A Joint committee of the legislature referred two more proposed constitutional amendments for potential voter consideration and failed a measure previously expected to easily garner committee support.

On Wednesday (April 10), the panel could not muster enough votes to allow SJR 5, a tort reform proposal, out of the committee.  The proposed constitutional amendment had a competing measure and a rift in the legal community complicated its passage.  At the beginning of the session, there appeared to be consensus and momentum for a rewrite of the state’s tort laws.

Lawmakers did approve SJR 7, a measure that would give the legislature more review and approval over administrative rules. The proposal would make state agencies that promulgate rules be approved by a legislative committee in a legislative session or in the interim.

The panel also approved SJR 16, which changes the rules for initiative and referedum proposals. The measure requires those who submit statewide petitions to meet a 90% threshold of valid signatures if they seek to correct or amend an insufficient petition. It also requires the 90% signature threshold to be met in at least 15 counties.

The two proposed constitutional amendments must still be approved by the full House and Senate before qualifying as a proposal for voter consideration in the 2014 general election.

Last week, the panel approved HJR 1009, an ethics reform and term limits extension proposal. It has cleared the House and is awaiting a Senate referral.

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