Massachusetts, USA, regional Authorities' minority plebiscite [MTP] - Completion of The Initiative (amendment)

General Typology

Instrument
Authorities' minority plebiscite [MTP]
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Completion of The Initiative (amendment)
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Massachusetts Constitution
Article XLVIII, Part I
Legislative power shall continue to be vested in the general court; but the people reserve to themselves the popular initiative, which is the power of a specified number of voters to submit constitutional amendments and laws to the people for approval or rejection [...]

Article LXXXI, Section 1
[...] If a proposal for a specific amendment of the constitution is introduced into the general court by initiative petition signed in the aggregate by not less than such number of voters as will equal three per cent of the entire vote cast for governor at the preceding biennial state election, [...] such proposal shall, not later than the second Wednesday in May, be laid before a joint session of the two houses, at which the president of the senate shall preside; and if the two houses fail to agree upon a time for holding any joint session hereby required, or fail to continue the same from time to time until final action has been taken upon all amendments pending, the governor shall call such joint session or continuance thereof.

Article XLVIII, Part IV
[...]
Section 4.[...] At such joint session [...] an initiative amendment receiving the affirmative votes of not less than one-fourth of all the members elected, shall be referred to the next general court.
Section 5. Submission to the People. If in the next general court [...] an initiative amendment or a legislative substitute shall again receive the affirmative votes of at least one-fourth of all the members elected, such fact shall be certified by the clerk of such joint session to the secretary of the commonwealth, who shall submit the amendment to the people at the next state election. Such amendment shall become part of the constitution if approved [...] in the case of an initiative amendment or a legislative substitute, by voters equal in number to at least thirty per cent of the total number of ballots cast at such state election and also by a majority of the voters voting on such amendment.

Source: Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (accessed 22 June 2017)

Subject Matter:

Submitting constitutional amendments initiated by the people and approved by the legislature to popular vote

Actors

Author:
Citizen : For the instrument concerning the first part of this initiative process, see Massachusetts PAX: The Initiative (amendment)
Initiator:
Legislature : The initiative must pass by affirmative votes of 1/4 in a joint session of legislature for 2 consecutive sessions in order to be submitted to the people (Massachusetts Constitution, Article XLVIII, Part IV, Section 4).
Decision maker:
Electorate : Must be approved by 30% of the total number of votes at the election as well as a majority of votes on the measure (Massachusetts Constitution, Article XLVIII, Part IV, Section 5).

Requirements

Available Time:
Turnout Quorum:
The initiative must receive passing votes from 30% of the total number of voters at the election. (Massachusetts Constitution, Article XLVIII, Part IV, Section 5)
Approval Quorum:
The initiative must receive passing votes from 30% of the total number of voters at the election. (Massachusetts Constitution, Article XLVIII, Part IV, Section 5)
Geographical Quorum:
Legal source does not mention geographical quorum
Excluded Issues:

Massachusetts Constitution, Article XLVIII, Part II, Section 2
Excluded Matters. - No measure that relates to religion, religious practices or religious institutions; or to the appointment, qualification, tenure, removal, recall or compensation of judges; or to the reversal of a judicial decision; or to the powers, creation or abolition of courts; or the operation of which is restricted to a particular town, city or other political division or to particular districts or localities of the commonwealth; or that makes a specific appropriation of money from the treasury of the commonwealth, shall be proposed by an initiative petition; but if a law approved by the people is not repealed, the general court shall raise by taxation or otherwise and shall appropriate such money as may be necessary to carry such law into effect.
Neither the eighteenth amendment of the constitution, as approved and ratified to take effect on the first day of October in the year nineteen hundred and eighteen, nor this provision for its protection, shall be the subject of an initiative amendment.
No proposition inconsistent with any one of the following rights of the individual, as at present declared in the declaration of rights, shall be the subject of an initiative or referendum petition: The right to receive compensation for private property appropriated to public use; the right of access to and protection in courts of justice; the right of trial by jury; protection from unreasonable search, unreasonable bail and the law martial; freedom of the press; freedom of speech; freedom of elections; and the right of peaceable assembly.
No part of the constitution specifically excluding any matter from the operation of the popular initiative and referendum shall be the subject of an initiative petition; nor shall this section be the subject of such a petition.
[...]
Article LXXIV, Section 1
[The attorney general] shall certify that the measure and the title thereof are in proper form for submission to the people, and that the measure is not, either affirmatively or negatively, substantially the same as any measure which has been qualified for submission or submitted to the people at either of the two preceding biennial state elections [...]

