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Introduced Version House Joint Resolution 27 History

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HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 27


               (By Delegates Overington, Armstead, Rowan,
Duke, Sumner, Walters, Andes, J. Miller
and Lane)
Introduced January 18, 2011; referred to the Committee on Constitutional Revision then the Judiciary.]

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, amending section one, article VI thereof; amending section two, article XIV thereof; and further amending said Constitution by adding a new article, designated article XV, all relating to the legislative powers held by the people of the state and the Legislature; the power of the registered voters and the power of the Legislature to propose amendments to this Constitution; and the reservation by and to the people and registered voters of this state the powers of initiative, referendum, and recall at all levels of government in this state; numbering and designating such proposed amendment; and providing a summarized statement of the purpose of such proposed amendment.
     Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, two thirds of the members elected to each house agreeing thereto:
                                            That the question of ratification or rejection of an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia be submitted to the voters of the state at the next general election to be held in the year 2012, which proposed amendment is that section one, article VI thereof, be amended; that section two, article XIV thereof, be amended; and that said Constitution be further amended by adding thereto a new article, designated article XV, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE VI. THE LEGISLATURE.
§1. Legislative powers held by people and by Legislature.
                                            
Except for the initiative and referendum powers reserved by and to the people of West Virginia in article fifteen of this Constitution, the legislative power shall be vested in a Senate and House of Delegates. The style of their acts shall be, "Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia."
ARTICLE XIV. AMENDMENTS -- HOW MADE.
§2. How amendments are made.
                                            
