So, who in the Utah House is really, really afraid of the monster at the end of the book?

Well, it is both Republicans and Democrats.

 

Together they killed HJR8 on Monday, a resolution that would have had Utah join other states in a state-called constitutional convention aimed at adopting a federal balanced budget amendment.

In his closing remarks, sponsor Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, attempted to imitate Grover’s voice in quoting a Sesame Street book entitled “The Monster At the End of This Book.”

Of course, there is no monster at the end of the book.

And there is really nothing to fear, said Powell, about a state-called constitutional convention going rogue and passing some kind of crazy amendments that would harm Americans more than help them.

So, for now, Utah will stand on the sidelines on such a national movement by states’ legislators.

It will take 34 states to call such a convention, and 38 states to adopt whatever balanced budget amendment comes out of the convention (which has never been called in the history of the United States.)

Twenty states have already joined the effort, or are working their way toward joining.

Utah won’t be one of them.

Both conservative and liberal groups are against such a state-called convention – the archconservatives worried that basic rights may be taken away, the liberals that conservatives will do something crazy in the convention and harm Congress’ ability to fund any number of social welfare and education programs.

All 75 House seats are up this year.

And both GOP and Democratic representatives will be facing their party’s delegates in convention this spring.

And a number of those delegates – extremes in both parties – may not like a candidate who voted for a constitutional convention.

Powell has a separate bill that details how Utah delegates to any constitutional convention will be picked, and their responsibilities once in the convention.

That bill may yet be passed, so even if Utah doesn’t willingly join the convention effort, there is a way to pick delegates to such a convention.

HJR8 failed in a 32-41 vote, with both Democrats and Republicans voting against the measure.