Souce: Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (accessed 22 June 2017)

Other Formal Requirements:

Procedural Elements

Wording Of Ballot Question:

Massachusetts Constitution, Article XLVIII, Part VI
The general court, by resolution passed as hereinbefore set forth, may provide for grouping and designating upon the ballot as conflicting measures or as alternative measures, only one of which is to be adopted, any two or more proposed constitutional amendments or laws which have been or may be passed or qualified for submission to the people at any one election: provided, that a proposed constitutional amendment and a proposed law shall not be so grouped, and that the ballot shall afford an opportunity to the voter to vote for each of the measures or for only one of the measures, as may be provided in said resolution, or against each of the measures so grouped as conflicting or as alternative.

Article LXXIV, Section 4
[...] A fair, concise summary, as determined by the attorney general, subject to such provision as may be made by law, of each proposed amendment to the constitution, and each law submitted to the people, shall be printed on the ballot, and the secretary of the commonwealth shall give each question a number and cause such question, except as otherwise authorized herein, to be printed on the ballot in the following form:--
In the case of an amendment to the constitution: Do you approve of the adoption of an amendment to the constitution summarized below, (here state, in distinctive type, whether approved or disapproved by the general court, and by what vote thereon)?
[Set forth summary here]
[...]

Source: Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (accessed 22 June 2017) 

Interaction With Authorities:

III. Legislative Action. General Provisions
Section 1. Reference to Committee. - If a measure is introduced into the general court by initiative petition, it shall be referred to a committee thereof, and the petitioners and all parties in interest shall be heard, and the measure shall be considered and reported upon to the general court with the committee's recommendations, and the reasons therefor, in writing. Majority and minority reports shall be signed by the members of said committee.
Section 2. Legislative Substitutes. - The general court may, by resolution passed by yea and nay vote, either by the two houses separately, or in the case of a constitutional amendment by a majority of those voting thereon in joint session in each of two years as hereinafter provided, submit to the people a substitute for any measure introduced by initiative petition, such substitute to be designated on the ballot as the legislative substitute for such an initiative measure and to be grouped with it as an alternative therefor.

IV. Legislative Action on Proposed Constitutional Amendments
[...]
Section 3
A proposal for an amendment to the constitution introduced by initiative petition shall be voted upon in the form in which it was introduced, unless such amendment is amended by vote of three-fourths of the members voting thereon in joint session [...]


Source: Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (accessed 22 June 2017)

Supervision And Support:

General Laws
Part I, Chapter VIII, Chapter 54, Section 53
[...] The secretary shall cause to be printed and sent to all residential addresses and to each voter residing in group residential quarters, with copies of the measures to which they refer, a summary prepared by the attorney general, a ballot question title prepared jointly by the attorney general and state secretary, fair and neutral one sentence statements describing the effect of a yes or no vote prepared jointly by the attorney general and state secretary, and, as provided in section fifty-four, arguments for and against measures to be submitted to the voters under Article XLVIII of the Amendments to the Constitution. [...]

Section 54
The state secretary shall cause to be printed and sent, in the manner provided in section fifty-three, arguments for and against every measure to be submitted to the voters of the commonwealth. No argument shall contain more than one hundred and fifty words. The secretary shall seek such arguments from the principal proponents and opponents of each initiative or referendum petition [...]

Source: Massachusetts General Laws (accessed 22 June 2017)

Transparency And Finance:

Practice

Archive:
Remarks: