Montana Economic Amendment (2012)

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The Montana Economic Amendment did not get placed on the 2012 ballot in the state of Montana as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure would have modified the "inalienable rights" section of the Montana Constitution, which guarantees the right of a "clean and healthful environment" for residents. If sent to the ballot and enacted, the measure would have added the words "and economically productive" to the clean and healthful phrase. According to the sponsor of the amendment, State Representative Dan Kennedy, "House Bill 292 is an opportunity bill. Jobs are a product of opportunity and resources. If you don't grow it or raise it or mine it or drill it, where are you going to get it?" The measure was introduced because of allegations that environmental groups use the phrase "clean and healthful" against mining and energy production.[1]

Text of measure

Constitutional changes

If enacted by the voters of Montana, the measure would have amended Article II, Section 3 of the Montana Constitution to read as follows:[2]

Section 3. Inalienable rights. All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. They include the right to a clean, healthful, and economically productive environment and the rights of pursuing life's basic necessities, enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and seeking their safety, health and happiness in all lawful ways. In enjoying these rights, all persons recognize corresponding responsibilities.

The current version reads as follows:

Section 3. All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. They include the right to a clean and healthful environment and the rights of pursuing life's basic necessities, enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and seeking their safety, health and happiness in all lawful ways. In enjoying these rights, all persons recognize corresponding responsibilities.

Path to the ballot

On February 4, 2011, the Montana House of Representatives voted to approve the amendment, with a count of 68-32. The measure was then sent to the Montana State Senate for a similar vote. Section 8 of Article XIV of the Montana Constitution says that an affirmative roll call vote of two-thirds of all members of the Montana Legislature is required to refer an amendment to the ballot. The Montana Legislature adjourned without the measure being sent to the ballot.[1]

References