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Parents > United States > Pennsylvania  
Website[Link]
Established 00, 1776
Disbanded Still Active
ContributorScottĀ³
Last ModifiedScottĀ³ November 01, 2008 08:33pm
DescriptionOverview
Currently, statewide referendum comes before Pennsylvania voters in two forms: Constitutional
Amendments and Legislation to Increase Commonwealth Indebtedness. The State constitution
does not authorize any statewide referendum or initiative to originate from the public.

A. Constitutional Amendments: Proposed amendments originate in either the state Senate or
House of Representatives and must be approved by the majority vote of both houses in two (2)
successive sessions. The Governor has no formal say in this process. Proposed amendments
are then submitted to the voters for approval or disapproval, not more than once in a five-year
period. Once ratified by voters, the proposed amendments become part of the Constitution.

B. Legislation to Increase Commonwealth Indebtedness: Depending on certain circumstances,
legislation to increase Pennsylvania's Indebtedness must be placed before the voters for approval.
However, the state legislature can find legal ways around this requirement as noted in this passage:
..."Functionally, there is little difference between legislators approving new bonded debt and putting
...debt questions before the public. Indeed, legislators could have just as easily approved the $400
...million in new debt without voter approval. However, forcing voters to decide the fate of their water
...and sewer systems allows them to shift responsibility and take political cover." [Link]

The legislature can also authorize localized referendums regarding taxation, indebtedness, etc.
such as the Pennsylvania Taxpayer Relief Act of 2005 which went before nearly all school districts
in the state in the 2006 Primary Election.

Ballotpedia (Pennsylvania): [Link]

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