Representative Turner has introduced the HB 1153 lipstick to put on the HJR 6/3 pig. One irritant to me about HB 1153 is proponents describing the bill as (and news media dutifully repeating) a “clarification” of the proposed Constitutional amendment.
When I was a legislative drafter, one of my jobs was to write the digests that summarized the effect of the bill. In those digests, I was always very careful not to claim that the bill “clarified” the law. Legislation specifies the law. Legislators and lobbyists like to downplay what they are doing by claiming that “this is already the law. We’re just clarifying it.” Thing is, if the law is unclear, then the possibility is that the actual law is something different. You are creating law by foreclosing that alternate possibility. That’s entirely proper for the legislature to do, but call it what it is — a specification of the law.
So, that’s the course of ordinary legislation. Here, however, you have something different. The General Assembly is attempting to specify what the law would be. Problem is, in this instance, they do not have the power to specify the law in this fashion. The Constitution trumps legislation. If the Constitutional language means something different, then the legislative specification has no more impact than me “specifying” or “clarifying” the law on my blog. In that situation, they are just words on a page.