Charleston, W.Va – During the General Election this fall, voters in West Virginia will consider four separate and distinct amendments to the state’s Constitution.
During their regular session earlier this year, the West Virginia legislature passed resolutions asking voters to consider each proposal. The legislature agreed to place the proposed amendments on the General Election ballot where voter participation is usually highest.
According to WV Secretary of State Mac Warner, to become part of the State Constitution an amendment must pass by a majority of voters who cast a vote on the question.
“Voters are being asked to consider four separate amendments to the state constitution,” said Secretary Warner. “Amendments to our constitution should be carefully reviewed and considered by every citizen.”
The language and ballot order for all four amendments can be found below and also on our website. Printed versions are also available by calling the WVSOS Elections Division at (304) 558-6000.
Amendment No. 1: Clarification of the Judiciary’s Role in Impeachment Proceedings Amendment
Summary of Purpose: “Clarifying that courts have no authority or jurisdiction to intercede or intervene in or interfere with impeachment proceedings of the House of Delegates or the Senate; and specifying that a judgment rendered by the Senate following an impeachment trial is not reviewable by any court of this state.”
Full Text of the Amendment:
§9. Impeachment of officials.
Any officer of the state may be impeached for maladministration, corruption, incompetency, gross immorality, neglect of duty, or any high crime or misdemeanor. The House of Delegates has the sole power of impeachment. The Senate has the sole power to try impeachments and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members elected thereto.
When sitting as a court of impeachment, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, or, if from any cause it be improper for him or her to act, then any other judge of that court, to be designated by it, shall preside; and the senators shall be on oath or affirmation, to do justice according to law and evidence.
Judgment in cases of impeachment does not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit, under the state; but the party convicted remains liable to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment according to law. The Senate may sit during the recess of the Legislature for the trial of impeachments. No court of this state has any authority or jurisdiction, by writ or otherwise, to intercede or intervene in, or interfere with, any impeachment proceedings of the House of Delegates or the Senate conducted hereunder; nor is any judgment rendered by the Senate following a trial of impeachment reviewable by any court of this state.
Amendment No. 2: Property Tax Modernization Amendment Summary of Purpose
Summary of Purpose: “To amend the State Constitution by providing the Legislature with authority to exempt tangible machinery and equipment personal property directly used in business activity and tangible inventory personal property directly used in business activity and personal property tax on motor vehicles from ad valorem property taxation by general law.”
Full Text of the Amendment:
§1. Taxation and finance.
Subject to the exceptions in this section contained, taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the state, and all property, both real and personal, shall be taxed in proportion to its value to be ascertained as directed by law. No one species of property from which a tax may be collected shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value; except that the aggregate of taxes assessed in any one year upon personal property employed exclusively in agriculture, including horticulture and grazing, products of agriculture as above defined, including livestock, while owned by the producer, and money, notes, bonds, bills and accounts receivable, stocks and other similar intangible personal property shall not exceed fifty cents on each one hundred dollars of value thereon and upon all property owned, used and occupied by the owner thereof exclusively for residential purposes and upon farms occupied and cultivated by their owners or bona fide tenants, one dollar; and upon all other property situated outside of municipalities, one dollar and fifty cents; and upon all other property situated within municipalities, two dollars; and the Legislature shall further provide by general law for increasing the maximum rates, authorized to be fixed, by the different levying bodies upon all classes of property, by submitting the question to the voters of the taxing units affected, but no increase shall be effective unless at least sixty percent of the qualified voters shall favor such increase, and such increase shall not continue for a longer period than three years at any one time, and shall never exceed by more than fifty percent the maximum rate herein provided and prescribed by law; and the revenue derived from this source shall be apportioned by the Legislature among the levying units of the state in proportion to the levy laid in said units upon real and other personal property; but property used for educational, literary, scientific, religious or charitable purposes, all cemeteries, public property, tangible machinery and equipment personal property directly used in business activity, tangible inventory personal property directly used in business activity, personal property tax on motor vehicles, the personal property, including livestock, employed exclusively in agriculture as above defined and the products of agriculture as so defined while owned by the producers may by law be exempted from taxation; household goods to the value of two hundred dollars shall be exempted from taxation. The Legislature shall have authority to tax privileges, franchises, and incomes of persons and corporations and to classify and graduate the tax on all incomes according to the amount thereof and to exempt from taxation incomes below a minimum to be fixed from time to time, and such revenues as may be derived from such tax may be appropriated as the Legislature may provide. After the year nineteen hundred thirty-three, the rate of the state tax upon property shall not exceed one cent upon the hundred dollars valuation, except to pay the principal and interest of bonded indebtedness of the state now existing.
Amendment No. 3: Incorporation of Churches or Religious Denominations Amendment
Summary of Purpose: “To authorize the incorporation of churches or religious denominations.”
Full Text of the Amendment:
Article VI. The Legislature.
§47. Incorporation of religious denominations permitted.
Provisions may be made by general laws for securing the title to church property, and for the sale and transfer thereof, so that it shall be held, used, or transferred for the purposes of such church or religious denomination. Provisions may also be made by general laws for the incorporation of churches or religious denominations.
Amendment No. 4: Education Accountability Amendment
Summary of Purpose: “The purpose of this amendment is to clarify that the rules and policies promulgated by the State Board of Education, are subject to legislative review, approval, amendment, or rejection.”
Full Text of the Amendment:
ARTICLE XII. EDUCATION.
§2. Supervision of free schools.
Subject to the provisions of this section, the general supervision of the free schools of the State is vested in the West Virginia Board of Education which shall perform the duties prescribed by law. Under its supervisory duties, the West Virginia Board of Education may promulgate rules or policies which shall be submitted to the Legislature for its review and approval, amendment, or rejection, in whole or in part, in the manner prescribed by general law. The board shall consist of nine members to be appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for overlapping terms of nine years. No more than five members of the board shall belong to the same political party, and in addition to the general qualifications otherwise required by the Constitution, the Legislature may require other specific qualifications for membership on the board. No member of the board may be removed from office by the Governor except for official misconduct, incompetence, neglect of duty, or gross immorality, and then only in the manner prescribed by law for the removal by the Governor of state elective officers. The West Virginia Board of Education shall, in the manner prescribed by law, select the State Superintendent of Free Schools who shall serve at its will and pleasure. He or she shall be the chief school officer of the state and shall perform the duties prescribed by law. The State Superintendent of Free Schools shall be a member of the Board of Public Works as provided by subsection B, section fifty-one, article VI of this Constitution.