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PRINTER'S NO. 68
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
92
Session of
2015
INTRODUCED BY BOSCOLA, BROWNE, SCHWANK, TEPLITZ, WOZNIAK,
FOLMER, RAFFERTY AND WAGNER, JANUARY 14, 2015
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, JANUARY 14, 2015
A JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, authorizing the use of the indirect
initiative and referendum as powers reserved to the people.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby resolves as follows:
Section 1. The following amendment to the Constitution of
Pennsylvania is proposed in accordance with Article XI:
That Article III be amended by adding a section to read:
ยง 33. Powers reserved to the people.
(a) (1) The legislative power of this Commonwealth shall be
vested in the Senate and the House of Representatives, but the
people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and
amendments to this Constitution at the polls.
(2) The indirect initiative is the power of the electors to
propose statutes and amendments to this Constitution and to
cause the General Assembly to take a vote in each House on the
approved proposal in the current legislative session or, if the
proposal is approved at a general election, no later than the
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next legislative session.
(3) An indirect initiative measure may be proposed by
presenting to the Secretary of the Commonwealth a petition that
sets forth the text of the proposed statute or amendment to this
Constitution and is certified by the Secretary of the
Commonwealth to have been signed by registered electors equal in
number to 5% of the votes for all candidates for Governor at the
last gubernatorial election in not less than 45 counties in this
Commonwealth.
(4) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall only certify a
measure on which all signatures on petitions are obtained and
affixed to the petitions for the measure during the same regular
session of the General Assembly and which is submitted by 5 p.m.
on Friday after the second Thursday of February in the second
year of that session.
(5) An indirect initiative measure embracing more than one
subject may not be submitted to the electors or have any effect.
(6) No measure that relates to religion, religious practices
and institutions; the appointment, qualification, tenure,
removal, recall or compensation of judges; the reversal of a
judicial decision; the powers, creation or abolition of courts;
the making of a specific appropriation of money from the
treasury; and the naming of a private corporation to perform a
function or to have a power or duty may be proposed by an
indirect initiative petition.
(7) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall submit the
measure at the next general, municipal, primary or special
statewide election held at least 75 days after it qualifies.
(8) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall then submit the
measure to the clerk of the Senate within ten Senate session
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days of its receipt and to the clerk of the House of
Representatives within ten House session days of its receipt.
(9) The measure shall be referred to the appropriate
committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and
the committees shall report out their respective measures for
consideration by the full Senate and the House of
Representatives, respectively. The General Assembly shall not
finally adjourn a legislative session without a vote being taken
by the Senate and the House of Representatives on an indirect
initiative measure that is properly before the General Assembly.
(b) (1) The legislative power of this Commonwealth shall be
vested in the Senate and the House of Representatives, but the
people reserve to themselves the power, at their own option, to
reject statutes or parts of statutes passed by the General
Assembly.
(2) The referendum is the power of the electors to reject
statutes or parts of statutes except urgency statutes or
statutes calling elections.
(3) A referendum measure may be proposed by presenting to
the Secretary of the Commonwealth, within 90 days after the
enactment date of the statute, a petition certified to have been
signed by registered electors equal in number to 5% of the votes
for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial
election in not less than 45 counties in this Commonwealth
asking that the statute or part of it be submitted to the
electors.
(4) If a petition is certified to have been signed by
registered electors equal to 10% of the votes for all candidates
for Governor at the last gubernatorial election in in not less
than 45 counties in this Commonwealth, the effective date of the
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enacted legislation is suspended until the next election at
which time the measure shall be submitted to the electors.
(5) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall submit the
measure at the next general, municipal, primary or special
statewide election held at least 75 days after it qualifies.
(c) (1) The General Assembly shall provide the manner in
which petitions shall be circulated, presented and certified and
require by law measures to insure full disclosure of
disbursements made and receipts obtained by parties who have an
interest in indirect initiative and referendum measures and who
have exceeded a statutory threshold for these disbursements and
receipts for any one indirect initiative or referendum measure
in each election. The General Assembly shall also require by law
reasonable limits on contributions made to parties who have an
interest in the passage or defeat of an indirect initiative or
referendum measure for each measure and in each election. The
General Assembly shall also require by law the full disclosure
of any disbursements made by a person or corporation from
another state to advocate the passage or defeat of an indirect
initiative or referendum measure. The General Assembly shall,
within 90 days following approval of this section, enact the
legislation outlined in this paragraph.
(2) An indirect initiative or referendum petition, in order
to be eligible for certification by the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, shall first be signed by 100 registered electors
of the Commonwealth, the originators, who shall pay an
administrative fee not exceeding the fee required by law for the
filing of nomination petitions by candidates for public office
to be filled by the electors of the State-at-large. If the
Secretary of the Commonwealth shall certify that the petition
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contains the entire text of the measure, that the measure is
not, either affirmatively or negatively, substantially the same
as any measure which has been previously submitted to the
electors during the same session of the General Assembly and
that it contains only one subject which is not excluded from
consideration under this section, then the Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall provide blanks for the use of subsequent
signers and shall print at the top of each blank the names of
the first ten originators and a fair, concise summary, as
determined by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, of the proposed
measure as the summary will appear on the ballot.
(3) The Department of State shall, within ten days of the
certification of an indirect initiative or referendum petition
upon which the required number of signatures have been affixed,
prepare an explanation or argument, or both, for and also an
explanation or argument, or both, against the same. The
Secretary of the Commonwealth shall then publish the summary and
explanations and arguments, together with the entire text of the
measure, in as many newspapers of general circulation as deemed
by the Secretary of the Commonwealth to be sufficient to give
notice throughout this Commonwealth at least 20 days before the
election in which the measure is presented to the electors. This
information shall also be made available to the general public
in printed form.
(4) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall certify no more
than two indirect initiatives or two referendum measures in an
election. Each measure shall be limited to only one subject. If
more than two measures are submitted to the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, the two measures with the largest numbers of
signatures shall be certified. If two or more measures are
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substantially similar in subject matter, whether or not they
conflict, only the measure with the largest number of signatures
shall be certified.
(5) No more than three indirect initiative and referendum
measures may be certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth
in any two-year period.
(6) No measure may appear on the ballot in an election more
often than once during a legislative session.
(7) The General Assembly may not finally adjourn a
legislative session without a vote being taken by the Senate and
the House of Representatives on a referendum statute that is
properly before the General Assembly. The General Assembly may
override a referendum statute only upon a vote of two-thirds of
the members elected to the Senate and the House of
Representatives.
Section 2. (a) Upon the first passage by the General
Assembly of this proposed constitutional amendment, the
Secretary of the Commonwealth shall proceed immediately to
comply with the advertising requirements of section 1 of Article
XI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and shall transmit the
required advertisements to two newspapers in every county in
which such newspapers are published in sufficient time after
passage of this proposed constitutional amendment.
(b) Upon the second passage by the General Assembly of this
proposed constitutional amendment, the Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall proceed immediately to comply with the
advertising requirements of section 1 of Article XI of the
Constitution of Pennsylvania and shall transmit the required
advertisements to two newspapers in every county in which such
newspapers are published in sufficient time after passage of
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this proposed constitutional amendment. The Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall submit this proposed constitutional amendment
to the qualified electors of this Commonwealth at the first
primary, general or municipal election which meets the
requirements of and is in conformance with section 1 of Article
XI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and which occurs at least
three months after the proposed constitutional amendment is
passed by the General Assembly.
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