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PRINTER'S NO. 1540
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
1035
Session of
2020
INTRODUCED BY PHILLIPS-HILL, MASTRIANO, REGAN AND DiSANTO,
FEBRUARY 13, 2020
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, FEBRUARY 13, 2020
A JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, providing for proposal of amendments by
constitutional conventions.
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 XI be amended by adding a section to read:
ยง 2. Proposal of amendments by constitutional conventions.
(a) At the next primary or general election occurring at
least 90 days after adoption of this section, the following
question shall be submitted to the electorate of the
Commonwealth to determine the electorate's will regarding a
Constitutional Convention with limited powers:
Shall a Constitutional Convention be called in accordance
with, and subject to, the limitations and requirements of
section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution of
Pennsylvania to prepare for submission to the electorate
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proposals for the revision of Articles II, III, IV and V
of the Constitution of Pennsylvania?
(b) At the primary or general election that occurs every 20
years after the adoption of this section, if the General
Assembly during the legislative session immediately prior to the
primary or general election agrees to, by at least two-thirds of
the members elected to each House, a concurrent resolution
specifying the revision of an article or articles of this
Constitution, the following question shall be submitted to the
electorate of the Commonwealth to determine the electorate's
will regarding a Constitutional Convention with limited powers:
Shall a Constitutional Convention be called in accordance
with, and subject to, the limitations and requirements of
section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution of
Pennsylvania to prepare for submission to the electorate
proposals for the revision of (the article or articles)
of the Constitution of Pennsylvania as specified in the
concurrent resolution agreed to by the General Assembly
in the prior legislative session?
(c) (1) The county board of elections in each county shall
print in bound form separate official ballots in sufficient
numbers to furnish to the election officers in each election
district of the county one ballot to be supplied to each elector
at the primary election and also specimen ballots equal in
number to one-fifth of the official ballots.
(2) In districts where voting machines are used, the
question may appear on the face of the machine where the machine
is properly equipped for that purpose. Otherwise, a separate
printed ballot shall be used.
(3) The results of the election shall be tabulated by the
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proper election officers of each county and duly certified to
the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
(d) (1) If a majority of the electors voting upon the
question shall favor the holding of a Constitutional Convention
with limited powers, a Constitutional Convention shall be called
by the Governor. It shall consist of 150 members.
(2) Three district delegates shall be elected from each
senatorial district, as provided in this section. Each elector
may vote for not more than two candidates for the office of
delegate. The three candidates receiving the highest number of
votes shall be elected to the office of delegate.
(e) To serve as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention,
an individual must:
(1) Be at least 21 years of age.
(2) Have been a citizen and resident of this Commonwealth
for at least four years.
(3) Have resided in and been a registered elector of the
individual's respective senatorial district at least one year
prior to election as delegate.
(4) Reside in the delegate's respective senatorial district
during the delegate's term of service.
(f) In case of a vacancy in the office of delegate occurring
after the election, if:
(1) The member is an ex officio member, the vacancy shall be
filled by the individual assuming the office.
(2) The member was nominated in accordance with subsection
(g), all the remaining delegates shall elect a successor meeting
the qualification prescribed in this section.
(g) (1) Candidates for delegates to the convention shall be
nominated by petition in accordance with this subsection. A
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petition must be signed by at least 100 qualified electors of
the candidate's senatorial district, and petitions shall not
include any reference to the political affiliation of the
candidate.
(2) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall prescribe the
form of the petition in accordance with this subsection. The
Secretary of the Commonwealth shall certify the names of the
nominees to the county boards as provided by law no later than
60 days prior to the next upcoming primary or general election
occurring after passage of the referendum.
(3) The following may not serve as a delegate:
(i) The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Auditor General,
Attorney General, State Treasurer or a current member of the
General Assembly.
(ii) A current member of the Congress of the United States.
(iii) A sitting judge of a court.
(4) The petitions shall be filed in the office of the
Secretary of the Commonwealth not later than 75 days prior to
the next upcoming primary or general election occurring after
passage of the referendum. A filing fee of $25 shall be paid by
each candidate to the Secretary of the Commonwealth by certified
check or money order.
(5) The following shall apply:
(i) An elector may sign not more than two nomination
petitions for a delegate to represent the elector's district.
(ii) Every signer of a nomination petition shall:
(A) provide the signer's occupation and residence, giving
city, borough or township, with street and number, if any;
(B) state that the signer is a qualified elector of the
district named; and
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(C) add the date of signing, expressed in words or numbers.
(iii) A nomination petition may not be circulated prior to
20 days before the last day on which the petition may be filed.
(iv) A signature may not be counted unless it bears date
within 20 days of the last day of filing.
(6) Nomination petitions may be on one or more sheets, and
different sheets must be used for signers resident in different
counties. If more than one sheet are intended to constitute one
petition, they shall be bound together when offered for filing,
and each sheet shall be numbered consecutively at the foot of
each page, beginning with number one.
(7) Each sheet shall include an affidavit of the person who
circulated it, stating:
(i) that the person is a qualified elector of the senatorial
district named in the petition;
(ii) the person's residence, giving city, borough or
township, with street and number, if any;
(iii) that the signers of the petition were aware of the
contents of the petition;
(iv) that the signers' respective residences are correctly
stated in the petition;
(v) that each signer resides in the district named in the
affidavit;
(vi) that each person signed on the date set opposite the
person's name; and
(vii) that, to the best of the affiant's knowledge and
belief, the signers are qualified electors of the district.
(8) Each candidate for delegate shall file with the
Secretary of the Commonwealth an affidavit stating:
(i) the candidate's residence, with street and number, if
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any, and the candidate's post office address;
(ii) that the candidate is eligible for the office of
delegate to the Constitutional Convention;
(iii) that, if elected, the candidate will faithfully
observe the limitations and requirements imposed upon the
Constitutional Convention by this act; and
(iv) that the candidate has been a citizen and resident of
this Commonwealth for at least four years and has been a
registered elector for at least one year in the district which
the candidate seeks to represent.
(9) A candidate for election as a delegate to the
Constitutional Convention may withdraw the candidate's name by a
request in writing, signed by the candidate and acknowledged
before an officer empowered to administer oaths, filed in the
office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth not later than 5
p.m. on the fifth day next succeeding the last day for filing
nomination petitions.
(10) In the event of the death or withdrawal of a candidate
occurring prior to the time prescribed by this subsection,
substitute nominations shall be made in accordance with the
provisions of this section.
(h) (1) If approved by the electorate, elections for
delegates to the Constitutional Convention shall be held at the
next upcoming primary or general election.
(2) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall forward to the
county board of elections of each county the names of the
candidates for the office of delegate.
(3) Each elector voting at the election shall be entitled to
vote for two candidates for the office of delegate from the
elector's district.
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(4) The three candidates receiving the highest number of
votes in each district shall be the elected delegates of that
district.
(5) Within 15 days, the county boards of elections shall
make to the Secretary of the Commonwealth the proper
certification of returns of votes cast for the candidates for
election for the office of delegate.
(i) At the same time as certification of the other election
results, the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall certify to the
Governor the names of the delegates elected to the
Constitutional Convention.
(j) In the case of a tie vote, the election shall be
determined in accordance with the law.
(k) (1) The Lieutenant Governor, the President pro tempore
of the Senate, the Majority Leader of the Senate, the Majority
Whip of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the
Minority Whip of the Senate, the Minority Caucus Chairperson of
the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the
Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, the Majority
Whip of the House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the
House of Representatives, the Minority Whip of the House of
Representatives and the Minority Caucus Chairperson of the House
of Representatives shall constitute a Preparatory Committee to
make arrangements for the Constitutional Convention.
(2) The Preparatory Committee shall have authority
immediately following an affirmative vote by the electorate on
the question of holding a Constitutional Convention to lease or
otherwise obtain suitable meeting and office space, to purchase
or lease office supplies, equipment, books and other
publications and other materials necessary for the work of the
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Constitutional Convention and to hire or engage secretaries,
technical assistants, printers and other employees or
consultants as may be deemed necessary for the preparatory work
of the Constitutional Convention.
(3) The Preparatory Committee shall initiate studies,
inquiries, surveys or analyses the Preparatory Committee may
deem relevant through the committee's own personnel or in
cooperation with public or private agencies, including
institutes, universities, foundations or research organizations.
In so doing, the Preparatory Committee may hold public or
private hearings.
(4) The Preparatory Committee may issue subpoenas under the
hand and seal of the chairperson commanding any person to appear
before it and to answer questions touching matters properly
being inquired into by the committee and to produce books,
papers, records and documents that the committee deems
necessary. The subpoenas may be served upon any person and shall
have the force and effect of subpoenas issued out of the courts
of this Commonwealth.
(5) A person who willfully neglects or refuses to testify
before the Preparatory Committee or to produce any book, paper,
record or document shall be subject to the penalties provided by
the laws of this Commonwealth in the case.
