For years, archconservative groups like the Utah Eagle Forum have opposed a states-called constitutional convention for a balanced budget amendment on the grounds that there could be a “runaway” convention, with delegates doing all kinds of crazy things.
Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber, believes he has an answer.
A supporter of the BBA4us.org, a group that is pushing state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention to adopt a balanced budget amendment, has opened a bill file that would strictly control any delegates Utah sends to such a convention.
He also has a resolution, HJR8, which would allow Utah to join a constitutional convention, after the required number of states have also called for the meeting.
And you can see how the movement is progressing across the states here.
“My bill will say that any delegate(s) we send to the constitutional convention may only, I stress only, vote on a balanced budget amendment – the reason the convention is called,” said Powell.
If the Utah delegate(s) votes or supports any other amendment to the U.S. Constitution, then that delegate(s) is automatically removed and recalled from the convention, said Powell.
And there will be other sanctions against any Utah delegate(s) that doesn’t strictly adhere to only dealing with a balanced budget amendment.
In a way, says Powell, the idea of a runaway convention taking away Americans rights or passing some weird amendments is false.
That’s because – just like with any constitutional amendment passed by Congress – any amendment(s) passed by a constitutional convention would have to come back to the state legislatures before it would be adopted.
And, as the Constitution requires, it takes three-fourths of state legislatures to approve a proposed constitutional amendment before it is adopted.
So, if some weird amendment were passed by the convention, Utah and the other 49 states would still have a say in the final adoption.
Any “runaway” convention would be thus checked.
But, said Powell, in an attempt to mollify the archconservative groups who oppose any constitutional convention under the “runaway” fear, he is glad to propose his bill that would quickly neutralize any Utah delegate not following his marching orders.
Other states are also passing not only the convention call for a balanced budget amendment, but also bills that strictly control their delegates to just the BB issue.
HJR8 is in the House Rules Committee, it has not yet had a public hearing. Powell’s companion bill controlling delegates has yet to be written.