Article XIV, Illinois Constitution

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Illinois Constitution
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Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution is labeled Constitutional Revision. It has four sections which describe the different ways that the constitution can be amended going forward.

A constitutional convention can be held if:

  • 60% of the members of both houses of the Illinois General Assembly vote to place such a question on the ballot and voters say "yes" by a supermajority vote of 60% of those voting on the question or a majority of those who cast a ballot for any office in that election.
  • Every twenty years, the question of whether to hold a convention is automatically referred to a statewide ballot.

A legislatively-referred constitutional amendment can amend the constitution under these conditions:

  • 60% of the members of both houses of the Illinois General Assembly vote to put in on the ballot and voters say "yes" to the proposed amendment by a supermajority vote of 60% of those voting on the question or a majority of those who cast a ballot for any office in that election.
  • The legislature is not allowed to submit amendments to more than three constitutional articles in any one election.
  • If a constitutional convention has been called, the legislature is not allowed to submit proposed amendments to the constitution until after the convention has met, recommended amendments (if any) to the constitution and the voters have voted on those proposed amendments.

An initiated constitutional amendment can amend the constitution under these conditions:

  • An initiated amendment can only apply to Article IV of the Illinois Constitution.
  • Signatures equal to 8% of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election must be collected.
  • Amendments are "limited to structural and procedural subjects" contained in Article IV.
  • An amendment proposed in this fashion becomes part of the constitution if voters say "yes" by a supermajority vote of 60% of those voting on the question or a majority of those who cast a ballot for any office in that election.

In addition to the previous power of the General Assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution, this article allows voters to propose amendments to change the operations of the General Assembly. This article also attempts to regulate the actions of the General Assembly in proposing or ratifying federal constitutional amendments. These new provisions have resulted in several court decisions.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Constitutional Convention

(a) Whenever three-fifths of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly so direct, the question of whether a Constitutional Convention should be called shall be submitted to the electors at the general election next occurring at least six months after such legislative direction.

(b) If the question of whether a Convention should be called is not submitted during any twenty-year period, the Secretary of State shall submit such question at the general election in the twentieth year following the last submission.

(c) The vote on whether to call a Convention shall be on a separate ballot. A Convention shall be called if approved by three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election.

(d) The General Assembly, at the session following approval by the electors, by law shall provide for the Convention and for the election of two delegates from each Legislative District; designate the time and place of the Convention's first meeting which shall be within three months after the election of delegates; fix and provide for the pay of delegates and officers; and provide for expenses necessarily incurred by the Convention.

(e) To be eligible to be a delegate a person must meet the same eligibility requirements as a member of the General Assembly. Vacancies shall be filled as provided by law.

(f) The Convention shall prepare such revision of or amendments to the Constitution as it deems necessary. Any proposed revision or amendments approved by a majority of the delegates elected shall be submitted to the electors in such manner as the Convention determines, at an election designated or called by the Convention occurring not less than two nor more than six months after the Convention's adjournment. Any revision or amendments proposed by the Convention shall be published with explanations, as the Convention provides, at least one month preceding the election.

(g) The vote on the proposed revision or amendments shall be on a separate ballot. Any proposed revision or amendments shall become effective, as the Convention provides, if approved by a majority of those voting on the question.[1]

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Amendments by General Assembly

(a) Amendments to this Constitution may be initiated in either house of the General Assembly. Amendments shall be read in full on three different days in each house and reproduced before the vote is taken on final passage. Amendments approved by the vote of three-fifths of the members elected to each house shall be submitted to the electors at the general election next occurring at least six months after such legislative approval, unless withdrawn by a vote of a majority of the members elected to each house.

(b) Amendments proposed by the General Assembly shall be published with explanations, as provided by law, at least one month preceding the vote thereon by the electors. The vote on the proposed amendment or amendments shall be on a separate ballot. A proposed amendment shall become effective as the amendment provides if approved by either three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election.

(c) The General Assembly shall not submit proposed amendments to more than three Articles of the Constitution at any one election. No amendment shall be proposed or submitted under this Section from the time a Convention is called until after the electors have voted on the revision or amendments, if any, proposed by such Convention.[1]

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Constitutional Initiative for Legislative Article

Amendments to Article IV of this Constitution may be proposed by a petition signed by a number of electors equal in number to at least eight percent of the total votes cast for candidates for Governor in the preceding gubernatorial election. Amendments shall be limited to structural and procedural subjects contained in Article IV. A petition shall contain the text of the proposed amendment and the date of the general election at which the proposed amendment is to be submitted, shall have been signed by the petitioning electors not more than twenty-four months preceding that general election and shall be filed with the Secretary of State at least six months before that general election. The procedure for determining the validity and sufficiency of a petition shall be provided by law. If the petition is valid and sufficient, the proposed amendment shall be submitted to the electors at that general election and shall become effective if approved by either three-fifths of those voting on the amendment or a majority of those voting in the election.[1]

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Amendments to the Constitution of the United States

The affirmative vote of three-fifths of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly shall be required to request Congress to call a Federal Constitutional Convention, to ratify a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or to call a State Convention to ratify a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The General Assembly shall not take action on any proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States submitted for ratification by legislatures unless a majority of the members of the General Assembly shall have been elected after the proposed amendment has been submitted for ratification. The requirements of this Section shall govern to the extent that they are not inconsistent with requirements established by the United States.[1]

See also

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