Constitutional Convention

Questions and Answers

What are some of the important provisions currently in the state constitution?

Are there provisions in the constitution that directly affect public retirees?

  Article 16, section 5: Public pensions are exempt from state income tax.

Can there be a “limited” convention to just fix the sections that need fixing?

How are the delegates selected?

Who can be a delegate?

Elected officials are allowed to collect two public salaries (double dipping is not prohibited), and this inflated double salary can be included in “final average salary” when determining pension benefits. The last time a convention was held (1967), 80% of the delegates were public officials.

Convention Finances- Where does the money come from?

How much would a convention cost?

  And, there is no way of knowing when a convention would end. Delegates can stay convened until their “work is completed”.

Is there a commission in place to identify issues prior to having a convention?

   There is no comprehensive list of issues that a convention should consider.

Have state officials taken a position on convening a convention?

Is the question of holding a convention determined by a majority of those voting in the 2017 election?

In 1965, the last time such a ballot question was approved, the vote was 1,681,483 in favor and 1,468,431 opposed. An additional 2.9 million people voted in the election, but skipped the ballot question.

Can the constitution be amended without holding a convention?

Are there any big elections happening this year?

How often have we have had constitutional conventions?

  There have been nine in our history, dating back to 1777.

What was the result of the recent conventions?

The 1967 convention put all of it proposals as a single up or down vote on the entire package. The most controversial proposal was to repeal the “Blaine Amendment” which prohibits public funding of religious schools. The entire package was overwhelmingly voted down by more than two million votes (72-28%).

What was the result in 1997, the last time the question was on the ballot?

What was the political climate regarding the 1997 vote?

Convening a constitutional convention was opposed by an unusual coalition that included: unions, trial lawyers, advocates for the poor, women’s   groups, and environmentalists.