The Utah legislature, set to adjourn on March 14, 2019, has referred four constitutional amendments to the 2020 ballot.
HJR 1, Municipal Water Resources Amendment:
This amendment would allow a municipality to commit water resources or supply water outside its boundary or exchange water resources and revise provisions surrounding municipal water rights.
HJR 4, Legislator Qualifications Amendment:
This amendment would specify that qualifications of a legislator—such as age and voter registration—must apply as of the time of election or appointment rather than the time a legislator assumes office.
HJR 8, Removal of Exception to Slavery Prohibition for Criminals Amendment:
This amendment would remove part of the Utah Constitution that says slavery and involuntary servitude are allowable for the punishment of a crime. A similar amendment was referred to the 2020 ballot by the Nebraska State Legislature.
SJR 7, Gender-Neutral Constitutional Language Amendment:
This amendment would remove gender-specific language in the state constitution and replace it with gender-neutral language. For example, the amendment would update constitutional language to say things like “all persons” rather than “all men.”
At the general election on November 3, 2020, the amendments must be approved by a majority of voters voting in the election (not just a majority of voters voting on the amendment). Citizen initiatives can also be put on the 2020 ballot through signature petitions in Utah.
From 1996 through 2018, the state legislature referred 42 constitutional amendments to the ballot. Voters approved 38 and rejected four of the referred amendments. All of the amendments were referred to the ballot for general elections during even-numbered election years. The average number of amendments appearing on the general election ballot was between three and four. The approval rate at the ballot box was 90.48 percent during the 22-year period from 1996 through 2018. The rejection rate was 9.52 percent.