The State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse
U.S. states where the people can use a state constitutional convention to bypass the legislature's gatekeeping power over constitutional amendment
Color Code: Highlights in red; Majority requirements in bold.
Article XVII REVISION AND AMENDMENT
METHODS OF PROPOSAL Section 1. Revisions of or amendments to this constitution may be proposed by constitutional convention or by the legislature. [Ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978] CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION Section 2. The legislature may submit to the electorate at any general or special election the question, “Shall there be a convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the Constitution?” If any nine-year period shall elapse during which the question shall not have been submitted, the lieutenant governor shall certify the question, to be voted on at the first general election following the expiration of such period. ELECTION OF DELEGATES If a majority of the ballots cast upon such a question be in the affirmative, delegates to the convention shall be chosen at the next regular election unless the legislature shall provide for the election of delegates at a special election. Notwithstanding any provision in this constitution to the contrary, other than Section 3 of Article XVI, any qualified voter of the district concerned shall be eligible to membership in the convention. The legislature shall provide for the number of delegates to the convention, the areas from which they shall be elected and the manner in which the convention shall convene. The legislature shall also provide for the necessary facilities and equipment for the convention. The convention shall have the same powers and privileges, as nearly as practicable, as provided for the convention of 1978. MEETING The constitutional convention shall convene not less than five months prior to the next regularly scheduled general election. ORGANIZATION; PROCEDURE The convention shall determine its own organization and rules of procedure. It shall be the sole judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its members and, by a two-thirds vote, may suspend or remove any member for cause. The governor shall fill any vacancy by appointment of a qualified voter from the district concerned. RATIFICATION; APPROPRIATIONS The convention shall provide for the time and manner in which the proposed constitutional revision or amendments shall be submitted to a vote of the electorate; provided that each amendment shall be submitted in the form of a question embracing but one subject; and provided further, that each question shall have designated spaces to mark YES or NO on the amendment. At least thirty days prior to the submission of any proposed revision or amendments, the convention shall make available for public inspection, a full text of the proposed amendments. Every public library, office of the clerk of each county, and the chief election officer shall be provided such texts and shall make them available for public inspection. The full text of any proposed revision or amendments shall also be made available for inspection at every polling place on the day of the election at which such revision or amendments are submitted. The convention shall, as provided by law, be responsible for a program of voter education concerning each proposed revision or amendment to be submitted to the electorate. The revision or amendments shall be effective only if approved at a general election by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question, this majority constituting at least fifty per cent of the total vote cast at the election, or at a special election by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question, this majority constituting at least thirty per cent of the total number of registered voters. The provisions of this section shall be self-executing, but the legislature shall make the necessary appropriations and may enact legislation to facilitate their operation. [Am Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978; am SB 578 (1979) and SB 1703 (1980) and election Nov 4, 1980] AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY LEGISLATURE Section 3. The legislature may propose amendments to the constitution by adopting the same, in the manner required for legislation, by a two-thirds vote of each house on final reading at any session, after either or both houses shall have given the governor at least ten days’ written notice of the final form of the proposed amendment, or, with or without such notice, by a majority vote of each house on final reading at each of two successive sessions. Upon such adoption, the proposed amendments shall be entered upon the journals, with the ayes and noes, and published once in each of four successive weeks in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each senatorial district wherein such a newspaper is published, within the two months’ period immediately preceding the next general election. At such general election the proposed amendments shall be submitted to the electorate for approval or rejection upon a separate ballot. The conditions of and requirements for ratification of such proposed amendments shall be the same as provided in section 2 of this article for ratification at a general election. [Ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978] VETO Section 4. No proposal for amendment of the constitution adopted in either manner provided by this article shall be subject to veto by the governor. [Ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978] CONFLICTING REVISIONS OR AMENDMENTS Section 5. If a revision or amendment proposed by a constitutional convention is in conflict with a revision or amendment proposed by the legislature and both are submitted to the electorate at the same election and both are approved, then the revision or amendment proposed by the convention shall prevail. If conflicting revisions or amendments are proposed by the same body and are submitted to the electorate at the same election and both are approved, then the revision or amendment receiving the highest number of votes shall prevail. [Add Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978] Source: Hawaii Constitution
Kosaki, Richard H., Constitutions and Constitutional Conventions of Hawaii: 1840-1978
Yip, Elijah, When Reason Offends Common Sense, Hawaii State Bar Association, July 1998.
