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Article XV, Mississippi Constitution

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Mississippi Constitution
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Article 15 of the Mississippi Constitution is entitled Amendments to the Constitution. It has 13 sections.

Section 273

Text of Section 273:

Amendment Process

(1) Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by the Legislature or by initiative of the people.

(2) Whenever two-thirds (2/3) of each house of the Legislature, which two-thirds (2/3) shall consist of not less than a majority of the members elected to each house, shall deem any change, alteration or amendment necessary to this Constitution, such proposed amendment, change or alteration shall be read and passed by two-thirds (2/3) vote of each house, as herein provided; public notice shall then be given by the Secretary of State at least thirty (30) days preceding an election, at which the qualified electors shall vote directly for or against such change, alteration or amendment, and if more than one (1) amendment shall be submitted at one (1) time, they shall be submitted in such manner and form that the people may vote for or against each amendment separately; and, notwithstanding the division of the Constitution into sections, the Legislature may provide in its resolution for one or more amendments pertaining and relating to the same subject or subject matter, and may provide for one or more amendments to an article of the Constitution pertaining and relating to the same subject or subject matter, which may be included in and voted on as one (1) amendment; and if it shall appear that a majority of the qualified electors voting directly for or against the same shall have voted for the proposed change, alteration or amendment, then it shall be inserted as a part of the Constitution by proclamation of the Secretary of State certifying that it received the majority vote required by the Constitution; and the resolution may fix the date and direct the calling of elections for the purposes hereof.

(3) The people reserve unto themselves the power to propose and enact constitutional amendments by initiative An initiative to amend the Constitution may be proposed by a petition signed over a twelve-month period by qualified electors equal in number to at least twelve percent (12%) of the votes for all candidates for Governor in the last gubernatorial election. The signatures of the qualified electors from any congressional district shall not exceed one-fifth (1/5) of the total number of signatures required to qualify an initiative petition for placement upon the ballot. If an initiative petition contains signatures from a single congressional district which exceed one-fifth (1/5) of the total number of required signatures, the excess number of signatures from that congressional district shall not be considered by the Secretary of State in determining whether the petition qualifies for placement on the ballot.

(4) The sponsor of an initiative shall identify in the text of the initiative the amount and source of revenue required to implement the initiative. If the initiative requires a reduction in any source of government revenue, or a reallocation of funding from currently funded programs, the sponsor shall identify in the text of the initiative the program or programs whose funding must be reduced or eliminated to implement the initiative. Compliance with this requirement shall not be a violation of the subject matter requirements of this section of the Constitution.

(5) The initiative process shall not be used:

(a) For the proposal, modification or repeal of any portion of the Bill of Rights of this Constitution;

(b) To amend or repeal any law or any provision of the Constitution relating to the Mississippi Public Employees' Retirement System;

(c) To amend or repeal the constitutional guarantee that the right of any person to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in any labor union or organization; or

(d) To modify the initiative process for proposing amendments to this Constitution.

(6) The Secretary of State shall file with the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate the complete text of the certified initiative on the first day of the regular session. A constitutional initiative may be adopted by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature. If the initiative is adopted, amended or rejected by the Legislature; or if no action is taken within four (4) months of the date that the initiative is filed with the Legislature, the Secretary of State shall place the initiative on the ballot for the next statewide general election.

The chief legislative budget officer shall prepare a fiscal analysis of each initiative and each legislative alternative. A summary of each fiscal analysis shall appear on the ballot.

(7) If the Legislature amends an initiative, the amended version and the original initiative shall be submitted to the electors. An initiative or legislative alternative must receive a majority of the votes thereon and not less than forty percent (40%) of the total votes cast at the election at which the measure was submitted to be approved. If conflicting initiatives or legislative alternatives are approved at the same election, the initiative or legislative alternative receiving the highest number of affirmative votes shall prevail.

