Ryan Byrne

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Missouri General Assembly refers two constitutional amendments to the ballot during 2022 session

The Missouri General Assembly passed resolutions for two constitutional amendments during the 2022 legislative session, which adjourned on May 13. Voters will decide on the amendments at the general election on Nov. 8, 2022. The two amendments join a third proposal that legislators referred to the ballot during the 2021 legislative session.

One of this session’s constitutional amendments received support from a majority of Democrats and Republicans. The second proposal, which addresses police funding, largely divided the parties. In Missouri, a simple majority vote is required in the General Assembly to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, and Republicans control both chambers. Constitutional amendments do not require the governor’s signature to be placed on the ballot.

The first constitutional amendment passed during the legislative session was House Joint Resolution 116 (HJR 116), which would provide the Missouri National Guard with its own department within the state government’s executive branch. Currently, the National Guard is housed within the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The vote was 126-2 in the House; the two “No” votes were Democrats. The vote was 32-0 in the Senate. The constitutional amendment was certified for the ballot on May 5.

On the final day of the legislative session, Senate Joint Resolution 38 (SJR 38) was passed. The constitutional amendment would allow the General Assembly to increase the minimum required funding for a police force established by a state board of police commissioners. Kansas City is the only city that does not have local jurisdiction over its department, and therefore the only city that this measure would currently impact. The amendment was passed along with a bill that would increase the minimum funding requirement for Kansas City’s police department. Currently, Missouri law mandates that Kansas City devote 20% of its general revenue to the police department. That bill would increase the funding requirement to 25%. 

The Senate passed SJR 38 on March 21. The vote was 23-10. Democrats were divided 1-9, and Republicans were divided 22-1. On May 13, the House voted 103-44 to pass the resolution. Democrats voted 3-41, and Republicans voted 100-3. 

In 2021, the General Assembly placed a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot that would authorize the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities. Voters will also decide a constitutional convention question, which automatically appears on Missouri’s ballot every ten years, asking voters whether or not to hold a state constitutional convention. Two citizen-initiated measures could also appear on the ballot. One would adopt top-four ranked-choice voting for statewide, state legislative, and congressional offices. The other would legalize marijuana in Missouri. Campaigns for these initiatives submitted signatures by the May 8 deadline. 

A total of 85 measures have appeared on Missouri’s statewide ballots between 1996 and 2020. Out of those 85, 54 (64%) were approved by voters, while 31 (36%) were defeated.

Additional reading:

Michigan legislature puts legislative term limits, financial disclosure amendment on November ballot

Thirty years ago, Michigan voters approved an initiated constitutional amendment, Proposal B, that enacted term limits on state legislators, as well as other elected officials. This November, voters will decide on a constitutional amendment to modify the state legislative term limits. The Legislature passed House Joint Resolution R (HJR R) on May 10, placing the new constitutional amendment on the ballot. House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-97) introduced HJR R earlier in the day. 

In Nov. 1992, 58.7% voted to approve Proposal B, which was designed to limit the number of times that a person could be elected to congressional, state executive, and state legislative offices in Michigan. In the Michigan State Senate, members were limited to two 4-year terms. In the Michigan House of Representatives, members were limited to three 2-year terms.

This year’s ballot measure would replace Proposal B’s state legislative term limits with a new requirement: a combined 12 years in the state Legislature. Under Proposal B, an individual could serve 14 years in the state Legislature–6 in the House and 8 in the Senate. The 2022 ballot measure would allow for 12 years, which is less than Proposal B; however, a legislator could serve that entire time in one legislative chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-16) said, “In my view, Michigan’s current term limits discourage good people from running for office, shifting the power from the people to the bureaucracy and interest groups, which negatively impacts the legislative process.”

The ballot measure contains a second provision on financial disclosure statements for elected state legislative and state executive officials. Under the proposal, they would be required to file annual financial disclosure reports on their income, assets, liabilities, gifts from lobbyists, positions held in certain organizations, and agreements on future employment beginning in April 2024. 