Trask, Amy K., History of Revision: The Constitutional Convention Question in Hawai’i, 1950-2008, 31 U. Haw. L. Rev. 291 (2008-2009).
1978 Election Cycle
All 34 ConCon Amendment Proposals Pass, Honululu Magazine, August 2009.
NOVEMBER 7, 1978 The 1978 Constitutional Convention brought huge changes to the way Hawaii is run as a state. All 34 proposed amendments to the state constitution passed. Among the most dramatic: term limits for state officeholders, a balanced-budget requirement and unionization of state employees. “The ConCon solidified that liberal base of the Islands … because the roots were heavily influenced by liberal values. It was a device to mobilize the public,” said Ira Rohter, a UH Manoa political science professor and local pundit who passed away a week after we interviewed him. The state’s second Constitutional Convention also paved the way for Native Hawaiian rights through the establishment of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the preservation of Hawaiian language through diacritics and the use of Hawaiian street names.
National history day project by a high school student. Published on Mar 9, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLCW63S6SGA
1996 Election Cycle
1998 Election Cycle
2008 Election Cycle--News
Eager, Haryy, No need for a ConCon, Maui Rotarians told, Honolulu Advertiser, October 28, 2008. Niesse, Mark, Hawaii has battle over constitutional redo, U.S.A. Today, October 25, 2008. Ads by unions urge voters to say ‘no’, Star-Bulletin, October 12, 2008 Anti-Con Con group gets mainland funds, Star-Bulletin, September 26, 2008 Dan Nakaso, Should Hawaii Rewrite Its Constitution — Again?, Time Magazine, October 30, 2008.
We haven’t had a constitutional convention here in Hawaii since 1978. But that could change soon. There is currently a task force trying to figure out the impact on the state, and after a vote, we could have another con con by 2010. But how does this affect you? How much will it cost? Who would represent your interests? What issues would be addressed? Lieutenant governor Duke Aiona is here to shed some light on this. Uploaded on Jun 5, 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5273rv5dj4
Editorial, “ConCon Would Help Hawai’i Chart Future Course More Clearly,” Honolulu Advertiser, June 24, 2007, p. B2 Kehaulani, A Call For Constitutional Convention, Modern Issues in Hawaii, October 12, 2008.
Feder Lee, Anne, “Voters Must Weigh Decision to Call ConCon,” Honolulu Advertiser, December 28, 2007, p. A18 Drews, Paul, Costs, consequences worry opponents of the “Con Con”, KTRE.com, October 28, 2008.
Does Hawaii Need a Con Con?, Honolulu Magazine, August 21, 2008.
1. Hawaii Alliance 2. HGEA Ballot Committee 3. HSTA Educational Alliance 4. It’s Time Hawaii 5. National Education Association Ballot Measure Fund 6. Yes for Constitutional Convention Source: State of Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission
UHPA Recommends a No Vote on Con Con, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (the union that represents faculty)
2008 Election Cycle--Pro & Con Videos
Vote No Videos
We are voting no on con con. Uploaded on Nov 1, 2008.
On November 4th, 2008, the State of Hawaii will ask its voters to decide if the State should hold a Constitutional Convention. VOTE NO! With the recent cuts to education in addition to a poor economy, Hawaii cannot afford a multi-million dollar Constitutional Convention. Money for classroom resources or for a convention? You decide. Uploaded on Oct 9, 2008
Vote Yes Video
Lt. Governor Aiona discusses holding a constitutional convention in Hawaii. Voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to convene a constitutional convention in the November 2008 General Election. Uploaded on Jul 22, 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp4n95jrivw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIQl9IqdFbg
2018 Election Cycle
He Huliau ia no Hawaii: The Role of Constitutional Conventions in Hawaii, King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, November 8, 2014