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Constitutions » KS Constitution » Amendment Process

Of the 15 Articles of the Kansas Constitution, Article 14 is the section outlining the amendment process.

There are two basic methods of amending the state constitution. However, both methods require that a two-thirds majority in the Kansas House of Representatives and the Senate are in favor of revising or amending the constitution. Also, both methods mandate that a statewide ballot be given in order to determine whether the amendment is adopted.

Kansas Constitution image
Kansas Constitution
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society

The first method is by proposals of the Legislature. In this process either house of the Kansas Legislature can propose an amendment to the state's constitution. Two-thirds of the members of each chamber must approve the resolution. If they do, the proposed amendment goes on either the next statewide ballot during which members of the state Legislature are elected, or on a special election ballot if the Legislature agrees to have a special election for this purpose. If a simple majority of the electors of the state who vote on the proposition agree with it, it becomes part of the constitution.

The second method is by constitutional convention. In this system, if two-thirds of the members of each house of the Kansas Legislature vote in favor, the question, "Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the constitution of the state of Kansas?" or, "Shall there be a convention limited to revision of article(s) _____ of the constitution of the state of Kansas?" shall be placed on a statewide ballot. If a simple majority of those voting on that question say "yes," there shall be a convention. Any amendments or revisions that come out of the convention must go before the state's voters.

Up to five amendments are allowed per election. An entire article can be amended in the constitution, and all articles can be amended except for the article on "general provisions."

Amendments have been approved by Kansas voters, such as women's suffrage. Kansas was actually the eighth state to grant women the right to vote at the state level in 1912. An amendment was passed to create a state lottery—voted in by 64 percent of Kansans in 1986 and established in 1987 by the "Kansas Lottery Act." In 2010, more than 88 percent of Kansans voted in favor of an amendment to acknowledge a person's "right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose."

Although amendments to the Kansas Constitution and even the United States Constitution can be made, the bedrock principles they establish –are meant to be upheld. The amendment process is long and difficult for a reason. This kind of change should not be taken lightly, as every citizen in the United States is affected by an amendment to the nation's constitution just as every resident of the state is affected by an amendment to the state constitution.