JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Republican Missouri lawmakers are divided over how far to go with a ballot measure that would make it more difficult for future voters to amend the state constitution.

The GOP-led House on Thursday amended a proposed constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would raise the vote threshold needed for all constitutional amendments going forward.

The heart of the proposed amendment would raise the percentage of votes needed to enact voter-directed constitutional changes.

Currently, the constitution is amended with a simple majority statewide vote.

Under the Republican proposal, amendments also would need a majority of votes in five of the state’s eight congressional districts to pass.

House lawmakers on Thursday added a provision to the amendment to ban noncitizens from voting — which they already can’t do — setting up a showdown with the GOP-led Senate.

In the Senate, Democrats earlier this year negotiated with Republicans to strip the language stating that noncitizens cannot vote.

House Republican Majority Leader Jon Patterson on Monday acknowledged that including additional provisions could mean that the proposed amendment is killed in the Senate. But Patterson said House members are willing to take that risk.

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Missouri Republicans have been trying for years to put stricter limits on constitutional amendments, arguing that policies such as the legalization of recreational marijuana, approved by voters in 2022, should not be included in the document.

“It’s not meant as a document that is going to be coopted by special interests, by political parties, by deep pockets, by billionaires out of state, (and) foreign interests,” Republican Rep. Adam Schnelting said during House floor debate. “That is not the purpose of the constitution.”

House Democratic Minority Leader Crystal Quade told reporters Thursday that the measure would take “away the citizens’ ability to, in my opinion, hold the Legislature accountable.”

“Missouri citizens have used the ballot initiative whenever the Legislature has gone too far or not done enough,” Quade said. “Whether that was for passing Medicaid expansion and stopping right to work, legalization of medical and recreational marijuana; the list goes on and on.”

The GOP faces added pressure this year as advocates work to get a constitutional amendment that would restore abortion rights in Missouri on the ballot this fall.

If lawmakers send the constitutional changes to the August ballot and they are approved by voters, the higher vote-threshold would be in place if the abortion-rights amendment is on the November ballot.