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Utah on track to pass most of its amendments on the 2020 ballot

FILE -- Election ballots are processed by workers at the Utah County Clerk/Auditor’s Office in Provo on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Aside from the dozens of candidates Utahns voted for in the 2020 election, voters could also approve or reject seven amendments to change the state constitution. 

As of 9 p.m. Wednesday, the state is on track to pass them all.  

Here’s a rundown of what we know so far: 

Constitutional Amendment A — 

For: 57.89%

Against: 42.11%

What’s on the table: Amendment A would alter the state constitution to use gender-neutral language rather than pronouns that apply to a single gender — opting for “persons” rather than “men.”

For example, the measure would change Article I, Section I from reading, “All men have the inherent and inalienable right to enjoy and defend their lives and liberties.” Instead, it would read, “All persons.” 

If passed, the amendment will go into effect Jan. 1, 2021. 

Constitutional Amendment B —

For: 80.21%

Against: 19.79%

What’s on the table: Amendment B would clarify that candidates running for office must meet eligibility requirements at the time of election, rather than at the time of assuming office. The amendment would not change qualifications to run for office. 

Amendment B was proposed by Utah Rep. Craig Hall (R-West Valley City) arguing the constitution was “silent and therefore unclear” about when a candidate must meet certain qualifications. The state legislature passed the measure unanimously in 2019, securing its place on the November ballot.  

Constitutional Amendment C —

For: 80.66%

Against: 19.34%

What’s on the table: Amendment C would remove the reference to “slavery and involuntary servitude” from the state constitution. As of right now, Utah mirrors the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which bans slavery except in the context of criminal punishment. 

The measure is co-sponsored by Rep. Sandra Hollins (D-Salt Lake City) and Rep. Jacob Anderegg (R-Lehi) and was unanimously passed by the state legislature in 2019. 

In 2018, Colorado became the first state to remove “slavery” and “involuntary servitude” from its state constitution. Twenty-one states still uphold the original language. 

If passed, Amendment C would remove the references to slavery but uphold the current administration of the criminal justice system. 

Constitutional Amendment D —

For: 60.95%

Against: 39.05%

What’s on the table: Amendment D seeks to revise municipal water rights in Utah, allowing cities to supply water outside of its boundaries if desired. If passed, a city can supply any excess water to retail markets or exchanges if it meets all its required needs and demands.

The measure is sponsored by Rep. Keven Stratton (R-Orem), who said the bill would seek to “address some issues that have been festering for decades.”

Constitutional Amendment E —

For: 74.54%

Against: 25.46%

What’s on the table: Amendment E would establish the right to hunt or fish in the state of Utah, declaring it as the preferred way to manage and control wildlife populations. 

If passed, Utah would join 22 other states in the U.S. in providing constitutional protections for hunting and fishing. The measure would take effect Jan. 1, 2021. 

Constitutional Amendment F —

For: 66.73%

Against: 33.27%

What’s on the table: Amendment F would set an official start date for the state’s annual legislative session. As of 2020, the state legislature convenes on the fourth Monday in January. 

If passed, the measure would allow the legislature to set a specific date for the 45-day session to begin. Currently, if Utah lawmakers wanted to set a date they would need to amend the constitution with a two-thirds majority from the state legislature — which would then require a majority vote from the state in the next election. 

This measure would omit that requirement, allowing lawmakers to set a date with a simple majority vote within the legislature. 

Constitutional Amendment G —

For: 53.60%

Against: 46.40%

What’s on the table: Amendment G would allow the Utah state legislature to allocate revenue from income taxes and intangible property taxes to support children and individuals with a disability. As of right now, that revenue may only go toward education. 

If passed, Utah House Bill 357: “Public Education Funding Stabilization” would then take effect — which would provide ongoing funding for education with additional funding determined by enrollment and inflation.