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State lawmakers vote for package of 5 constitutional changes

December 15, 2021 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The state House on Wednesday approved a bundle of constitutional amendments, part of an ongoing tactic by Republicans to pursue policy objectives by going around Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

The House voted 113 to 87 for the bill, which was the final vote required this session under the state’s constitutional amendment process. To go before voters for a final OK, the bill must pass both legislative chambers in the 2023-24 session as well.

Republican majorities in both chambers have increasingly been using the constitutional amendment process in pursuit of policy goals that would otherwise face a veto from Wolf.

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The proposed amendments would limit executive orders, allow gubernatorial candidates to pick their own lieutenant governor running mates, let lawmakers disapprove regulations without facing a governor’s veto, outline an election audit method and require ID for voters.

Democrats on the losing end of the vote warned the changes would eviscerate environmental regulations and create practical problems for the Department of State as it administers elections.

If lawmakers give them a second round of appeals, the proposed amendments would be submitted to voters as five distinct ballot questions.