December 18, 2017

Amendment Process

Preamble of the Constitution of West Virginia:
“Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia, in and through the provisions of this Constitution, reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God and seek diligently to promote, preserve and perpetuate good government in the state of West Virginia for the common welfare, freedom and security of ourselves and our posterity”.

Amending the Constitution of West Virginia:
Although some states have been able to amend their constitutions via citizen’s initiative or a referendum process, this is not permitted in West Virginia. The Constitution of West Virginia requires the amendment process to take place either by a convention or by an act of the WV Legislature. Therefore, the following provisions and procedures are required by the state legislature to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

The Process:
Here are the steps we must complete to win passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment to the Constitution of West Virginia:

1. Passage of Bill by the House and Senate:
An amendment to protect marriage must be introduced as a bill or joint resolution by a member in either house of the Legislature at any regular or extraordinary session being read on three consecutive days in each house. Then the bill or resolution must be agreed to on its third reading by two thirds of the members elected and needs an affirmative vote by two thirds of the members of each body of the West Virginia Legislature to be approved.

2. WV Legislature’s Responsibility After Passage:
When the proposed amendment is passed in one session of the WV Legislature, its passage is required to be entered in the journals, and the Legislature is responsible for submitting the amendment to the voters of West Virginia for ratification or rejection, at a special election, or at the next general election thereafter. The Legislature will then cause publication of passage of the amendment, at least three months before the election in a newspaper in every county in which a newspaper is printed. This process gives citizens notice in every county of approval by the Legislature for placing the amendment on the ballot at either a special election, or at the next general election.

3. Voter Approval on Passage of Amendment
If a majority of qualified voters, voting on the question of passage of the amendment at the polls passes, the proposed amendment will be in effect from the time of passage as part of the constitution of the state of West Virginia.
Constitution of West Virginia: Article XIV: CON 14-1 / CON 14-2

Conclusion:
The preamble of the Constitution of West Virginia acknowledges our deep dependence and constant reliance upon God for His continued blessings and security of our civil, political and religious liberty in order to promote, preserve and perpetuate good government. There is no higher duty by our elected representatives than to afford the people of West Virginia the opportunity to provide the highest protection possible to vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment. To do otherwise, under the guise of already having a state law (DOMA), or political ploys given for proper procedures to discharge the amendment from a committee no longer suffice. Let the people vote!

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