More on proposed Constitutional Amendments in Tennessee

(TN Secretary of State press release) Four proposed amendments will appear on the November 8, 2022 ballot directly after the candidates for governor. For information on amendments being considered for the 2026 ballot, click here.

Proposed Constitutional amendments are presented as yes or no questions. A yes vote is a vote to amend the Constitution and adopt the proposed language in the amendment. A no vote is a vote not to amend the Constitution and keep the current language in the Constitution unchanged.

Two things must happen for an amendment to pass and become part of the Constitution. The first is the amendment must get more yes votes than no votes. The second is that the number of yes votes must be a majority of the total votes in the gubernatorial election. This longstanding process Tennessee uses to determine the result for proposed Constitutional amendments was confirmed by a court decision following the 2014 general election.
To determine the number of votes needed to adopt a proposed Constitutional amendment, votes for all candidates for governor are added together and then divided by two. If there are more yes votes than no votes on the proposed amendment and the number of yes votes exceeds 50%+1 of the total votes for governor, the amendment passes and becomes part of the Constitution. The Constitutional amendment fails if the number of yes votes does not meet or exceed the threshold, or if there are more no votes than yes votes.

For more information about the proposed Constitutional amendments, visit sos.tn.gov/amendments or call the Division of Elections at 1-877-850-4959.

Constitutional Amendment #1

As proposed by SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 648 (111th) & SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 2 (112th)

Summary:

This amendment would add a new section to article XI of the Tennessee Constitution to make it illegal for any person, corporation, association, or the State of Tennessee or its political subdivisions to deny or attempt to deny employment to any person because of the person’s membership in, affiliation with, resignation from, or refusal to join or affiliate with any labor union or employee organization.

Constitutional Amendment # 2

As proposed by SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 154 (111th) & SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 10 (112th)

Summary:

This amendment would add to article III, section 12 of the Tennessee Constitution a process for the temporary exercise of the powers and duties of the governor by the Speaker of the Senate—or the Speaker of the House if there is no Speaker of the Senate in office—when the governor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office of governor. While a Speaker is temporarily discharging the powers and duties of the governor, the Speaker would not be required to resign as Speaker or to resign as a member of the legislature; but the Speaker would not be able to preside as Speaker or vote as a member of the legislature. A Speaker who is temporarily discharging the powers and duties of the governor would not get the governor’s salary but would get the Speaker’s salary.  The amendment would also exempt a Speaker who is temporarily discharging the powers and duties of the governor from provisions in the Constitution that would otherwise prohibit the Speaker from exercising the powers of the governor and from simultaneously holding more than one state office.

Constitutional Amendment # 3

As proposed by SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 159 (111th) & SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 80 (112th)

Summary:

This amendment would change the current language in article I, section 33 of the Tennessee Constitution, which says that slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a person who has been duly convicted of crime, are forever prohibited in this State. The amendment would delete this current language and replace it with the following language: “Slavery and involuntary servitude are forever prohibited. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an inmate from working when the inmate has been duly convicted of a crime.”

Constitutional Amendment # 4

As proposed by SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 178 (111th) & SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 55 (112th)

Summary:

This amendment would delete article IX, section 1 of the Tennessee Constitution, which prohibits ministers of the gospel and priests of any denomination from holding a seat in either House of the legislature.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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