Krielow v. Louisiana Department Of Agriculture And Forestry

125 So.3d 384 (2013)


Krielow (Ps) are producers of rice in Louisiana. The Louisiana Legislature enacted La. R.S. 3:3531, and La. R.S. 3:3541. They established the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board and the Louisiana Rice Research Board to promote the growth and development of the rice industry in Louisiana by promotion of rice and expanded research of rice, thereby promoting the general welfare of the people of Louisiana. Rice producers must pay an assessment on rice produced in Louisiana 'not to exceed three cents per hundredweight.' The assessment is not imposed unless the rice producers approve it by majority referendum vote. The question of whether to impose the assessment and the amount of the assessment, subject to the 'maxima' provided in the statutes, must be submitted to and approved by a majority of the rice producers who vote in the referenda. To be eligible to vote, a producer must have produced a rice crop in the year immediately preceding each referendum. If approved, the assessment is effective for five years but may be extended indefinitely in increments of five years, by ratification and approval by a majority vote of all the rice producers who voted in the referenda. Department (D) is required to pay over the funds to the Rice Boards as instructed in the Rice Statutes. Rice producers have approved the levy of an assessment. The refund provisions were abolished in the 1992 referendum. Ps sued D and the Boards, challenging the constitutionality of the Rice Statutes both on their face and as applied. Ps moved for summary judgment. Ps contend the statutes are facially unconstitutional on the ground they permit an improper delegation of legislative authority. Ps argue that the Statutes permit a small group of private citizens to determine by majority vote whether D shall enforce and collect statutory assessments on rice and whether the refund provisions will be abolished. The court ruled in part for Ps holding that the abolishment of the refunds was unconstitutional. Ds’ appealed. Ps cross-appealed contending La. R.S. 3:3534 and 3544 are facially unconstitutional in their entirety as an improper delegation of legislative authority.