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December 2007

President's Message
League's Goal
Con Con Study Committee Reports (Jean Aoki)
Honolulu League Strongly Opposing Rail (Pearl Johnson)
Gleanings from Our Readings (Jean Aoki)
Amending the State Constitution (Harold G. Loomis)
Drug Policy Study (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Ah Jook Ku
Tennessee Really Makes it Hard! (Jean Aoki)
In Support of the LWV-HI (Jackie Parnell)
League Immigration Policy (Jackie Parnell)
Iron-Jawed Angels Fundraiser (Jackie Parnell & Mary Anne Raywid)
Hawaii Chapter Report (Leilani Bronson-Crelly & Sue Dursin)
Kauai Chapter Report
Honolulu Chapter Report (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Website Update - www.lwv-hawaii.com - the first year (Stephen Trussel)

Tennessee Really Makes it Hard!

Contrary to the trend for states to amend their constitutions through legislatively initiated amendments, the Tennessee constitution requires an arduous process for the General Assembly (legislature) to follow.

To be placed on the ballot, a proposed amendment must first be passed by each house by an absolute majority of the members during one term of the Assembly. ( What is an absolute majority?) Then during the next General Assembly term, the same proposal must be passed again by each house, this time by a two-thirds majority.

Then this proposed amendment must be placed on the ballot only when the election of governor is also being held, and the amendment must receive over half of the total votes cast in the gubernatorial election in order to be ratified.

Small wonder that their 1870 constitution had never been amended in this manner until 1998, when the "Victims' Rights Amendment" was added, and the same process was used to enact the state lottery in 2002. Following these successes, in 2006, two amendments proposed by the General Assembly were approved by the voters, the "Tennessee Marriage Protection Amendment," and an amendment authorizing exemption of senior citizens from property tax increases.

Limited Constitutional Convention

The thing I find intriguing is that the Tennessee Constitution allows for limited conventions. The General Assembly can put on the ballot "the question of whether a limited constitutional convention should be called for the purpose of considering amendments to certain specified provisions of the constitution."

Jean Aoki

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