A political action committee, Voters for Transparency and Term Limits, was collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the term limits and require financial disclosure statements. The group called on the Legislature to act sooner. “We’re gaining momentum, and we are determined to get this proposal on the ballot in November. The sooner we can start a healthy debate between Michiganders about amending our state constitution, the better off we will be,” said Rich Studley, a former Michigan Chamber of Commerce CEO and co-chairperson of Voters for Transparency and Term Limit.

Patrick Anderson, one of the principal authors of Proposal B, responded to the legislative process, which saw the amendment introduced and passed on the same day. He said, “Not a single citizen in the entire state has had a chance to take a look at the resolution they passed, ambushing the voters before noon. The stench of this will last all the way to November.” 

The constitutional amendment is the first ballot measure certified for the 2022 ballot in Michigan. Voters could see additional legislative referrals, along with citizen-initiated ballot measures. The deadline to file signatures for initiated statutes is June 1, and the deadline for initiated constitutional amendments is July 11. 

Michigan voters have approved most (10 of 11) constitutional amendments put on the ballot by the Legislature since 1985. The last time voters rejected a legislatively referred constitutional amendment was in 2015, when 80% voted against a proposal to increase the fuel excise tax, eliminate the sales tax on fuel, increase the earned income tax credit, and make other tax and spending changes.

Additional reading:

Signature deadline for Missouri ballot initiatives is May 8

The deadline to file signatures for citizen-initiated measures in Missouri is May 8 at 5 p.m. Campaigns could file signatures for at least two ballot initiatives – one to legalize marijuana and one to adopt top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting (RCV).

Both of the proposals are initiated constitutional amendments. The number of signatures required for initiated constitutional amendments is equal to 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. The smallest possible number of valid signatures required is 171,592; however, the actual requirement depends on which districts enough signatures were collected from.

The Better Elections PAC is leading the campaign behind the top-four RCV ballot initiative. The proposal would establish top-four open primaries for statewide offices, the Missouri General Assembly, and Congress. The top four vote recipients for each office would advance to the general election, where RCV would be used.

Better Elections received $4.30 million through March 31. Over 98% of the PAC’s funding came from Article IV, a nonprofit organization based in Virginia. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Article IV is associated with John and Laura Arnold, whose organization Action Now Initiative contributed to RCV-related ballot initiatives in previous years. 

The campaign Legal Missouri is backing the marijuana legalization ballot measure. The ballot initiative would legalize the possession, consumption, and sale of marijuana for personal use. The ballot initiative would also enact a 6% tax on marijuana sales and allow individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses to petition for release from incarceration and/or have their records expunged. Legal Missouri received $2.56 million through March 31. The largest contributors were the New Approach Advocacy Fund ($300,000), BD Health Ventures LLC ($250,000), and Good Day Farm Missouri LLC ($250,000). 

Individuals filed 91 citizen-initiated ballot measure petitions for 2022. Since 2016, the average number of initiatives filed in Missouri per election cycle is 248, and the average number of certified ballot initiatives is four. Between 1985 and 2020, voters approved 24 (60%) initiatives and rejected 16 (40%).

Campaigns for ranked-choice voting ballot initiatives in Missouri, Nevada have raised millions ahead of signature deadlines

Campaigns that support ranked-choice voting (RCV) ballot initiatives in Missouri and Nevada have received millions in contributions in the weeks ahead of their signature deadlines. Both of the ballot initiatives would utilize open primaries in which the top candidates, regardless of partisan affiliations, advance to the general election. In Missouri, the top four vote recipients would advance to the general election. In Nevada, the top five vote recipients would advance. In Missouri and Nevada, voters would use ranked-choice voting to determine who among the four or five candidates wins the election. Despite the similarities between the two proposals, each one has different top donors. 

