Constitutional Convention May Be On the Horizon In Rhode Island

Aug 8, 2013

Rhode Island voters can expect to decide next year whether to organize a constitutional convention.  Voters are supposed to be asked that question once every 10 years.

The question of whether to stage a constitutional convention can be put on the ballot by either the General Assembly or the secretary of state. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis said if the legislature doesn’t pose the question for voters, he’ll put it on the ballot next year.

"We are going to interpret both the actual language of the constitution and the past usage of the constitution to require me to put it on the ballot for 2014," said Mollis.

Constitutional conventions can be used to change the structure of state government. Rhode Island’s most recent constitutional convention took place in 1986.

House Speaker Gordon Fox said he’s undecided about whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. Senate President Teresa Pavia Weed is personally in favor of organizing a convention, but says she hasn’t discussed the issue yet with her colleagues in the Senate.

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