Missouri Constitutional Conventions
See The Missouri State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse for information on Missouri’s next referendum on Nov. 8, 2022 and earlier referendums.
Constitutional Amendment Section
of Missouri’s Constitution
Color Code: Highlights in red; Majority requirements in bold.
AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION
Section 1. Limitation on revision and amendment.
This constitution may be revised and amended only as therein provided.
Section 2(a). Proposal of amendments by general assembly.
Constitutional amendments may be proposed at any time by a majority of the members-elect of each house of the general assembly, the vote to be taken by yeas and nays and entered on the journal.
Section 2(b). Submission of amendments proposed by general assembly or by the initiative.
All amendments proposed by the general assembly or by the initiative shall be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection by official ballot title as may be provided by law, on a separate ballot without party designation, at the next general election, or at a special election called by the governor prior thereto, at which he may submit any of the amendments. No such proposed amendment shall contain more than one amended and revised article of this constitution, or one new article which shall not contain more than one subject and matters properly connected therewith. If possible, each proposed amendment shall be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in two newspapers of different political faith in each county, the last publication to be not more than thirty nor less than fifteen days next preceding the election. If there be but one newspaper in any county, publication for four consecutive weeks shall be made. If a majority of the votes cast thereon is in favor of any amendment, the same shall take effect at the end of thirty days after the election. More than one amendment at the same election shall be so submitted as to enable the electors to vote on each amendment separately.
(1956) Where publication of proposed amendment was defective in several counties but publication was had in one or more newspapers in every county the court held that the constitutional and statutory provisions prescribing the manner of publication were directory and that there had been a sufficient and substantial compliance therewith. State ex rel. Board of Fund Commissioners v. Holman (Mo.), 296 S.W.2d 482.
(1956) An amendment of a section of the constitution is not invalid though it modifies other provisions of the constitution if it deals with only one subject and matters properly connected therewith. State ex rel. Board of Fund Commissioners v. Holman (Mo.), 296 S.W.2d 482.
(1956) Adoption of § 37(a), Art. III, held valid against the charge that the proposal combined into one proposition the incurrence of indebtedness and issuance of bonds for distinct and different purposes not germane one to the other in violation of this section. State ex rel. Board of Fund Commissioners v. Holman (Mo.), 296 S.W.2d 482.
Section 3(a). Referendum on constitutional convention–qualifications of delegates –selection of nominees for district delegates and delegates-at-large –election procedure.
At the general election on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November 1962, and every twenty years thereafter, the secretary of state shall, and at any general or special election the general assembly by law may, submit to the electors of the state the question “Shall there be a convention to revise and amend the constitution?” The question shall be submitted on a separate ballot without party designation, and if a majority of the votes cast thereon is for the affirmative, the governor shall call an election of delegates to the convention on a day not less than three nor more than six months after the election on the question. At the election the electors of the state shall elect fifteen delegates-at-large and the electors of each state senatorial district shall elect two delegates. Each delegate shall possess the qualifications of a senator; and no person holding any other office of trust or profit (officers of the organized militia, school directors, justices of the peace and notaries public excepted) shall be eligible to be elected a delegate. To secure representation from different political parties in each senatorial district, in the manner prescribed by its senatorial district committee each political party shall nominate but one candidate for delegate from each senatorial district, the certificate of nomination shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state at least thirty days before the election, each candidate shall be voted for on a separate ballot bearing the party designation, each elector shall vote for but one of the candidates, and the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes in each senatorial district shall be elected. Candidates for delegates-at-large shall be nominated by nominating petitions only, which shall be signed by electors of the state equal to five percent of the legal voters in the senatorial district in which the candidate resides until otherwise provided by law, and shall be verified as provided by law for initiative petitions, and filed in the office of the secretary of state at least thirty days before the election. All such candidates shall be voted for on a separate ballot without party designation, and the fifteen receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected. Not less than fifteen days before the election, the secretary of state shall certify to the county clerk of the county the name of each person nominated for the office of delegate from the senatorial district in which the county, or any part of it, is included, and the names of all persons nominated for delegates-at-large.
Section 3(b). Convention of delegates–quarters–oath–compensation–quorum–vote required–organization, employees, printing–public sessions–rules –vacancies.
The delegates so elected shall be convened at the seat of government by proclamation of the governor within six months after their election. The facilities of the legislative chambers and legislative quarters shall be made available for the convention and the delegates. Upon convening all delegates shall take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States and of the state of Missouri, and to discharge faithfully their duties as delegates to the convention, and shall receive for their services the sum of ten dollars per diem and mileage as provided by law for members of the general assembly. A majority of the delegates shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and no constitution or amendment to this constitution shall be submitted to the electors for approval or rejection unless by the assent of a majority of all the delegates-elect, the yeas and nays being entered on the journal. The convention may appoint such officers, employees and assistants as it may deem necessary, fix their compensation, provide for the printing of its documents, journals, proceedings and a record of its debates, and appropriate money for the expenditures incurred. The sessions of the convention shall be held with open doors, and it shall determine the rules of its own proceedings, choose its own officers, and be the judge of the election, returns and qualifications of its delegates. In case of a vacancy by death, resignation or other cause, the vacancy shall be filled by the governor by the appointment of another delegate of the political party of the delegate causing the vacancy.