In Nevada, the PAC Nevada Voters First is leading the campaign and signature drive. The PAC received $2.26 million through March 31. Katherine Gehl, founder of the Institute for Political Innovation and former CEO of Gehl Foods, Inc., contributed $1 million. The Final Five Fund, Inc., which the Institute for Political Innovation lists as a 501(c)(4) counterpart, provided $488,000. The Nevada Association of Realtors and Strategic Horizons, a committee associated with the Clark County Education Association, each donated $250,000. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, contributed $100,000, as did the organization Unite America. 

In Missouri, the Better Elections PAC is leading the campaign behind the top-four RCV ballot initiative. Better Elections received $4.30 million through March 31. Over 98% of the PAC’s funding came from the organization Article IV, a nonprofit organization based in Virginia. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Article IV is associated with John and Laura Arnold, whose organization Action Now Initiative contributed to RCV-related ballot initiatives in previous years.

The signature deadline is May 8, 2022, in Missouri. The number of signatures required is equal to 8% of the votes cast for governor in the previous gubernatorial election in six of the state’s eight congressional districts. The smallest number of valid signatures required is 160,199; however, the actual requirement depends on from which districts enough signatures were collected.

The deadline to file signatures for the top-five RCV ballot initiative in Nevada is June 21, 2022. At least 135,561 valid signatures are required for the initiative to make the ballot. In Nevada, initiated constitutional amendments, such as the initiative, need to be approved at two successive general elections. So voters would need to approve the ballot initiative in 2022 and 2024.

Statewide RCV ballot measures have gone before voters in three states. Should the ballot initiatives in Missouri and Nevada make the ballot, the two would be the fourth and fifth states to vote on RCV measures.

Maine became the first state to adopt RCV for some statewide elections when voters approved Question 5 in 2016. PACs raised $2.94 million to support Question 5. Action Now Initiative was the largest donor, providing $470,000.

Two states – Alaska and Massachusetts – voted on RCV ballot initiatives in Nov. 2020. Massachusetts Question 2 was defeated, with 54.78% of voters rejecting the proposal. The campaign behind Question 2 raised $10.18 million, including contributions from Action Now Initiative, Unite America, and Katherine Gehl. Voters in Alaska approved Ballot Measure 2, which received 50.55% of the vote. Ballot Measure 2 replaced partisan primaries with open top-four primaries and established ranked-choice voting for general elections. The campaign received $6.84 million, with Unite America and Action Now Initiative as top donors.

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New York governor’s budget bill increases November bond measure from $3 billion to $4.2 billion

New York governor’s budget bill increases November bond measure from $3 billion to $4.2 billion

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed budget legislation on April 9 that increased a statewide bond measure from $3 billion to $4.2 billion. Titled the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, the ballot measure would require the bond revenue to be divided between projects classified as climate change mitigation, flood-risk reduction, water infrastructure, and land conservation and recreation. In 2021, the state Legislature voted to put the measure on the ballot for Nov. 8, 2022. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) first called for the bond measure in his 2020 State of the State Address. 

The revised ballot measure would require that bond issue revenue be distributed as follows:

  • up to $1.50 billion for air and water pollution reduction projects; wetland protections to address sea-level rise, storm surge, and flooding; relocating or retrofitting facilities; green building projects; solar arrays, heat pumps, and wind turbines in public low-income housing areas; zero-emission school buses; street trees and urban forest programs; green roofs and reflective roofs; and carbon sequestration on natural and working lands;
  • at least $1.10 billion for flood-risk reduction, coastal and shoreline restoration, relocating and repairing flood-prone infrastructure and roadways, and ecological restoration projects;
  • up to $650.00 million for land conservation and recreation plans, programs, and projects, as well as fish hatcheries;
  • at least $650.00 million for projects related to wastewater, sewage, and septic infrastructure; lead service line replacement; riparian buffers; stormwater runoff reduction; agricultural nutrient runoff reduction; and addressing harmful algal blooms.

The ballot measure would provide that at least 35% of bond revenue must benefit disadvantaged communities. The Climate Justice Working Group, housed within the state Department of Environmental Conservation, is responsible for defining disadvantaged communities. The 13-member working group is required to consider socioeconomic criteria, pollution and environmental hazard, and areas vulnerable to flooding, storm surge, and urban heat island effects. A draft list of disadvantaged communities was released on March 9.