                                            Any amendment to the Constitution of the State may be proposed: (1) By registered voters through the initiative procedure set forth in article fifteen of this Constitution; or (2) by a member or members of the Legislature through the legislative procedure hereinafter set forth in this paragraph. An amendment to this Constitution may be proposed in either house of the Legislature at any regular or extraordinary session thereof; and if the same, being read on three several days in each house, be agreed to on its third reading, by two thirds of the members elected thereto, the proposed amendment, with the yeas and nays thereon, shall be entered on the journals, and it shall be the duty of the Legislature to provide by law for submitting the same to the voters of the state for ratification or rejection, at a special election, or at the next primary election or next general election thereafter, and cause the same to be published, at least three months before such election in some newspaper in every county in which a newspaper is printed. If a majority of the qualified voters, voting on the question at the polls held pursuant to such law, ratify the proposed amendment, it shall be in force from the time of such ratification, as part of the Constitution of the State. If two or more amendments be submitted at the same time, the vote on the ratification or rejection shall be taken on each separately, but an amendment may relate to a single subject or to related subject matters and may amend or modify as many articles and as many sections of the Constitution as may be necessary and appropriate in order to accomplish the objectives of the amendment. Whenever one or more amendments are submitted at a special election, no other question, issue or matter shall questions, issues matters may be voted upon at such special election, and the cost of such special election throughout the state shall be paid out of the State Treasury.
ARTICLE XV. INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL.
§1. Initiative and referendum; definitions, scope, limitations.
____________________________________________
The people of West Virginia reserve to themselves the powers of initiative and referendum. Subject to the restrictions set forth in this section, the power of initiative is the power of registered voters, through the use of a petition procedure established in this section, and governed by general law not in conflict therewith, to propose statutes and amendments to this Constitution and, at a regularly scheduled general or primary election held less than two years after the filing of a proper petition, to enact or reject said voter-proposed statutes and amendments by a simple majority of the votes cast on the issue. The power of the voters to propose, and to enact or to reject, laws is not subject to the veto power of the Governor or of any other individual.
____________________________________________Subject to the restrictions set forth in this section, the power of referendum is the power of registered voters, through the use of a petition procedure established in this section, and governed by general law not in conflict therewith, to propose the rejection of statutes, or specific portions thereof, newly enacted by the Legislature, and, at a regularly scheduled general or primary election held less than two years after the filing of a proper petition, to approve or reject said statutes, or specific portions thereof, by a simple majority of the votes cast on the issue.
____________________________________________The initiative and referendum powers reserved by and to the people pursuant to this section are further reserved to the registered voters of each municipality, county, or other election district as to all local, special, municipal, and county ordinances, charter provisions, rules, and other legislation of every character in or for said municipality, county, or other district if said ordinances, charter provisions, rules, and other legislation are ordained or enacted, or capable of being ordained or enacted, by the election council of a municipal corporation, by a county commission, by an elected board of a school district, or by any other elected public body, as the case may be.
____________________________________________The Legislature shall, by general law in accordance with this section, provide for initiative and referendum at each level of government in West Virginia. The Legislature shall further provide that a petition for initiative or referendum must be signed by registered voters residing in the district over which the elected public body in question has jurisdiction.
____________________________________________The Legislature shall further provide that, to initiate an initiative election pursuant to this section, a petition for initiative, including all copies thereof, must contain the signatures of a number of the registered voters residing in said district equal to at least ten percent of all of the votes cast for the office of Governor in said district in the most recent quadrennial general election preceding the filing of said petition. The Legislature shall further provide that, in addition to meeting the aforementioned requirements, to initiate a statewide initiative election pursuant to this section, a petition for initiative, including all copies thereof, must, in each county of two thirds of the counties in this state, contain the signatures of a number of the registered voters residing in said county equal to at least ten percent of all of the votes cast for the office of Governor in said county in the most recent quadrennial election preceding the filing of said petition.
____________________________________________The power of initiative described in this section may not be exercised to propose or to enact legislation which the applicable elected public body itself could not propose or enact; nor may the power of initiative be exercised in an attempt to name or to identify a particular individual to have or to hold any office, position, or term or condition of employment or to authorize a private firm or corporation to perform any function or to have any power or duty nor may the power of initiative be exercised in an attempt to amend this article. No more than five statewide initiative measures shall be voted upon at the same election. The Legislature shall, by general law, establish objective procedures to govern which statewide initiative measures will be voted upon at a particular election in the unlikely event that six or more such measures would otherwise qualify to be voted upon at a particular election:
Provided, That nothing in this section requires that the Legislature mandate special elections under such circumstances.
____________________________________________The Legislature shall further provide that, to initiate a referendum election pursuant to this section, a petition for referendum, including all copies thereof, must contain the signatures of a number of the registered voters residing in said district equal to at least ten percent of all of the votes cast for the office of Governor in said district in the most recent quadrennial general election preceding the filing of said petition. In addition to the above requirements, the Legislature shall further provide that, to initiate a statewide referendum election pursuant to this section, a petition for referendum, including all copies thereof, must, in each county of two thirds of the counties of this state, contain the signatures of a number of the registered voters residing in said county equal to at least ten percent of all of the votes cast for the office of Governor in said county in the most recent quadrennial election preceding the filing of said petition.
____________________________________________The Legislature shall further provide that, to be valid, said referendum petition must be filed with the proper official within a certain period, not less than ninety days in length, after the date the statute, ordinance, or other legislation the rejection of which the circulators of the referendum petition are seeking was enacted or ordained. The Legislature shall further provide that within a certain period, not more than thirty days in length, after the filing of a referendum petition with the proper official, said official shall certify said petition if it has been prepared, circulated, signed, and filed in compliance with applicable law. If the petition is so certified, the statute, ordinance or other legislation, or part thereof, the rejection of which is being sought, shall be immediately suspended until it has been approved or rejected at a referendum election, unless said legislation was enacted, with a recorded vote reflecting the yeas and nays, by at least two thirds of the members voting on the issue in each legislative body the approval of which was required for passage. If a referendum petition is filed against part of a statute or other legislation, the remainder may not be delayed from going into effect.
____________________________________________Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the power of referendum may not be exercised in an attempt to reject those portions of an act or ordinance which appropriate public funds or call an election.
