Redesigned Constitutional Amendment Process Moves Forward

HARRISBURG – Due to critical mistakes by the Department of State, the Senate State Government Committee passed a bill today by a bipartisan vote of 8-3 to restore public confidence in the process of amending the state Constitution, according to Senator David G. Argall (R-Berks/Schuylkill), the committee’s chairman.

Earlier this year, an unprecedented error by former Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar derailed a constitutional amendment to protect victims of child sex abuse.  Boockvar resigned in disgrace.

Two months later, the Department of State published ballot questions that were widely criticized as biased.  House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff said, “The governor is so desperate to cling to power that they crafted this language to mischaracterize the amendment.”

“After the reputation of the Department of State was tarnished by their mistakes, I introduced this bill to prevent future mishaps,” said Argall.

Senate Bill 940 would give the responsibility of advertising proposed constitutional amendments to the Legislative Reference Bureau, a non-partisan bureau responsible for drafting legislation and publishing the Pennsylvania Bulletin.  The bureau would also be responsible for drafting the wording of ballot questions for proposed amendments, to prevent political bias. 

Contact: Jim Brugger   717.787.2637