A bill to limit constitutional amendments to one subject passed its first committee unanimously Tuesday. The bill sponsor says bundling issues into one ballot initiative is unfair.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation preventing constitutional amendments from covering two subjects. The Constitution Revision Commission convenes every two decades to examine the state constitution and propose changes for voter consideration. Last year the 37-member commission met for months before putting seven proposed amendments on the ballot. Five included more than a single subject. All of those proposals were approved by voters. State Senator Rob Bradley is the bill sponsor.
"The bundling of several issues into one constitutional amendment is a terrible way to amend our constitution. it’s unfair to voters who may approve of one issue and disapprove of another," said Bradley.
Currently bundling can’t be done by the legislature or in citizen initiatives due to a single subject rule. This bill would give voters the ability to decide whether or not they think it’s fair.
"If its passed by three-fifths in both houses, this issue will go on the ballot in the 2020 general election. If it goes on the ballot it requires the approval of 60% of the voters," said Bradley.
The bill received strong support from all committee members and the public. Republican State Senator Dennis Baxley says he heard from some constituents that they just didn’t vote at all on the amendments because of the bundled subjects.
"That’s a sad day when they just don’t vote because they don’t understand it and its convoluted, got too many issues wrapped up in each. Somehow they all passed and I think that’s one of the reasons," said Baxley
The bill has two more committee stops in the Senate before reaching the floor. Another bill filed would eliminate the CRC, Senator Bradley says he isn’t sure if he supports it just yet.