Introduced by Rep. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D) on November 12, 2003, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to establish that the current provision in the state Constitution prohibiting a referendum on a bill containing an appropriation, only applies to bills that substantially fund one or more state departments, or which are needed to meet deficiencies in the current state budget. A recent Supreme Court ruling interpreted the provision to prohibit referendums on any bill containing an appropriation. In at least one instance since then, the legislature has deliberately added a modest appropriation to a controversial bill which, without the appropriation, would likely have been subject to a referendum. The Constitution gives citizens the right to halt the implementation of a new law by submitting petitions signed by five percent of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor at the last gubernatorial election, within 90 days of the final adjournment of the annual legislative session in which the law was enacted. When this is done, the new law does not go into effect unless it is approved by a majority in the next general election.
Referred to the House Government Operations Committee on November 12, 2003.