(6) Each member of the Preparatory Committee shall have
power to administer oaths and affirmations to witnesses
appearing before the Preparatory Committee.
(7) The Preparatory Committee may request and shall receive
from any department, division, board, bureau, commission or
agency of the Commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof
facilities, assistance and data as it deems necessary or
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desirable to carry out properly the Preparatory Committee's
powers and duties.
(8) The Preparatory Committee may enter into agreements and
perform acts that may be necessary, desirable or proper to carry
out the provisions of this section.
(9) The Preparatory Committee shall prepare budgets for the
holding of the Constitutional Convention. The recommended
budgets shall be submitted to the General Assembly in sufficient
time for the General Assembly to pass the necessary
appropriation acts.
(10) The members of the Preparatory Committee shall receive
no compensation for service but shall be allowed their actual
and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their
duties.
(11) The authority of the Preparatory Committee shall expire
upon election of convention officers, except to sign documents
necessary to obtain payments from the State Treasury for any
commitments made under the authority of this section prior
thereto and to submit any report to the Constitutional
Convention.
(12) A fund shall be established in the State Treasury for
the purpose of accepting appropriations for the expenses of the
convention, as well as donations from the public.
(l) (1) The Constitutional Convention shall convene in the
Hall of the House of Representatives in Harrisburg, Dauphin
County, Pennsylvania, on July 1 at 12 o'clock noon. The
Constitutional Convention shall be called to order by the
Governor.
(2) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall certify the
returns of the elections for delegates to the Constitutional
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Convention and issue certificates of election to those elected.
(3) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
or the Chief Justice's appointee shall then administer the oath
of office in the following form:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support,
obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and
the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will
discharge the duties of my office with fidelity."
(m) (1) The Constitutional Convention shall organize by
electing from among its delegates a president, secretary and
other officers necessary for the transaction of its business.
(2) No member of the General Assembly may be an officer of
the Constitutional Convention.
(3) The Constitutional Convention shall determine the rules
of its own proceedings and shall be the final judge of the
qualifications of its own delegates. The Constitutional
Convention shall determine rules for the conduct of its
delegates and provide for the censure, suspension or removal of
a delegate, if necessary.
(n) The delegates to the Constitutional Convention shall in
all cases, except treason, felony, violation of their oath of
office and breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from
arrest during their attendance at the session of the
Constitutional Convention and in going to and returning from the
Constitutional Convention and, for any speech or debate in the
Constitutional Convention, they shall not be questioned in any
other place.
(o) In addition to any powers provided in this section, the
Constitutional Convention shall have all of the powers given to
the Preparatory Committee under subsection (k).
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(p) The Constitutional Convention shall have the power to
adjourn from time to time and to meet at appropriate places in
the City of Harrisburg as it shall determine.
(q) The Constitutional Convention shall conclude its session
sine die not later than November 1.
(r) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the
Constitutional Convention under subsection (a), shall have the
power by a vote of a majority of the 150 delegates to make
recommendations to the electorate on the following subjects
only:
(i) The following sections of Article II of this
Constitution:
(A) Section 3, as it relates to limits or changes in the
length of terms for members of the General Assembly.
(B) Section 4, as it relates to the full-time or part-time
nature of the General Assembly.
(C) Section 8, as it relates to compensation of the members
of the General Assembly.
(D) Section 16, as it relates to the number of seats in the
General Assembly and the allocation of Senatorial seats.
(ii) The following sections of Article III of this
Constitution:
(A) Subarticle A, as it relates to amendments of legislation
on third consideration.
(B) Section 13, as it relates to prohibitions on voting.
(C) Section 22, as it relates to no-bid contracts.
(D) Section 24, as it relates to spending without an enacted
budget in place.
(E) Section 26, as it relates to pensions and cost-of-living
increases.
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(iii) The following sections of Article IV of this
Constitution:
(A) Section 4, as it relates to the office of Lieutenant
Governor. The recommendations may include removal of the office
of Lieutenant Governor.
(B) Section 14, as it relates to simultaneously serving as
Lieutenant Governor and a member of the Senate.
(iv) The following sections of Article V of this
Constitution:
(A) Section 10, as it relates to independent review.
(B) Section 17, as it relates to work outside of court
service.
(C) Section 18, as it relates to Supreme Court involvement,
special tribunals and the selection of non-bar members for
disciplinary board.
(2) (i) A delegate may not support a proposal that goes
beyond the subject matter specified under paragraph (1). This
prohibition specifically includes consideration at any stage of
the Constitutional Convention of an amendment which in any way
seeks to amend, modify or repeal a provision regarding any of
the following:
(A) The Declaration of Rights of the Constitution of
Pennsylvania.