(8) If an initiative measure proposed to the Legislature has been rejected by the Legislature and an alternative measure is passed by the Legislature in lieu thereof, the ballot titles of both such measures shall be so printed on the official ballots that a voter can express separately two (2) preferences: First, by voting for the approval of either measure or against both measures, and, secondly, by voting for one measure or the other measure. If the majority of those voting on the first issue is against both measures, then both measures fail, but in that case the votes on the second issue nevertheless shall be carefully counted and made public. If a majority voting on the first issue is for the approval of either measure, then the measure receiving a majority of the votes on the second issue and also receiving not less than forty percent (40%) of the total votes cast at the election at which the measure was submitted for approval shall be law. Any person who votes for the ratification of either measure on the first issue must vote for one (l) of the measures on the second issue in order for the ballot to be valid. Any person who votes against both measures on the first issue may vote but shall not be required to vote for any of the measures on the second issue in order for the ballot.to be valid. Substantially the following form shall be a compliance with this subsection:


INITIATED BY PETITION AND ALTERNATIVE BY LEGISLATURE


Initiative Measure No.____, entitled (here insert the ballot title of the initiative measure).

Alternative Measure No.____A, entitled (here insert the ballot title of the alternative measure).



VOTE FOR APPROVAL OF EITHER, OR AGAINST BOTH:

FOR APPROVAL OF EITHER Initiative No.____

OR Alternative No.____A ( ) AGAINST Both Initiative No.____

AND Alternative No. ____A ( )


AND VOTE FOR ONE


FOR Initiative Measure No. ____ ( ) FOR Alternative Measure No. ____A ( )


(9) No more than five (5) initiative proposals shall be submitted to the voters on a single ballot, and the first five (5) initiative proposals submitted to the Secretary of State with sufficient petitions shall be the proposals which are submitted to the voters. The sufficiency of petitions shall be decided in the first instance by the Secretary of State, subject to review by the Supreme Court of the state, which shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all such cases.

(10) An initiative approved by the electors shall take effect thirty (30) days from the date of the official declaration of the vote by the Secretary of State, unless the measure provides otherwise.

(11) If any amendment to the Constitution proposed by initiative petition is rejected by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon, no initiative petition proposing the same, or substantially the same, amendment shall be submitted to the electors for at least two (2) years after the date of the election on such amendment.

(12) The Legislature shall provide by law the manner in which initiative petitions shall be circulated, presented and certified.

(13) The Legislature may enact laws to carry out the provisions of this section but shall in no way restrict or impair the provisions of this section or the powers herein reserved to the people.

NOTE: The 1958 amendment to Section 273 was proposed by Laws 1958, ch. 629 for submission to the electors of the state in an election held on August 26, 1958, and upon ratification by the electorate at said election, was inserted by Laws 1959, ch. 78, Extraordinary Session.

The 1989 amendment to Section 273 was proposed by Laws 1989, ch. 702, Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 513. The electorate, however, rejected the proposed amendment on June 20, 1989.

The 1992 amendment of Section 273 was proposed by Laws 1992, ch. 715, Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 516, and upon ratification by the electorate on November 3, 1992, was inserted by proclamation of the Secretary of State on December 8, 1992.

Laws 1998, ch. 619, House Concurrent Resolution No. 61, provides in pertinent part:

“BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATIVE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI,

That the following amendment to the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 is proposed to the qualified electors of the state:

Amend Section 273, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, to read as follows:”

(1) Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by the Legislature or by initiative of the people.