Section 3(c). Submission of proposal adopted by convention–time of election –effective date.
Any proposed constitution or constitutional amendment adopted by the convention shall be submitted to a vote of the electors of the state at such time, in such manner and containing such separate and alternative propositions and on such official ballot as may be provided by the convention, at a special election not less than sixty days nor more than six months after the adjournment of the convention. Upon the approval of the constitution or constitutional amendments the same shall take effect at the end of thirty days after the election. The result of the election shall be proclaimed by the governor.
Section 49. Reservation of power to enact and reject laws.
The people reserve power to propose and enact or reject laws and amendments to the constitution by the initiative, independent of the general assembly, and also reserve power to approve or reject by referendum any act of the general assembly, except as hereinafter provided.
Section 50. Initiative petitions–signatures required–form and procedure.
Initiative petitions proposing amendments to the constitution shall be signed by eight percent of the legal voters in each of two-thirds of the congressional districts in the state, and petitions proposing laws shall be signed by five percent of such voters. Every such petition shall be filed with the secretary of state not less than six months before the election and shall contain an enacting clause and the full text of the measure. Petitions for constitutional amendments shall not contain more than one amended and revised article of this constitution, or one new article which shall not contain more than one subject and matters properly connected therewith, and the enacting clause thereof shall be “Be it resolved by the people of the state of Missouri that the Constitution be amended:”. Petitions for laws shall contain not more than one subject which shall be expressed clearly in the title, and the enacting clause thereof shall be “Be it enacted by the people of the state of Missouri:”.
(1972) The requirement of this section that initiative petitions contain an enacting clause is mandatory and not directory. State ex rel. Scott v. Kirkpatrick (Mo.), 484 S.W.2d 161.
(1974) “Legal voter” held to mean “registered voter”. Scott v. Kirkpatrick (Mo.), 513 S.W.2d 442.
(1990) Organization of Missouri constitution into separate articles creates a presumption that matters pertaining to separate subjects should be set forth in separate articles and not commingled. The organizational headings of the constitution are strong evidence of what the drafters of the constitution meant by “one subject”. Missourians to Protect the Initiative Process v. Blunt, 799 S.W.2d 824 (Mo. 1990) (en banc).
Section 51. Appropriations by initiative–effective date of initiated laws –conflicting laws concurrently adopted.
The initiative shall not be used for the appropriation of money other than of new revenues created and provided for thereby, or for any other purpose prohibited by this constitution. Except as provided in this constitution, any measure proposed shall take effect when approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon. When conflicting measures are approved at the same election the one receiving the largest affirmative vote shall prevail.
(1974) A city charter amendment which would require salaries of city firemen to equal those of another city’s firemen violates this section in that it in effect constitutes an appropriation measure which failed to provide new revenues. State ex rel. Card v. Kaufman (Mo.), 517 S.W.2d 78.
Section 52(a). Referendum–exceptions–procedure.
A referendum may be ordered (except as to laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, and laws making appropriations for the current expenses of the state government, for the maintenance of state institutions and for the support of public schools) either by petitions signed by five percent of the legal voters in each of two-thirds of the congressional districts in the state, or by the general assembly, as other bills are enacted. Referendum petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state not more than ninety days after the final adjournment of the session of the general assembly which passed the bill on which the referendum is demanded.
(1952) Referendum petitions as to laws which become effective ninety days after recess under Art. III, Sec. 29, must be filed within ninety days after beginning of recess in order to be effective. State ex rel. Moore v. Toberman, 363 Mo. 245, 250 S.W.2d 701.
Section 52(b). Veto power–elections–effective date.
The veto power of the governor shall not extend to measures referred to the people. All elections on measures referred to the people shall be had at the general state elections, except when the general assembly shall order a special election. Any measure referred to the people shall take effect when approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon, and not otherwise. This section shall not be construed to deprive any member of the general assembly of the right to introduce any measure.
(1956) As general rule after a measure is passed by the legislature, approved by voters on referendum and proclaimed to be in effect, it will not be held invalid because of procedural errors occurring during the course of its adoption. Brown v. Morris, 365 Mo. 946, 290 S.W.2d 160.
(1956) Where bill was referred by a provision of the bill, the signature of the speaker of the house was not necessary to constitute the bill a valid enactment after its approval by people. Brown v. Morris, 365 Mo. 946, 290 S.W.2d 160.
Section 53. Basis for computation of signatures required.
The total vote for governor at the general election last preceding the filing of any initiative or referendum petition shall be used to determine the number of legal voters necessary to sign the petition. In submitting the same to the people the secretary of state and all other officers shall be governed by general laws.
Source: Missouri Constitution
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