____________________________________________A statute or any other legislation, or portion thereof, proposed through the filing of a proper initiative petition, or suspended through the filing of a proper referendum petition, takes effect on the date that it is approved by the voters unless the approved measure provides otherwise. If the provisions of two or more measures approved by the voters at the same election are in conflict, the provisions of the measure receiving the highest number of affirmative votes prevails unless one measure is by law subordinate to the other. If an amendment to this Constitution and a statute are both approved by the voters at the same election, said amendment prevails in any case of conflict.
____________________________________________The Legislature may amend or repeal any statute approved at an initiative election or referendum election. Any amendment to this Constitution approved at an initiative election may only be amended or repealed in the manner set forth in this section or in the manner set forth in article XIV of this Constitution.
____________________________________________The Legislature shall further provide for procedures relating to the preparation, circulation and filing of initiative petitions and referendum petitions, to the verification of signatures thereon, to the certification of such petitions, and to the conduct of initiative elections and referendum elections. The Legislature shall provide that proposed statutes set forth in initiative petitions comply with the requirements of Section 30, article VI of this Constitution. The Legislature shall, with such exceptions as it may deem prudent, enact legislation to encourage holding initiative elections and referendum elections on regularly scheduled election days and to discourage holding special initiative elections and special referendum elections. The Legislature may enact legislation to allow initiative elections and referendum elections involving municipalities to be held in conjunction with regularly scheduled elections involving state and county officials.
____________________________________________The Legislature shall, by general law, provide for the disclosure of contributions and expenditures relating to initiative elections and referendum elections and may enact other provisions to guarantee the integrity of initiative elections and referendum elections.
____________________________________________The authority granted to the Legislature in this section may not be construed in any way as a restriction on the right of the people of West Virginia to petition their government.
____________________________________________This section may not be construed to preempt or to repeal existing or future provisions of municipal charters which reserve to municipal voters additional initiative and referendum powers.
____________________________________________This section is to be liberally construed to ensure that the power of the people of West Virginia to propose, and to accept or reject, laws is not undermined by a system of overly complicated procedures.
§2. Recall; definitions, scope, limitations.
____________________________________________________Notwithstanding the provisions of Section VI, article four of this Constitution, the people of West Virginia reserve the power of recall. Subject to the restrictions set forth in this section, the power of recall is the power of registered voters, through the use of a petition procedure established in this section, and governed by general law not in conflict therewith, to propose the removal of any individual occupying any elective public office in West Virginia at any governmental level in West Virginia, and, at a regularly scheduled general or primary election held less than two years after the filing of a proper petition, to remove said individual from said office by a simple majority of the votes cast on the issue.
____________________________________________Subject to the provisions of this paragraph, any individual who is so recalled is ineligible to be elected or appointed to serve any unexpired portion of his or her term of office in that position or in a functionally equivalent elective public office in the same electoral district, or in another electoral district covering exactly the same territory, during said unexpired term of the office:
Provided, That the period of such ineligibility during an unexpired term of office shall not exceed four years. The vacancy in the office theretofore held by the recalled official shall be filled expeditiously in the manner provided by law for filling a vacancy arising from a resignation from that office.
____________________________________________The Legislature shall, by general law in accordance with this section, provide for the recall of all public officials occupying elective offices. The Legislature shall further provide that, to initiate a recall election pursuant to this section, a petition, including all copies thereof, to recall a public official occupying an elective office must contain the signatures of a number of the registered voters residing in the electoral district in and for which said official was elected, or appointed, equal to twenty percent of the votes cast for the candidate who received the highest number of votes for said office in the election at which said public official, if elected, was elected, or if said public official was appointed, in the election at which said public official's immediate elected predecessor was elected.
____________________________________________No individual occupying an elective public office may be subjected to a recall election held less than one year before the end of his or her regular legislatively established term of office. Nor may any such individual be subjected to more than one recall election during a particular term of office which he or she has served without interruption.
____________________________________________The Legislature shall further provide for procedures relating to the preparation, circulation, and filing of recall petitions, to the verification of signatures thereon, to the certification of such petitions, to the conduct of recall elections, and to the status, prior to a recall election, of a public official whose recall is sought. With respect to most public offices, the Legislature shall enact legislation to encourage holding recall elections on regularly scheduled election days and to discourage holding special recall elections. The Legislature may enact legislation to allow recall elections involving municipal officials to be held in conjunction with regularly scheduled elections involving state and county officials.
____________________________________________The Legislature may, but is not required to, provide by general law that a petition for recall set forth the reason or reasons that recall is sought and may further provide for the ability of the public official whose recall is sought to set forth, in a similar fashion, justification for his or her conduct in office. In any event, the sufficiency or accuracy of any such statement of reasons or justification shall, for the purposes of the recall election, be deemed to be a political, rather than a judicial, question.
____________________________________________The Legislature shall, by general law, provide for the disclosure of contributions and expenditures relating to recall elections and may enact other provisions designed to guarantee the integrity of recall elections.
____________________________________________The authority granted to the Legislature in this section may not be construed in any way as a restriction on the right of the people of West Virginia to petition their government.
____________________________________________This section may not be construed to preempt or to repeal existing or future provisions of municipal charters which reserve to municipal voters additional recall powers. Nor may this section be construed to authorize an individual to be subjected to a recall election during the term of office which that individual began serving prior to the date upon which this section was ratified.
____________________________________________This section is to be liberally construed to ensure that the power of the people of West Virginia to recall their elective public officials is not undermined by a system of overly complicated procedures.
____________________________________________
Resolved further, That in accordance with the provisions of article eleven, chapter three of the Code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, such proposed amendment is hereby numbered "Amendment No. 1" and designated as the "Initiative, Referendum, and Recall Amendment" and the purpose of the proposed amendment is summarized as follows: "To amend the State Constitution to enable the people of the State of West Virginia to reserve to themselves the powers of initiative, referendum, and recall, to enable the people to propose laws and Constitutional amendments, to attempt to reject statutes enacted by legislative bodies, and to recall elected officials, all through the circulation and filing of petitions and through elections held thereon."


  NOTE: The purpose of this resolution is to amend the State Constitution to give the people the powers of initiative, referendum and recall.

  Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present Constitution, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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