Wisconsin Assembly eyes constitutional convention
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote today on a proposal to call a convention of the states to consider making changes to the U.S. Constitution, including imposing term limits on federal offices.
Wisconsin would become the 16th state to pass such a resolution should it clear the Assembly today and then the Senate, both controlled by Republicans. Because it is a resolution, and not a state law, it does not require the signature of Democratic Gov. Tony Ever to be enacted.
It is not clear whether or when the Senate could vote on the measure.
Congress must receive requests from 34 states to convene a convention of the states. Congress can also refer amendments to the states by a two-thirds vote of each chamber. Both methods require at least 38 states to ratify an amendment before it can take effect.
The convention process has never been used to amend the Constitution.
Democrats in Wisconsin oppose the resolution calling for a constitutional convention it but they don’t have the votes to block it. They and other opponents argue that calling a constitutional convention could get out of control, leading to far-ranging revisions that could drastically reshape the nation’s founding document.
The measure builds upon a similar resolution the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature passed in 2017 that allowed for calling a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. The latest one is more expansive.
The latest proposal allows for the convention to consider three things: imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government; limiting the federal government’s powers and jurisdiction; and imposing term limits for members of Congress and other federal officials.
Thirty states have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention to pass a balanced budget amendment. Fifteen states have passed the more expansive one being considered currently in the Wisconsin Legislature.