Besides the $1.2-billion increase in bond amount, the revisions require that at least $500 million be used to fund zero-emission school buses and supporting infrastructure, such as charging stations, as part of the state’s goal of having a 100% electric school bus fleet by 2035. 

Both chambers of the state Legislature approved budget legislation, which contained the bond measure revisions, on April 8. In the Senate, the vote was 48-15, with Democrats and five Republicans supporting the budget bill. The other 15 Republicans opposed the bill. In the Assembly, the vote was 113-35. Of the 113 in favor, 101 were Democrats, 11 were Republicans, and one was a member of the Independence Party. Four Democrats and 31 Republicans opposed the bill in the Assembly.

New York voters last decided a statewide bond measure in 2014. Voters approved a $2-billion bond for education facilities and classroom equipment. Between 1990 and 2021, statewide ballots featured seven bond issues. Voters approved three (43%) of the bond issues. Voters rejected four (57%) of the bond issues.

Kansas voters to decide November ballot measure on the legislature’s power to revoke or suspend executive agency regulations

The Kansas Senate approved a constitutional amendment on March 23 that would allow the legislature to pass laws, which the governor could not veto, to revoke or suspend executive agencies’ rules and regulations. The state House passed the amendment on Feb. 21. With approval in the House and Senate, voters will decide the proposal at the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.

Currently, the legislature can pass laws to revoke or suspend executive agencies’ rules and regulations. However, the governor can veto these bills. Legislators can override vetos with two-thirds majorities in each legislative chamber.

Legislative Democrats and Republicans were divided on the constitutional amendment. Most Democrats (47 of 50) voted against sending the proposal to the ballot. Most Republicans (110 of 115) voted to put the question before voters. State Sen. Kellie Warren (R-11) said, “This constitutional amendment restores the checks and balances to the Legislature. That’s where the policy-making belongs.”

State Rep. John Carmichael (D-92) said, “We need to have balance in our government so that there is a give-and-take, no matter if there’s a Republican governor or a Democratic governor. This constitutional amendment turns that balance on its head.”

In Kansas, constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. In the House, 84 votes were required, and the amendment received 85. In the Senate, 27 votes were required, and that threshold was met with 27 votes.

Constitutional amendments concerning the legislature’s power over administrative regulations have been more common in 2021 and 2022 than during the prior five years. In November, West Virginians will vote on a constitutional amendment on the legislature’s power over the State Board of Education’s rules and policies. In 2021, Pennsylvania voters approved a pair of constitutional amendments regarding the legislature’s ability to extend or terminate emergency declarations.

The Kansas constitutional amendment is one of two that voters will decide in the state this year. Kansans will vote on August 2 on a constitutional amendment to declare that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion.

Additional reading:

St. Louis voters to decide Proposition R, a redistricting and election law initiative, at April 5 special election

Voters in St. Louis, Missouri, will decide a ballot initiative, Proposition R, at a special election on April 5, 2022. The citizen-initiated charter amendment addresses three policies – the city’s redistricting process, the laws governing conflicts of interest, and legislative changes to voting methods. It would also change the name of the Board of Aldermen to the Board of Alderpersons.

Proposition R follows the voter-approved Proposition D, which enacted a system of approval voting the offices of mayor, comptroller, president of the Board of Aldermen, and the Board of Aldermen. Approval voting is an electoral system in which voters may vote for any number of candidates they choose. Proposition D also made elections for these offices open and non-partisan. Proposition R would require the Board of Aldermen to submit changes to voting methods to the ballot for a public vote. Therefore, in regards to Proposition D, approval voting could not be repealed or changed by the Board without voter approval. After Proposition D was approved in 2020, the voting method was first used in the 2021 municipal election.  

