“Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the Constitution?”

Should Rhode Islanders vote to hold a People’s Convention?

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See POLL results here

The Rhode Island constitution requires the Secretary of State to place such a question on the ballot every 10 years. If approved by Ocean State voters in the upcoming November elections, a Constitutional Convention, more commonly referred to as a ConCon, would give voters a rare opportunity to have a more direct voice in the government of their state.

Stenhouse on ‘ABC-6’ TV, On The Record w/ Mark Curtis

Stenhouse on ‘State of the State’ TV: a people’s convention

Analysis: How a ConCon can benefit the Ocean State

Stenhouse: commission testimony video and OpEd 

Legal Brief: Why lawmakers cannot serve as a ConCon delegate

Group Claims 2014 Voter Handbook Politicized

Given our state’s dismal economic and educational performance, many believe that a ConCon is the only opportunity to enact the kind of reforms that can help turn our state around. The Center believes that the current political class and legislative process have proven incapable of addressing the real concerns of real Rhode Islanders: A new reform vehicle is needed.

“Citizens want a government that works for all us, not just the special interests,” commented Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “A ConCon would give voters multiple avenues to express their views, that normally they would not have.”

DemocracyWordCloudIncreased Voice for the People: In addition to voting for the legislators who will determine the rules for a convention, voters would have three additional opportunities to shape the state’s future:

  • Vote to approve or not approve a convention in the fall of 2014
  • Vote to elect delegates to the ConCon (likely in a special election in 2015)
  • Vote to ratify recommended amendments to the state constitution, after they are approved by a ConCon (likely some time during or after 2016)

A properly run ConCon can also be free of the traditional insider politics and cronyism that dominates the normal legislative process. In this regard, the Center recommends that:

  • Nonpartisan candidates and elections of the ConCon delegates
  • Sitting lawmakers be barred from running as delegates
  • Full transparency with 100% open meetings to the public
  • Highly regarded business and community leaders proactively express their interest in running as candidates as convention delegates

ConCon Benefits: There are many potential benefits and measures that may be considered via a state ConCon, including:

  • Executive and legislative tools to limit spending and taxation 
  • Real ethics reform
  • Collective bargaining reform
  • Education
  • Election Reforms

To participate in a discussion on Twitter: #ConConRI

For more details and legal analysis on these and other ConCon related issues, read the Center’s initial report, How a ConCon Can Benefit the Ocean State. (to be published 8/7/14)

[button url=”http://www.rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/ricfp-pathtoconcon-080614.pdf” target=”_blank” size=”medium” style=”royalblue” ] ConCon Analysis & Recommendations [/button]

For more information about a ConCon and its history in Rhode Island … go to RhodeIslandConCon.info .