnold (Act 31) specifies that only pro rata assessment provisions of the present law do not apply to lands or property in any parish for which the assessment rolls for tax year 2005 were certified, or partially or conditionally certified, by the La. Tax Commission prior to the effective date of present law and removes restriction of application of assessment procedures to such lands. Act 31 also authorizes tax payers claiming tax credits for certain ad valorem taxes paid to elect to treat payments of such taxes made after December 31, 2005, but before April 16, 2006, as being made on December 31, 2005. This provision is applicable to taxable periods beginning after December 31, 2004.


Presently the constitution prohibits the expropriation of property 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. The constitution also prohibits the expropriation of property by any private entity authorized by law to expropriate, except for a "public and necessary" purpose and with just compensation paid to the owner.

Senate Bill 1 by Senator McPherson (Act 851) is a proposed constitutional amendment which prohibits the expropriation of property by the state or its political subdivisions for the predominant use by or for transfer of ownership to any private person or entity. Instead the expropriation must be for a public purpose such as public buildings in which publicly funded services are provided or roads, bridges, waterways, access to public waters and lands, ports, airports. Economic development or enhancement of tax revenue for the benefit of the public is not considered when determining whether the taking is for a public purpose.

Senate Bill 1 requires that in every expropriation or action to take property, 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. With certain constitutionally provided exceptions, the full extent of loss includes the appraised value of the property and all costs of relocation and inconvenience the owner incurs because of the expropriation. Any property which is not used for the purpose for which it was expropriated within 15 years after the expropriation shall be first offered for sale, at the current appraised value, to the owner from whom the property was expropriated or to his heirs. If the previous owner or his heirs does not accept the offer within 90 days after the date it is made known to the owner or his heirs, the property may be sold to any other person.

House Bill 992 by Representative Marchand (Pending in Conference Committee) would have provided that the right to expropriate property shall not be exercised for the purposes of converting privately owned property, not legally declared blighted or uninhabited adjudicated property, for retail, office, commercial, industrial, or residential development; or primarily for enhancement of tax revenue; or for transfer to a person, nongovernmental entity, public-private partnership, corporation, or other business entity. This provision does not apply to publicly regulated facilities used to transport or distribute natural gas and electricity or to public utilities, qualifying transportation facilities, public ports, or common carriers, including railroads. House Bill 992 also provided for applicability, except for lease and operations agreements for port facilities or qualifying transportation facilities, to governmental entities that lease public property to a private retail, office, commercial, industrial, or residential development, a person, a nongovernmental entity, public-private partnership, corporation, or other privately owned business.

Similar to Senate Bill 1, House Bill 992 provided in part that property expropriated, if not used in 15 years or if it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was expropriated, before it is sold, it shall be offered first for sale to the person from whom the property was expropriated at the price paid for the property together with the fair market value of any improvements, and further provides that if the offer is not accepted within 90 days from the date it is made, the property may be sold to any other person, but only at public sale after legal notice is given.


Representative Baldone's HB 829 (pending senate final passage) would have provided relative to legal servitude for the construction and maintenance of levees and provides relative to the termination of the authority of the West Jefferson Levee District. Presently, a legal servitude exists on property adjacent to navigable rivers for public or common utility and making or repairing levees, roads, and other public or common works. House Bill 829 retained present law and requires that a legal servitude also exists on property necessary for the building of levees and other water control structures on the alignment approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including the repairing of hurricane protection levees. House Bill 829 extended the date until December 1, 2007 for the West Jefferson Levee District to be governed by the board of commissioners of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-West Bank.


House Concurrent Resolution 143 (Enrolled) by Representative Bowler urges and requests property and casualty insurers to waive any provisions in their policies which limit the time for filing suit against the insurer to twelve months or one year when filing suit on a property damage claim resulting from Hurricane Katrina or Rita. Many insurers include provisions in their policies limiting the time for filing a cause of action relative to a claim to either the twelve months or one year stated by statute.

However, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita created a statewide emergency and inflicted immediate and unimaginable hardships on so many of Louisiana citizens, including forced evacuation or rescue, difficulty in finding shelter, multiple relocations, and coping with the death or uncertainty of the whereabouts of loved ones. Hardships have included delayed reentry into hurricane affected areas, massive clean-up and debris removal efforts, the attempted salvage of personal effects, the severity of the damage to homes and businesses and difficulty in determining the extent of the damage, the difficulty of obtaining information regarding rebuilding, and the limited availability of construction workers and materials. Other difficulties have included the loss of personal legal documents including insurance contracts, the complexity of legal issues, discerning the distinctions between flood insurance, hurricane insurance, and homeowners' insurance and understanding how these types of coverage work together, and possible multiple insurance carriers. Further there has been the limited availability of adjusters and the time constraints on such adjusters in processing the more than one and one-half million claims filed for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita combined, complex negotiations with insurance companies, and decisions as to whether to enter into mediation offered by the Louisiana Department of Insurance.

Therefore HCR 143 urge and request property and casualty insurers to waive any provisions in their policies which limit the time for filing suit against the insurer to twelve months or one year when filing suit on a property damage claim resulting from Hurricane Katrina or Rita.


Questions and comments may be directed to websen@legis.la.gov
Baton Rouge, Louisiana.