Proposition R would transfer redistricting from the Board of Alderpersons to a nine-member redistricting commission that, according to the amendment, should “represent the demographic make-up of the City of St. Louis.” An Oversight Committee would remove applicants that do not meet certain requirements and then provide a list of applicants to the Board of Aldermen. Each alderperson would be permitted to strike one applicant from the list, which would then return to the Oversight Committee. A random draw would be used to select four applicants to serve as commissioners, and those four persons would select the remaining five applicants by votes requiring approval from three out of the four.

The nine-member redistricting commission would establish ward boundaries based on the following criteria, in order of priority:

  • following requirements of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
  • creating districts with contiguous territory;
  • minimizing the division of local neighborhoods or local communities of interest;
  • creating districts that are compact in form; and
  • using geographically identifiable boundaries.

Any votes of the redistricting commission, including approval of a final map, would require five affirmative votes.

The third topic addressed by Proposition R is conflict-of-interest laws. The charter amendment would also enact several provisions related to conflicts of interest, including:

  • prohibiting alderpersons from knowingly using their official position to influence others for their own or a related person’s personal or financial benefit;
  • requiring alderpersons to declare personal or financial conflicts of interest and abstain from voting when there are conflicts of interest;
  • prohibiting alderpersons from accepting employment or contracts that interfere with the discharge of their public duties or create conflicts of interest; and
  • requiring former alderpersons to wait at least one year before serving as a lobbyist to influence a city government decision.

The campaign Reform St. Louis, a project of Show Me Integrity, is supporting Proposition R. Through December 31, 2022, the campaign received $82,234, including $20,000 from the Center for Election Science and $15,000 from Show Me Integrity. Jami Cox, the campaign’s policy director, said, “What’s at stake is making sure that the St. Louis city government is operating in the most efficient and ethical way possible. If this proposition doesn’t pass, then we are looking at the redistricting process still being led by the people that are ultimately going to be running for the seats that they serve in and not having any hard outline processes in our city charter to reduce conflicts of interest.”

Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen, responded to the April 5 vote on Proposition R, saying, “There is no need to have a special election costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars solely for a proposal that the Prop R group admits is untimely, would be challenged in court, would not put into effect what it states it will and would not take effect for 10 years.”

Ballotpedia is covering local ballot measure elections on April 5 in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Jefferson City, Missouri. Along with Proposition R, St. Louis voters will also decide Proposition 1, which would issue $50 million in general obligation bonds for capital improvement projects. A two-thirds supermajority vote is required to approve Proposition 1, while Proposition R requires a simple majority vote.

Additional reading:

When party control of legislative chambers flips, constitutional amendments requiring votes in two sessions are more often defeated

Thirteen states have multi-year constitutional amendment processes that involve legislatures passing amendments in two successive sessions before they go on the ballot. Since 2010, 66% (60 of 91) of the amendments that passed during the first session in these states were also passed in the second. When partisan control of a legislative chamber changes between two successive legislative sessions, constitutional amendments often fail to receive a vote during the second session. From 2010 to 2022, 79% (11 of 14) of constitutional amendments in two-session requirement states were defeated or died in committee following a change in party control. Virginia, where Republicans took control of the House following the 2021 election, became the most recent example of this pattern with House committee votes on March 1.

The Virginia State Legislature passed two constitutional amendments in 2021. One would have repealed the state constitution’s language defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The other constitutional amendment would have restored voting rights to persons convicted of a felony after they have completed their sentence. Both constitutional amendments received unanimous support from legislative Democrats. Six House Republicans voted for the marriage amendment and two for the voting rights restoration amendment in 2021.

At the election on November 2, 2021, Republicans went from a 45-member minority to a 52-member majority in the 100-seat House of Delegates. Democrats flipped the state Senate in 2019 and still have control during the 2022 legislative session. State Senate elections occur at four-year intervals.

On February 15, 2022, the Democratic-controlled Senate gave second-session approval to both constitutional amendments approved in 2021. Four Senate Republicans joined Democrats in backing the marriage amendment, and three supported the voting rights restoration amendment. On March 1, a Republican-controlled House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee voted down both of the amendments, preventing them from moving forward. The votes were 6-4 along party lines.