(2) Whenever two-thirds (2/3) of each house of the Legislature, which two-thirds (2/3) shall consist of not less than a majority of the members elected to each house, shall deem any change, alteration or amendment necessary to this Constitution, such proposed amendment, change or alteration shall be read and passed by two-thirds (2/3) vote of each house, as herein provided; public notice shall then be given by the Secretary of State at least thirty (30) days preceding an election, at which the qualified electors shall vote directly for or against such change, alteration or amendment, and if more than one (1) amendment shall be submitted at one (1) time, they shall be submitted in such manner and form that the people may vote for or against each amendment separately; and, notwithstanding the division of the Constitution into sections, the Legislature may provide in its resolution for one or more amendments pertaining and relating to the same subject or subject matter, and may provide for one or more amendments to an article of the Constitution pertaining and relating to the same subject or subject matter, which may be included in and voted on as one (1) amendment; and if it shall appear that a majority of the qualified electors voting directly for or against the same shall have voted for the proposed change, alteration or amendment, then it shall be inserted as a part of the Constitution by proclamation of the Secretary of State certifying that it received the majority vote required by the Constitution; and the resolution may fix the date and direct the calling of elections for the purposes hereof.

(3) The people reserve unto themselves the power to propose and enact constitutional amendments by initiative An initiative to amend the Constitution may be proposed by a petition signed over a twelve-month period by qualified electors equal in number to at least twelve percent (12%) of the votes for all candidates for Governor in the last gubernatorial election. The signatures of the qualified electors from any congressional district shall not exceed one-fifth (1/5) of the total number of signatures required to qualify an initiative petition for placement upon the ballot. If an initiative petition contains signatures from a single congressional district which exceed one-fifth (1/5) of the total number of required signatures, the excess number of signatures from that congressional district shall not be considered by the Secretary of State in determining whether the petition qualifies for placement on the ballot.

(4) The sponsor of an initiative shall identify in the text of the initiative the amount and source of revenue required to implement the initiative. If the initiative requires a reduction in any source of government revenue, or a reallocation of funding from currently funded programs, the sponsor shall identify in the text of the initiative the program or programs whose funding must be reduced or eliminated to implement the initiative. Compliance with this requirement shall not be a violation of the subject matter requirements of this section of the Constitution.

(5) The initiative process shall not be used:

(a) For the proposal, modification or repeal of any portion of the Bill of Rights of this Constitution;

(b) To amend or repeal any law or any provision of the Constitution relating to the Mississippi Public Employees' Retirement System;

(c) To amend or repeal the constitutional guarantee that the right of any person to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in any labor union or organization; or

(d) To modify the initiative process for proposing amendments to this Constitution.

(6) The Secretary of State shall file with the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate the complete text of the certified initiative on the first day of the regular session. A constitutional initiative may be adopted by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature. If the initiative is adopted, amended or rejected by the Legislature; or if no action is taken within four (4) months of the date that the initiative is filed with the Legislature, the Secretary of State shall place the initiative on the ballot for the next statewide general election.

The chief legislative budget officer shall prepare a fiscal analysis of each initiative and each legislative alternative. A summary of each fiscal analysis shall appear on the ballot.

(7) If the Legislature amends an initiative, the amended version and the original initiative shall be submitted to the electors. An initiative or legislative alternative must receive a majority of the votes thereon and not less than forty percent (40%) of the total votes cast at the election at which the measure was submitted to be approved. If conflicting initiatives or legislative alternatives are approved at the same election, the initiative or legislative alternative receiving the highest number of affirmative votes shall prevail.

(8) If an initiative measure proposed to the Legislature has been rejected by the Legislature and an alternative measure is passed by the Legislature in lieu thereof, the ballot titles of both such measures shall be so printed on the official ballots that a voter can express separately two (2) preferences: First, by voting for the approval of either measure or against both measures, and, secondly, by voting for one measure or the other measure. If the majority of those voting on the first issue is against both measures, then both measures fail, but in that case the votes on the second issue nevertheless shall be carefully counted and made public. If a majority voting on the first issue is for the approval of either measure, then the measure receiving a majority of the votes on the second issue and also receiving not less than forty percent (40%) of the total votes cast at the election at which the measure was submitted for approval shall be law. Any person who votes for the ratification of either measure on the first issue must vote for one (l) of the measures on the second issue in order for the ballot to be valid. Any person who votes against both measures on the first issue may vote but shall not be required to vote for any of the measures on the second issue in order for the ballot.to be valid. Substantially the following form shall be a compliance with this subsection:


INITIATED BY PETITION AND ALTERNATIVE BY LEGISLATURE


Initiative Measure No.____, entitled (here insert the ballot title of the initiative measure).

