It's Your Constitution!
CLICK HERE to sign the petition for a referendum on a Constitution convention.
CLICK HERE to download the petition and circulate it among your friends.
CLICK HERE to read The Citizen's Guide to a Modern Constitutional Convention.
It's been more than 130 years since the last time Pennsylvania's entire Constitution was proposed for revision. Since then, we have invented the airplane and flown to the moon. We have fought two World Wars and many smaller wars. We have learned to communicate over vast distances. We have extended each citizen's average life expectancy by decades.
So it's not surprising that many people think its time to revise our Constitution.
In "Your Ideas. Your Constitution." we provide text of the current Constitution. With it are your ideas for changing the Constitution and improving our government. They are presented as questions - "Should Pennsylvania citizens amend their Constitution to...?" because we hope they will stimulate serious thought and discussion among our citizens.
Some have said that citizens can't be trusted with a convention where every section of the Constitution is open for amendment. They say that wild ideas will find their way into the Constitution.
But it's not easy to amend the Constitution - and it shouldn't be. First, a majority of the delegates to the convention must approve the change. Then a majority of Pennsylvania's voters have to approve the change by referendum.
Amendments also can happen through a legislative process. This requires the General Assembly to approve identical language in two consecutive sessions. Then the voters must approve it by referendum.
That's a long way for a wild idea to travel without being tamed. People on every side of any issue will have lots of time to make their arguments and try to persuade the voters that their approach is right. That's the way the system is supposed to work.
Are there risks? Of course. But the American system of government has always been risky, and if our founders hadn't been willing to take those risks, we would not have the freedom that has inspired the world's people for centuries.
You can find the official version of the Constitution at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania web site.
The Duquesne University School of Law also maintains a web site dedicated to the history of Pennsylvania's Constitution. This site includes all versions of our Constitution since 1776, histories and important court decisions about the Constitution.