Of the states with two-session vote requirements for constitutional amendments, only the Nevada and Virginia legislatures have flipped twice since 2010. In Nevada, the legislature flipped from Democratic- to Republican-controlled in 2014 and then back to Democratic-controlled in 2016. Democrats passed two constitutional amendments in 2013 — including an amendment to repeal a definition-of-marriage provision like in Virginia last year — that did not receive votes after Republicans became the majority. When Democrats retook the legislature in 2016, four Republican-backed constitutional amendments were stopped in committee, including a constitutional right to hunt and fish and a two-thirds vote requirement for revenue increases.

During the 2017 legislative session, Nevada Democrats, along with eight Republicans, again passed the marriage amendment. This time, however, Democrats retained control of the legislature in 2018 and passed the amendment during the second session in 2019. Voters approved the amendment at the 2020 general election.

States have different requirements for legislatures to propose amendments to their constitutions. Some require votes at one session, others at two. States may require a simple majority of legislators, a 60% majority, a two-thirds majority, or a 75% majority to pass a constitutional amendment. Of the 13 states with a two-session process legislative referral, four states allow legislators to approve amendments in one session by a higher vote threshold. In South Carolina, the legislature can put an amendment on the ballot through a vote in one session but must vote on the amendment again in another session if voters approve it. With the exception of Delaware, all states require constitutional amendments to go before voters for approval or rejection. Eighteen states have processes for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments.

You can learn more about how your state’s constitution is amended at

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Voters will decide on legislative proposals adding restrictions to ballot initiative processes in Arizona, Arkansas, and South Dakota in 2022

Voters in at least three states will decide legislative proposals to change citizen-initiated ballot measure processes this year. Legislatures in Arizona, Arkansas, and South Dakota have passed constitutional amendments on ballot initiatives, and additional constitutional changes are being considered in Arizona and Missouri.

In 2020, voters decided legislative referrals on ballot initiatives in Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota, with the proposed changes rejected in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota, and approved in Montana.

The first vote on an initiative-related constitutional amendment will be on June 7, 2022, in South Dakota. Amendment C would require a three-fifths (60%) vote at an election to approve ballot measures designed to increase taxes or fees or require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years following enactment. The state Legislature passed the constitutional amendment in March 2021. Senate and House Democrats opposed the proposal. Republicans were divided 69 to 24.

Supermajority requirement: A vote requirement above a simple majority is considered a supermajority requirement. Currently, Colorado, Florida, and New Hampshire have supermajority requirements for constitutional amendments. Illinois requires a 60% vote for constitutional amendments or a simple majority of every ballot cast. Seven other states have laws on the minimum percentage of ballots cast in an election and ballot measure approval. In addition, Washington state requires a 60% vote on gambling-related referendums, Utah requires a two-thirds vote on initiatives concerning the taking of wildlife, and Florida requires a two-thirds vote on amendments that enact new taxes or fees.

In Arizona, voters will decide constitutional amendments at the general election in November. Republicans in the legislature backed two proposals that would make changes to the ballot initiative process. Legislative Democrats opposed both.

One would allow legislators to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot initiatives if any portion has been declared unconstitutional or invalid by the Arizona Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court. Initiatives sometimes include severance provisions, so that if one provision is struck as unconstitutional, other provisions can remain binding. Under the proposal, an initiative could be repealed regardless of severance if any provision is struck down. Currently, the Legislature cannot amend or repeal voter-approved ballot initiatives due to Proposition 105 (1998), also known as the Voter Protection Act, with an exception for changes that further a measure’s purpose and receive a three-fourths vote in each legislative chamber. 

The other amendment in Arizona would add a provision to the state constitution that requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject. The ballot measure would also require the initiative’s subject to be expressed in the ballot title, or else the missing subject would be considered void. Based on a 2017 state Supreme Court ruling, the state constitution’s existing single-subject rule applies to legislative bills but not citizen-initiated measures.

