Amending the Constitution

The amending process for the Vermont Constitution can be found in Chapter II, Sec. 72. Proposals of amendment can be initiated every four years by the senate. A proposal must be approved by two/thirds of the senate (20 votes) before being sent to the house, where a majority vote is required for passage. Successful proposals are taken up by the succeeding legislature, the intervening election allowing voters an opportunity to instruct their legislators on whether to support any amendments. The proposal must then survive majority votes of the senate and house, before being placed before the voters for ratification.

The amending process has itself been amended three times. From 1777 until 1870 amendments could be proposed every seven years by a 13-member body, elected statewide, known as the Council of Censors. From 1870 to 1974 proposals had to go through the legislative/popular ratification process outlined above, though proposals could only be made every ten years. In 1974 the ten-year “time lock” was reduced to the current four-year period, beginning in 1975.

This page was last updated: 2014-07-22