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The Constitution
of the
State of Hawaii

Incorporating the November 7, 2006 election changes,
and including the annotation.

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Article XVII - Revision and Amendment

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Sections

1Methods of proposal
2Constitutional convention; election of delegates; meeting; organization; procedure; ratification; appropriations
3Amendments proposed by legislature
4Veto
5Conflicting revisions or amendments

Note:

This article was renumbered from Article XV to be Article XVII by Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978.

17.1
Methods of proposal

Revisions of or amendments to this constitution may be proposed by constitutional convention or by the legislature.  [Ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

17.2
Constitutional convention; election of delegates; meeting; organization; procedure; ratification; appropriations

The legislature may submit to the electorate at any general or special election the question, "Shall there be a convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the Constitution?" If any nine-year period shall elapse during which the question shall not have been submitted, the lieutenant governor shall certify the question, to be voted on at the first general election following the expiration of such period.

ELECTION OF DELEGATES

If a majority of the ballots cast upon such a question be in the affirmative, delegates to the convention shall be chosen at the next regular election unless the legislature shall provide for the election of delegates at a special election.

Notwithstanding any provision in this constitution to the contrary, other than Section 3 of Article XVI, any qualified voter of the district concerned shall be eligible to membership in the convention.

The legislature shall provide for the number of delegates to the convention, the areas from which they shall be elected and the manner in which the convention shall convene. The legislature shall also provide for the necessary facilities and equipment for the convention. The convention shall have the same powers and privileges, as nearly as practicable, as provided for the convention of 1978.

MEETING

The constitutional convention shall convene not less than five months prior to the next regularly scheduled general election.

ORGANIZATION; PROCEDURE

The convention shall determine its own organization and rules of procedure. It shall be the sole judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its members and, by a two-thirds vote, may suspend or remove any member for cause. The governor shall fill any vacancy by appointment of a qualified voter from the district concerned.

RATIFICATION; APPROPRIATIONS

The convention shall provide for the time and manner in which the proposed constitutional revision or amendments shall be submitted to a vote of the electorate; provided that each amendment shall be submitted in the form of a question embracing but one subject; and provided further, that each question shall have designated spaces to mark YES or NO on the amendment.

At least thirty days prior to the submission of any proposed revision or amendments, the convention shall make available for public inspection, a full text of the proposed amendments. Every public library, office of the clerk of each county, and the chief election officer shall be provided such texts and shall make them available for public inspection. The full text of any proposed revision or amendments shall also be made available for inspection at every polling place on the day of the election at which such revision or amendments are submitted.

The convention shall, as provided by law, be responsible for a program of voter education concerning each proposed revision or amendment to be submitted to the electorate.

The revision or amendments shall be effective only if approved at a general election by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question, this majority constituting at least fifty per cent of the total vote cast at the election, or at a special election by a majority of all the votes tallied upon the question, this majority constituting at least thirty per cent of the total number of registered voters.

The provisions of this section shall be self-executing, but the legislature shall make the necessary appropriations and may enact legislation to facilitate their operation.  [Am Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978; am SB 578 (1979) and SB 1703 (1980) and election Nov 4, 1980]

Attorney General Opinions:

Delegates to convention cannot be elected at the same time the referendum is taken. Att. Gen. Op. 65-16.

The legislature may enact a statute providing that an election will be held on a specified date to ratify the constitutional amendment proposed by the constitutional convention if a date is not provided by the convention; but the legislature alone cannot specify the date the election must be held. Att. Gen. Op. 67-3.

Whether amendments are submitted to electorate for ratification separately or together as a unit is for the convention to determine. Att. Gen. Op. 68-9.

Convention may determine manner of submitting its proposals to the electorate. Att. Gen. Op. 68-23.

A proposal of the convention becomes effective upon ratification by electors on election day, not upon certification of results by lieutenant governor. Att. Gen. Op. 68-31.

Full ten-year period must elapse before question can be placed on ballot by lieutenant governor. Att. Gen. Op. 75-6.

Legislature cannot call constitutional convention without putting question on ballot. Att. Gen. Op. 75-6.

Legislature may not enact statute prohibiting elected officials from being delegates to constitutional convention. Att. Gen. Op. 75-10.

Individual may run both as candidate for public office and as delegate to constitutional convention even though elections are concurrent. Att. Gen. Op. 75-12.

Delegates to convention devising reapportionment plan are not prohibited from becoming candidates under the new plan. Att. Gen. Op. 77-3.

Legislature can provide that public employees elected as delegates shall have leave without pay without loss of other benefits. Att. Gen. Op. 77-3.

Only the legislature may appropriate funds for the convention. Att. Gen. Op. 77-3.

Time limits on convention are set by the delegates, not the legislature. Att. Gen. Op. 77-3.

Provisions of federal Equal Time Law will apply to candidates seeking election as delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Att. Gen. Op. 78-2.

"Total vote cast at the election" includes blank and spoiled ballots. Att. Gen. Op. 82-7.

