Amending the State Constitution

From this week’s House Republican Newsletter:

There has been a lot of talk the last week regarding amending the Iowa Constitution. Article X of the Iowa Constitution and several different Iowa Code Sections actually address amending the Iowa Constitution. There are two different processes to go about amending the Iowa Constitution. Below is a description of each process.

Legislative Approval: Under the first process, an amendment to the constitution is passed by both chambers in two consecutive general assemblies. The amendment must be published prior to the election of the second general assembly. Then, unless it is specifically stated, the amendment shall be voted on at the next general election.

The timeline for this process is as follows:

  • An amendment could be passed by both Houses of the General Assembly in either 2009 or 2010.
  • The amendment must be published before the 2010 general election.
  • An amendment with exactly the same language would need to be passed by both Houses of the General Assembly in either 2011 or 2012.
  • The amendment would then be voted on by the 2012 general election unless the legislature votes to require it to take place at an earlier time.

Constitutional Convention: The Iowa Constitution also calls for Iowans to be asked if they want a Constitutional Convention to be held every ten years beginning 1970 or whenever the General Assembly requests it. A Constitutional Convention is a gathering of elected delegates who propose revisions and amendments to the Iowa Constitution.

Under this process the topic would not necessarily be required to be limited to a single amendment or issue.

Once the delegates do their work, Iowans will then vote on each of the proposed amendments to the Iowa Constitution, if any.

The timeline for this process is as follows:
Process A – Governor Calls for the Constitutional Convention

  • 60 days prior to the 2010 election the Governor shall issue a proclamation directing that at the General Election there be proposed the question regarding convening the Constitutional Convention.
  • During the 2010 General Election, Iowans vote for or against calling a Constitutional Convention.
  • If Iowans vote for calling a Constitutional Convention the General Assembly, during the 2011 session, must provide for the election of delegates to the state convention, process of conducting business at the Constitutional Convention, and the time and manner for any proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution for the people to vote.
  • Votes to amend the Iowa Constitution would be held when determined by the 2011 General Assembly. Specifically, elections regarding amendments to the Iowa Constitution could be held as early as 2011.

Process B – Legislature Calls for a Constitutional Convention

  • The legislature, during the 2009 or 2010 legislative session, passes a law directing that at an upcoming there be proposed the question regarding convening the Constitutional Convention.
  • 60 days prior to the election the Governor shall issue a proclamation directing that there be proposed the question regarding convening the Constitutional Convention.
  • During the 2010 General Election, Iowans vote for or against calling a Constitutional Convention.
  • If Iowans vote for calling a Constitutional Convention the General Assembly, during the 2011 session, must provide for the election of delegates to the state convention, process of conducting business at the Constitutional Convention, and the time and manner for any proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution for the people to vote.
  • Votes to amend the Iowa Constitution would be held when determined by the 2011 General Assembly. Specifically, elections regarding amendments to the Iowa Constitution could be held as early as 2011.
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Dansette