Alternative Measure No.____A, entitled (here insert the ballot title of the alternative measure).



VOTE FOR APPROVAL OF EITHER, OR AGAINST BOTH:

FOR APPROVAL OF EITHER Initiative No.____

OR Alternative No.____A ( ) AGAINST Both Initiative No.____

AND Alternative No. ____A ( )


AND VOTE FOR ONE


FOR Initiative Measure No. ____ ( ) FOR Alternative Measure No. ____A ( )


(9) No more than five (5) initiative proposals shall be submitted to the voters on a single ballot, and the first five (5) initiative proposals submitted to the Secretary of State with sufficient petitions shall be the proposals which are submitted to the voters. The sufficiency of petitions shall be decided in the first instance by the Secretary of State, subject to review by the Supreme Court of the state, which shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all such cases.

(10) An initiative approved by the electors shall take effect thirty (30) days from the date of the official declaration of the vote by the Secretary of State, unless the measure provides otherwise.

(11) If any amendment to the Constitution proposed by initiative petition is rejected by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon, no initiative petition proposing the same, or substantially the same, amendment shall be submitted to the electors for at least two (2) years after the date of the election on such amendment.

(12) The Legislature shall provide by law the manner in which initiative petitions shall be circulated, presented and certified. To prevent signature fraud and to maintain the integrity of the initiative process the state has a compelling interest in insuring that no person shall circulate an initiative petition or obtain signatures on an initiative petition unless the person is a resident of this state at the time of circulation. For the purposes of this subsection the term “resident” means a person who is domiciled in Mississippi as evidenced by an intent to maintain a principal dwelling place in Mississippi indefinitely and to return to Mississippi if temporarily absent, coupled with an act or acts consistent with that intent. Every person who circulates an initiative petition shall print and sign his name on each page of an initiative petition, or on a separate page attached to each, certifying that he was a resident of this state at the time of circulating the petition. The Secretary of State shall refuse to accept for filing any page of an initiative petition upon which the signatures appearing thereon were obtained by a person who was not a resident of this state at the time of circulatin the petition, and an initiative measure shall not be placed on the ballot if the Secretary of State determines that without such signatures the petition clearly bears an insufficient number of signatures. The provisions of this subsection (12) shall be applicable to all initiative measures that have not been placed on the ballot at the time this proposed amendment is ratified by the electorate.

(13) The Legislature may enact laws to carry out the provisions of this section but shall in no way restrict or impair the provisions of this section or the powers herein reserved to the people.

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this proposed amendment shall be submitted by the Secretary of State to the qualified electors at an election to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November 1998, as provided by Section 273 of the Constitution and by general law.”


“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the explanation of this proposed amendment for the ballot shall read as follows: “This proposed constitutional amendment provides that only a person who is a resident of this state may circulate an initiative petition or obtain signatures on an initiative petition for the purpose of proposing an amendment to the Mississippi Constitution.”


“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this resolution, immediately upon adoption by the Legislature, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.”


Schedule

That no inconvenience may arise from the changes in the Constitution of this state, in order to carry the new Constitution into complete operation, it is hereby declared that ----

Section 274

Text of Section 274:

Laws to Remain in Force

The laws of this state now in force, not repugnant to this Constitution, shall remain in force until amended or repealed by the legislature, or until they expire by limitation. All statute laws of this state repugnant to the provisions of this Constitution, except as provided in the next three sections, shall continue and remain in force until the first day of April, A.D. 1892, unless sooner repealed by the legislature.

