46 legislative filings for potential constitutional referrals

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 484 views 

The number of potential constitutional amendments for legislative consideration closed at 46 on Wednesday (Feb. 13), the last day of filing.

House members filed 29 proposals, or House Joint Resolutions, while Senators filed 17 proposals, or Senate Joint Resolutions. The resolutions range from tort reform, limiting legislative sessions, altering term limits for lawmakers to highway funding, eliminating constitutional offices, and reforming how citizen ballot initiatives qualify for consideration.

Later this session, the House and Senate State Agencies committees will whittle down the 46 proposals to a maximum of three to potentially refer to voters in the 2020 general election. The final three (or fewer) selections must be approved by majorities of both chambers.

Some of the high-profile potential amendments to the state’s constitution include:

SJR1 – To repeal the fiscal session and reduce the regular sessions to 60 days unless extended by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly

SJR2 – To allow the legislature to determine exceptions to the sovereign immunity clause of the constitution, in essence, permitting exceptions to allow lawsuits against the state.

SJR4 – To alter the process for citizen initiatives to qualify for the ballot.

SJR8 – To empower the legislature to limit the amount of punitive damages and noneconomic damages that may be awarded in certain jury trials.

SJR14 – To continue the levy of a one-half percent sales and use tax for the state’s four-lane highway system, county roads, and city streets.

HJR1005 – Would impact the offices of the Commissioner of State Lands, Auditor of State, and Lieutenant Governor and reduce the number of state constitutional officers.

HJR1006 – To elect Supreme Court Justices, Court Of Appeals Judges, Circuit Judges, and District Judges on a partisan basis.

HJR1028 – To amend Amendment 73, concerning term limits for State Representatives and State Senators.

There are several competing resolutions addressing similar concerns, such as term limits, highway funding, and citizen initiatives.

You can read a full list of House Joint Resolutions and Senate Joint Resolutions at the 92nd General Assembly’s web site at this link. Go to the “Search Bills by Range” link.