Rhode Island Co-Equal Branches of Government Act, Question 6 (2000)

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Rhode Island Question 6, also known as the Co-Equal Branches of Government Act (Advisory Referendum Proposed by the Governor), was on the November 7, 2000 election ballot in Rhode Island. Question 6 was an advisory question placed on the ballot by the Governor. It passed with 66% of voters in favor.

Voter guide

The following language appeared in the Rhode Island Voter Information Handbook:[1]

Summary from the Voter Information Handbook: The Governor has proposed the following question to the State's electors:

Should a Constitutional Convention be called to expressly establish that Rhode Island government consists of separate and co-equal legislative, executive, and judicial branches similar to those established by the United States Constitution and the Constitutions of all 49 other states?

A vote to "Approve" means you would like to see a Constitutional Convention called to expressly establish that Rhode Island has three co-equal and independent branches of government. A vote to "Reject" means that you are opposed to a Constitutional Convention on this issue.

A Constitutional Convention is an assembly of delegates or representatives of the people of the State for the purpose of revising or amending the State's Constitution.

This referendum is advisory only. A favorable vote will not necessarily result in a Constitutional Convention or result in a Convention which proposes a constitutional amendment to effectuate this change. Under the Constitution, only the General Assembly possesses the power to place a binding question on the ballot regarding whether a Constitutional Convention should be called. It may do so at any general election, including the next one in 2002. If it fails to do so, however, the State Constitution would require that the Secretary of State must do so at the general election in 2004. A favorable vote would then result in a Constitutional Convention. No revision or amendment of the State Constitution can take effect until it has been submitted to and approved by the voters.

This question has been proposed by the Governor of the State pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws Section 17-5-2 which gives the Governor the power to order the Secretary of State to submit to the electors at any election such questions as the Governor shall deem necessary.

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