The State Constitutional

Convention Clearinghouse

U.S. states where the people can use a periodic state constitutional convention referendum
to bypass the legislature's gatekeeping power over constitutional amendment

Rhode Island Constitutional Conventions

See The Rhode Island State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse for information on Rhode Island’s November 4, 2014 and earlier referendums on whether to call a constitutional convention. The information below was a placeholder until that website was created.


Constitutional Amendment Section
of Rhode Island’s Constitution

Color Code: Highlights in red; Majority requirements in bold.

Article XIV

Section 1. Procedure for proposing and approving amendments. — The general assembly may propose amendments to the constitution of the state by a roll call vote of a majority of the members elected to each house. Any amendment thus proposed shall be published in such manner as the general assembly shall direct, and submitted to the electors at the next general election as provided in the resolution of approval; and, if then approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon, it shall become a part of the constitution.

Section 2. Constitutional conventions. — The general assembly, by a vote of a majority of the members elected to each house, may at any general election submit the question, “Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the constitution?” to the qualified electors of the state. If the question be not submitted to the people at some time during any period of ten years, the secretary of state shall submit it at the next general election following said period. Prior to a vote by the qualified electors on the holding of a convention, the general assembly, or the governor if the general assembly fails to act, shall provide for a bi-partisan preparatory commission to assemble information on constitutional questions for the electors. If a majority of the electors voting at such election on said question shall vote to hold a convention, the general assembly at its next session shall provide by law for the election of delegates to such convention. The number of delegates shall be equal to the number of members of the house of representatives and shall be apportioned in the same manner as the members of the house of representatives. No revision or amendment of this constitution agreed upon by such convention shall take effect until the same has been submitted to the electors and approved by a majority of those voting thereon.

Rhode Island’s Constitution, Article XIV, Section 2

Source: Rhode Island Constitution

Secondary Sources

Coleman, Peter J. The Transformation of Rhode Island, 1790-1860. Greenwood Press (CT), 1985.

Conley, Patrick T. Democracy in Decline: Rhode Island’s Constitutional Development, 1776-1841. Rhode Island Publications Soc, 1977.

———. “Substantial Reforms Could Result from a Constitutional Convention.” Providence Journal, 1984 Nov 02 1984, A-21.

Conley, Patrick T., and Robert G. Flanders. The Rhode Island State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Vol. 44: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007.

Cornwell, Elmer E., Jay S. Goodman, and Wayne R. Swanson. Constitutional Conventions: The Politics of Revision.  New York: National Municipal League, 1974.

———. State Constitutional Conventions. Praeger, 1975.

Dennison, George M. The Dorr War: Republicanism on Trial, 1831-1861. University Press of Kentucky Lexington, 1976.

McLoughlin, William G. Rhode Island: A Bicentennial History. WW Norton, 1978.

Raven, Rory. The Dorr War: Treason, Rebellion & the Fight for Reform in Rhode Island. The History Press, 2010.