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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 20, 2021 11:52 AM
From: Representative Jason Ortitay
To: All House members
Subject: Reform of the method by which constitutional amendments are published.
The process of amending the Pennsylvania Constitution is straight-forward: The General Assembly proposes amendments on behalf of the People of Pennsylvania and the People ultimately approve or reject those proposed amendments.  Other than the delegation of certain ministerial duties, it is a direct process that does not require the involvement of the executive or judicial branches.
One of those delegated ministerial duties requires the Secretary of the Commonwealth to publish notice of proposed constitutional amendments in newspapers. Notably, the failure of the Department of State to carry out that ministerial duty for House Bill 963 last session effectively halted the progress of that constitutional amendment in that form.
Under this proposed constitutional amendment, the duty to publish the notice will be shifted to the Secretary of the Senate or the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, as applicable.  Further, the duty to write the question that appears before the voters on ballots and the summary of the proposed constitutional amendment would be shifted away from the executive branch agencies to the General Assembly.
I look forward to working with you on this important proposed constitutional amendment.

Introduced as HB1010