Single-subject rule: Laws that require legislation, such as ballot initiatives, to address a single subject are called single-subject rules. Of the 24 states that allow for initiated constitutional amendments or statutes, 16 of them require initiatives to conform to a single subject.

A third constitutional amendment is also being considered in Arizona. The Arizona House voted 31 to 28 on Feb. 22, 2022, for an amendment to require a three-fifths (60%) vote for voters to approve citizen-initiated measures and constitutional amendments. House Republicans and House Democrats divided on the proposal, with the former supporting and latter opposing the change.

Similar to the proposal in Arizona, the Arkansas State Legislature passed a constitutional amendment requiring a three-fifths (60%) vote for voters to approve citizen-initiated measures and constitutional amendments. Voters will decide the issue on Nov. 8. In the Arkansas House, 72 Republicans and 2 Democrats approved the amendment, and 1 Republican and 17 Democrats opposed it. In the Senate, the vote was divided along party lines, with Republicans voting for and Democrats voting against.

The Missouri House of Representatives approved a constitutional amendment that would increase the number of required signatures for initiated constitutional amendments from 8% of voters in six of the state’s eight congressional districts to 10% of voters in all eight of the congressional districts. The proposal would also require a two-thirds (66.67%) vote of voters to approve a ballot measure. Democrats, along with seven Republicans, opposed the amendment, while 98 Republicans voted to refer the changes to voters. The Senate needs to pass the amendment by a simple majority to put the amendment on the ballot.

Distribution requirement: A requirement that petitions must be signed by voters from different political subdivisions in order for a ballot measure to qualify for the ballot is called a distribution requirement. Of the 26 states that provide for initiatives or referendums, 16 of them have distribution requirements.

The three measures that Arizona, Arkansas, and South Dakota legislatures put on the 2022 ballot were among 231 legislative proposals related to state and local ballot measures and recall processes that Ballotpedia tracked in 2021. Thirty-six proposals were approved, including bills that have already been signed into law. In 2021, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah legislatures passed restrictions on the initiative processes in their states.

Additional reading:

2022 will feature the most abortion-related statewide ballot measures in 36 years

Abortion has been a perennial issue for statewide ballot measures since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Since 2000, there have been just two general election cycles, 2002 and 2016, without abortion-related statewide ballot measures. In 2022, there will be at least four ballot measures addressing abortion — the most since 1986. If proponents of another abortion-related initiative in Michigan collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, 2022 will be the year with the most abortion-related measures on record. Legislatures could also propose ballot measures before their sessions end. 

Campaigns surrounding abortion-related ballot measures describe their positions as pro-choice or pro-life. Examples of ballot measures described as pro-life include policies to ban abortion at various fetal development stages, define person or personhood to include fetuses, prohibit the use of public funds for abortions, require parental notification before a minor can obtain an abortion, and declare that there is no state constitutional right to abortion. Examples of ballot measures described as pro-choice include policies to legalize or expand abortion, remove restrictions on abortion, allow the use of public funds for abortion, and declare a state constitutional right to abortion.

Since 1970, there have been 51 statewide ballot measures addressing abortion. Most (84%) of them were designed to implement policies supported by pro-life campaigns. The remaining 8 ballot measures were supported by pro-choice campaigns, including this year’s Vermont Proposal 5.

Proposal 5 is the first abortion-related ballot measure since Maryland’s 1992 Question 6 that has the support of pro-choice organizations. Maryland Question 6 prohibited state interference with a woman’s decision to have an abortion before the fetus is viable. Vermont Proposal 5, which is set for a vote on November 8, would enact a state constitutional amendment declaring “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy.” In Michigan, a campaign backed by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU is collecting signatures for an initiated constitutional amendment to establish a state right to reproductive freedom, which the initiative would define to include abortion.

Besides Proposal 5, voters will decide abortion-related measures in Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana in 2022. In Kansas and Kentucky, the ballot measures would declare there is no state constitutional right to abortions. In Montana, a legislative referral would state that “an infant born alive is a legal person” and that present healthcare providers shall provide “all medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the [infant’s] life and health.”