Previous voter-approved amendments adding supermajority requirements to the Constitution
In the aftermath of last week's State Supreme Court ruling striking down the 20 year-old law requiring a 2/3 vote of the Legislature or voter approval to raise taxes, several of the policy's opponents have been trumpeting that the will of the majority will now be able to stand against the "tyranny of the minority."
With this almost single focus on the "evil" of supermajority requirements, it is a little surprising that opponents of the "tyranny of the minority" have not switched their focus yet to repealing the nearly two-dozen supermajority requirements currently in the Constitution.
Among the existing supermajority requirements in the Constitution are these fiscal related ones that demonstrate the people have made the decision that certain fiscal related votes should require a higher vote threshold to be enacted:
- Article 2, Section 24: A 60% vote of the legislature or a 60% vote of the people required to approve a lottery.
- Article 7, Section 2: Three-fifths vote of the people required to approve a local tax levy (except for school levies).
- Article 7, Section 12: Three-fifths vote of the legislature required to access funds in budget stabilization account (with few exceptions).
- Article 8, Section 1: Three-fifths vote of the legislature required to incur state debt.
- Article 8, Section 6: Three-fifths vote of the people required to incur local district debt in excess of 1.5% of the local property tax base.
- Article 11, Section 16: Three-fifths vote of the people required to incur city or county debt in excess of 1.5% of the property tax base.
Though I'm sure I've missed a few, here are the constitutional amendments the people have approved after being provided the opportunity to do so by their lawmakers to add supermajority requirements for certain fiscal votes:
- SJR 8206 (2007) - Adding a 3/5 vote requirement for lawmakers to access funds in the state's budget stabilization account (with few exceptions). Approved with 68%.
- HJR 52 (1972) - Adding a 3/5 vote requirement for lawmakers to approve state bonds. Approved with 59%.
- SJR 5 (1972) - Adding a 3/5 vote requirement for lawmakers to authorize a lottery. Approved with 62%.
With SJR 8205 (Requiring a supermajority vote to raise taxes or voter approval) currently pending in the Senate Rules Committee, time will tell whether lawmakers will provide voters yet another opportunity to add to the existing supermajority requirements in the Constitution.