Case Notes:

Constitutional challenge to 1996 constitutional convention vote rejected and Hawaii vote upheld, where plaintiffs argued, inter alia, that Hawai`i State AFL-CIO v. Yoshina was a totally unforeseeable interpretation of the State's election laws and, therefore, amounted to a denial of substantive due process. 140 F.3d 1218.

Failure to seek preelection relief in federal court barred attempt to invalidate results of November 7, 1978 general election concerning amendments to State Constitution because plaintiffs had knowledge of alleged irregularities prior to election and ample time to seek relief. 470 F. Supp. 1195.

Constitutional amendment ballot found partially defective. 60 H. 324, 590 P.2d 543.

"Ballots cast", within meaning of this section, includes blank ballots and over votes. 84 H. 374, 935 P.2d 89.

The publication and disclosure language of this section and §3 of the Hawaii constitution is clear and unambiguous; thus it must be construed as written; insofar as they clearly regulate amendments to the constitution, these provisions are not merely directory, but mandatory. 104 H. 128, 85 P.3d 1079.

Where state defendants failed to comply with the requirements set forth in the Hawaii constitution regarding publication and disclosure of the text of a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing the initiation of felony prosecutions by written information, the amendment was not validly ratified in accordance with the mandate of this section and §3 of this article. 104 H. 128, 85 P.3d 1079.

17.3
Amendments proposed by legislature

The legislature may propose amendments to the constitution by adopting the same, in the manner required for legislation, by a two-thirds vote of each house on final reading at any session, after either or both houses shall have given the governor at least ten days' written notice of the final form of the proposed amendment, or, with or without such notice, by a majority vote of each house on final reading at each of two successive sessions.

Upon such adoption, the proposed amendments shall be entered upon the journals, with the ayes and noes, and published once in each of four successive weeks in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each senatorial district wherein such a newspaper is published, within the two months' period immediately preceding the next general election.

At such general election the proposed amendments shall be submitted to the electorate for approval or rejection upon a separate ballot.

The conditions of and requirements for ratification of such proposed amendments shall be the same as provided in section 2 of this article for ratification at a general election.  [Ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Cross References:

Notice of proposed constitutional amendments, see §22-6.

Attorney General Opinions:

Passage of constitutional amendment by majority vote may be accomplished at two successive special sessions. Att. Gen. Op. 64-41.

Passage of proposed amendment by two-thirds vote of each house on final reading cannot be accomplished on the tenth day of notice; it may only be done thereafter. Att. Gen. Op. 64-41.

The ten days' written notice to the governor refers to ten calendar days. It is computed by excluding the day on which notice is given and including the last day. Att. Gen. Op. 64-41.

With a two-thirds vote, a proposed amendment passed at a single session may be placed on ballot. Att. Gen. Op. 75-9.

Amendments proposed by the legislature should be printed on a separate ballot, apart and distinct from the ballot containing county charter amendments. Att. Gen. Op. 80-7.

Case Notes:

Signature of governor, whether required to propose amendments, see 8 H. 606.

Act proposing alternative constitutional amendments concerning changes in school governance directed amendment to state constitution in violation of procedure set forth in section. 73 H. 536, 836 P.2d 1066.

Attorney general had standing to raise claims in action regarding notice provisions of this section given significant public importance of issue and likelihood of recurrence. 84 H. 179, 932 P.2d 316.

Governor must receive at least ten days notice, prior to second legislative chamber's vote, of a proposed constitutional amendment's final form; required notice may be given by the Senate, the House, or both. 84 H. 179, 932 P.2d 316.

The publication and disclosure language of this section and §2 of the Hawaii constitution is clear and unambiguous; thus it must be construed as written; insofar as they clearly regulate amendments to the constitution, these provisions are not merely directory, but mandatory. 104 H. 128, 85 P.3d 1079.

Where state defendants failed to comply with the requirements set forth in the Hawaii constitution regarding publication and disclosure of the text of a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing the initiation of felony prosecutions by written information, the amendment was not validly ratified in accordance with the mandate of this section and §2 of this article. 104 H. 128, 85 P.3d 1079.

This article and article III of the Hawaii constitution require that (1) a proposal to amend the constitution must be reflected in the title of the bill and (2) a proposed constitutional amendment must be read three times in each house of the legislature to be validly adopted; where bill failed to fulfill these requirements, it was not constitutionally adopted. 108 H. 245, 118 P.3d 1188.

17.4
Veto

No proposal for amendment of the constitution adopted in either manner provided by this article shall be subject to veto by the governor.  [Ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

17.5
Conflicting revisions or amendments

If a revision or amendment proposed by a constitutional convention is in conflict with a revision or amendment proposed by the legislature and both are submitted to the electorate at the same election and both are approved, then the revision or amendment proposed by the convention shall prevail. If conflicting revisions or amendments are proposed by the same body and are submitted to the electorate at the same election and both are approved, then the revision or amendment receiving the highest number of votes shall prevail.  [Add Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Case Notes:

Had conflicting alternative amendments been passed by legislature in compliance with Article XVII, §3, it would have been appropriate to submit both alternatives to electorate for ratification at general election pursuant to section. 73 H. 536, 836 P.2d 1066.

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Article XVII - Revision and Amendment

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