(B) The imposition of a graduated income tax by the
Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions.
(C) Article VIII, section 1 of this Constitution.
(ii) A delegate who receives and accepts an item of value,
excluding education materials, from a person in connection with
service as a delegate shall be immediately disqualified and
immediately replaced by an alternate.
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(3) A Constitutional Convention under subsection (b) shall
have the power by a vote of a majority of the 150 delegates to
make recommendations to the electorate on the subjects contained
in the concurrent resolution agreed to by each house as provided
in subsection (b).
(4) A delegate may not submit a proposal that goes beyond
the subject matter specified in paragraph (3).
(5) In dealing with the subject matter as prescribed by this
subsection, the Constitutional Convention may recommend that a
provision be transferred to another article, modified, deleted,
repealed, substituted by an entirely new provision or continued
without change.
(6) The Constitutional Convention shall make its
recommendations regarding legislative apportionment as a
replacement for the existing Article II, section 16 of this
Constitution and shall arrange its recommendations on the other
subjects assigned to it in separate articles.
(7) The Constitutional Convention's recommendations on an
article shall not be numbered. If approved by the electors, the
articles shall be numbered by the Governor as provided by law.
(s) (1) The recommendations of the Constitutional
Convention shall be submitted to the electorate separately as
determined by the Constitutional Convention. The recommendations
may be in any number of sections which the Constitutional
Convention deems suitable.
(2) The Constitutional Convention shall frame the ballot
questions that bring the recommendations to the electorate.
(3) There shall be no fewer than one separate question for
each of the articles to be recommended by the Constitutional
Convention.
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(t) (1) The changes proposed, together with the questions
framed by the Constitutional Convention, shall be certified by
the president and secretary of the Constitutional Convention to
the Secretary of the Commonwealth not later than March 7 of the
year following adjournment.
(2) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall then advertise
the proposals of the Constitutional Convention in a newspaper of
general circulation, if any, in every county of this
Commonwealth once during the first week in April.
(3) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall:
(i) publish on the Department of State's publicly accessible
Internet website the changes to the Constitution of Pennsylvania
as proposed by the Constitutional Convention in convenient form;
(ii) send a copy to each elector requesting a copy; and
(iii) send ten copies through the county boards of elections
to each polling place for the use of the voters during the
election.
(u) The recommendations of the Constitutional Convention
shall be submitted to the electorate for approval or rejection
on a separate ballot at the next primary election. In districts
where voting machines are used, the question may appear on the
face of the machine if the machine is properly equipped for that
purpose; otherwise, a separate printed ballot shall be used. A
majority vote of the electors voting on a recommendation shall
be necessary for the adoption of the recommendations of the
Constitutional Convention. If adopted, a recommendation shall
become effective as provided in the recommendation or by the
schedule attached to the recommendation. The Governor, upon
receipt from the Secretary of the Commonwealth of a certificate
of the results of the election, shall immediately make
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proclamation of the results.
(v) (1) Members of the Constitutional Convention shall
receive an allowance for traveling expenses at the same rate and
computed on the same basis as traveling expenses for State
Senators, payable monthly.
(2) The members of the General Assembly and officers and
employees of the Commonwealth shall be reimbursed for the
expenses under this subsection only if not otherwise paid by the
Commonwealth.
(w) (1) An individual who is employed or engaged for
compensation, by any other person or a partnership, committee,
association, corporation or other organization, to advocate
passage or defeat of proposals of the Constitutional Convention
or proposals of any of the Constitutional Convention's delegates
shall, before beginning those activities, submit to the
secretary of the Constitutional Convention a registration
statement made under oath or affirmation before an officer
authorized by law to administer oaths stating:
(i) The name and business address of the lobbyist.
(ii) The name and address of the person, partnership,
committee, association, corporation or other organization by
whom the lobbyist is employed or engaged.
(iii) The name and address of the person, partnership,
committee, association, corporation or other organization in
whose interest the lobbyist will advocate the passage or defeat
of proposals of the Constitutional Convention.
(iv) The duration of the lobbyist's employment.
(2) Whenever any of the facts under paragraph (1) change,
the lobbyist shall file a revised registration statement.
(3) A registration statement under this subsection shall be
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a public record.
(4) A person violating any of the provisions of this
subsection commits a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be
sentenced to pay a fine as prescribed by law or to imprisonment
for not more than one year, or both.
(x) Sessions of the Constitutional Convention as a whole
shall be open to the public.
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
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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