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A breakdown of the candidates and issues on Utahns' ballots this November.

Constitutional Amendments

The 2020 ballot has seven constitutional amendments for voters to consider. The Utah Legislature passed bills proposing the amendments, and the amendments will go into effect if they’re approved by the majority of Utah voters. Questions about constitutional amendments are different from ballot initiatives, which are proposed by citizens and change laws.

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On your ballot: Constitutional Amendment A

What it does: Removes gender-specific language from the constitution. For example, it would replace the word “men” with the word “persons.” The measure passed the Utah House and Senate by unanimous vote of lawmakers present.

✅   Proponents argue language uniformity is important in state statute and the constitution. The amendment doesn’t change the substance or meaning of the constitution. It’s a technical update.

❌   No formal arguments against this were submitted to the state elections office, and the measure passed unanimously in the Utah House and Senate.

What comes next: The Legislative Analyst’s office has said if the amendment passes, it isn’t likely to cost local or state government any money or result in tax increases or new regulations on people and businesses.

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On your ballot: Constitutional Amendment B

What it does: Outlines when legislators need to meet eligibility requirements, such as age and residency status. The amendment clarifies that qualifications need to be met at the time of election or appointment instead of when they assume office.

✅   Supporters say it provides clarity to candidates about their eligibility. The bill’s sponsor said this amendment would address a real question that arose in a Davis County race.

❌   No formal arguments against this were submitted to the state elections office, and the measure passed unanimously in the Utah House and Senate.

What comes next: The Legislative Analyst’s office has said if the amendment passes, it isn’t likely to cost local or state government any money or result in tax increases or new regulations on people and businesses.

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On your ballot: Constitutional Amendment C

What it does: Removes an exception for slavery in the state constitution. Currently, slavery is prohibited except for as a punishment for crimes.

✅   Supporters argue that removing slavery from the constitution demonstrates Utahns don’t support hurtful and outdated language. Many hope it will also lead to a conversation about improvements in the criminal justice system.

❌   Some lawmakers had questions during the 2019 legislative session about whether this would have any implications in the current criminal justice system. The language of the bill was amended to clarify that it will not, and the measure passed unanimously in the Utah House and Senate.

What comes next: The amendment’s sponsors have clarified it won’t impact current practices in the criminal justice system. The Legislative Analyst’s office has said if the amendment passes, it isn’t likely to cost local or state government any money or result in tax increases or new regulations on people and businesses.

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On your ballot: Constitutional Amendment D

What it does: Clarifies that municipalities, like cities and towns, are allowed to supply water to people outside the municipality. It also allows municipalities to draw their own boundaries of the area served by its water supply.

✅ Many municipalities have supplied water outside their boundaries, which helps development in unincorporated areas. Supporters say uncertainty about whether that is legal has led to uncertainty in the water marketplace, and argue this constitutional amendment would provide more consistency and stability.

❌   No formal arguments against this were submitted to the state elections office, and the measure passed unanimously in the Utah House and Senate.

What comes next: The Legislative Analyst’s office has said if the amendment passes, it isn’t likely to cost local or state government any money or result in tax increases or new regulations on people and businesses.

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On your ballot: Constitutional Amendment E

What it does: Amends the constitution to say that the right of people to hunt and fish “shall be forever preserved.” It also declares that hunting and fishing is the preferred way “of managing and controlling wildlife.” The measure passed the Utah House 61-9-5 and the Utah Senate 18-9-2.

✅   Other states have passed regulations that proponents of this amendment argue “whittle away” at hunting. They worry those regulations could be coming to Utah, and say hunting and fishing help people appreciate nature and is a sign of liberty.

❌   Opponents say this is unnecessary because hunting and fishing is already protected by existing Utah laws. They say while hunting and fishing are important aspects of Utah’s culture, they are not so important they need to be included in the constitution, alongside the right to bear arms and the right to free speech. Opponents worry that including unnecessary sections in Utah’s constitution dilutes the rest of it.

What Comes Next: This isn’t likely to have any immediate impact on hunting and fishing in Utah, as it doesn’t change the permitting process or other state regulations. The Legislative Analyst’s office has said if the amendment passes, it isn’t likely to cost local or state government any money or result in tax increases or new regulations on people and businesses.

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On your ballot: Constitutional Amendment F

What it does: Allows the state Legislature to change the start date of their General Session by statute rather than by constitutional amendment. Lawmakers passed a law earlier this year that would make the start date the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the third Monday of January. The General Session is currently a maximum of 45 Days long, not including federal holidays. Amendment F would also exclude state holidays from counting toward the maximum number of days. The Utah Senate passed the measure by unanimous vote of those present. The Utah House passed it 50-24-1.

✅ The state has changed the start date of the Legislative session twice: for the 2002 Olympics and to prevent overlap with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Proponents of this amendment argue changing the start date via constitutional amendment is a lengthy and expensive process, and that this saves money and provides flexibility for the Legislature.

❌ Critics of the change say that the certainty provided by having the start date written in the constitution helps lawmakers, lobbyists and residents plan better. Some lawmakers are concerned that making the session start earlier in January would mean that prep work for the session could bleed into the holidays.

What Comes Next: A state law passed this year would go into effect, which changes the start date of the Legislature’s General Session to the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a week earlier than it starts now. The Legislative Analyst’s office has said if the amendment passes, it isn’t likely to cost local or state government any money or result in tax increases or new regulations on people and businesses.

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On your ballot: Constitutional Amendment G

What it does: Allows income and property tax revenue earmarked for education to be used for programs that support children and people with disabilities. If this amendment passes, it would activate another law that creates an education stabilization fund and requires the Legislature to adjust per-pupil funding for inflation each year. The measure passed the Utah Senate 23-6-0 and the Utah House 67-5-3.

✅   Supporters of this amendment say it gives education funding more stability to help safeguard it during times of economic hardship, like 2020. They say it recognizes that physical and mental health are important for success in school, and gives the state more flexibility to help children academically.

❌   Opponents underscore that Utah ranks last in the nation for per-pupil spending, and say now is not the time to divert funding away from them. They say this will pit public education against programs for kids and people with disabilities against each other, creating a lose-lose situation.

What Comes Next: This amendment would not immediately or automatically divert funding from Education to programs that benefit children or people with disabilities. It would allow the state Legislature to make those changes early next year as it builds the budget for the next fiscal year. The Legislative Analyst’s office has said if the amendment passes, it isn’t likely to cost local or state government any money or result in tax increases or new regulations on people and businesses.

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