Section 275

Text of Section 275:

Repeal of Laws Repugnant to Constitution

All laws of this state which are repugnant to the following portions of this Constitution shall be repealed by the adoption of this Constitution, to-wit: Laws repugnant to--

(a) All the ordinances of this convention;

(b) The provisions of Section 183, prohibiting counties, cities, and towns from voting subscriptions to railroad and other corporations or associations;

(c) The provisions of Sections 223 to 226, inclusive, of Article 10, prohibiting the leasing of penitentiary convicts.

Section 276

Text of Section 276:

Laws Repugnant to Franchise and Election Provisions

All laws of the state which are repugnant to the provisions of Sections 240 to 253, inclusive, of Article 12, on the subject of franchise and elections, shall be and remain in force until the first day of January, A. D. 1891, and no longer.

Section 277

Text of Section 277:

Laws Repugnant to Apportionment Provisions

All laws of this state which are repugnant to the provisions of Article 13, Sections 254 to 256, inclusive, on the subject of apportionment of representatives and senators in the legislature shall be and remain in force until the first day of October, A.D. 1891, but no longer.

Section 278

Text of Section 278:

Appointment of Persons to Draft Laws

The governor shall, as soon as practicable, appoint three suitable persons, learned in the law, as commissioners, whose duty it shall be to prepare and draft such general laws as are contemplated in this Constitution, and such other laws as shall be necessary and proper to put into operation the provisions thereof and as may be appropriate to conform the general statutes of the state to the Constitution. Said commissioners shall present the same, when prepared, to the legislature at its next regular session; and the legislature shall provide reasonable compensation therefore.

Section 279

Text of Section 279:

Continuation of Writs, Actions and Causes of Actions

All writs, actions, causes of action, proceedings, prosecutions, and rights of individuals and bodies corporate, and of the state, and charters of incorporation shall continue; and all indictments which shall have been found, or which shall hereafter be found, and all prosecutions begun, or that may be begun, for any crime or offense committed before the adoption of this Constitution may be proceeded with and upon as if no change had taken place.

Section 280

Text of Section 280:

Jurisdiction of Courts in Preexisting Actions

For the trial and determination of all suits, civil and criminal, begun before the adoption of this Constitution, the several courts of this state shall continue to exercise in said suits the powers and jurisdictions heretofore exercised by them; for all other matters said courts are continued as organized courts under this Constitution, with such powers and jurisdiction as is herein conferred on them respectively.

Section 281

Text of Section 281:

Accrual of Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures

All fines, penalties, forfeitures, and escheats, accruing to the state of Mississippi under the Constitution and laws heretofore in force shall accrue to the use of the state of Mississippi under this Constitution, except as herein otherwise provided.

Section 282

Text of Section 282:

Preexisting Bonds Remain Binding

All recognizances, bonds, obligations, and all other instruments entered into or executed before the adoption of this Constitution, to the state of Mississippi, or to any state, county, public or municipal officer or body, shall remain binding and valid, and the rights and liabilities upon the same shall be continued, and may be prosecuted as provided by law.

Section 283

Text of Section 283:

Crimes and Misdemeanors

All crimes and misdemeanors and penal actions shall be tried, prosecuted, and punished as though no change had taken place, until otherwise provided by law.

Section 284

Text of Section 284:

Continuation in Office

All officers-state, district, county, and municipal-now in office in this state, shall be entitled to hold the respective offices now held by them, except as otherwise herein provided, and until the expiration of the time for which they were respectively elected or appointed, and shall receive the compensation and fees now fixed by the statute laws in force when this Constitution is adopted.

Section 285

Text of Section 285:

Abrogated or Repealed Laws Not Revived

The adoption of this Constitution shall not have the effect, nor shall it be construed, to revive or put in force any law heretofore abrogated or repealed.

This Constitution, adopted by the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, shall be in force and effect from and after this, the first day of November, A.D. 1890.

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