Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday backed a resolution up for an Assembly vote next week that would move Wisconsin closer to joining 29 other states in calling for an unprecedented constitutional convention.
Proponents of the measure want to invoke a provision under Article V of the U.S. Constitution that allows two-thirds of state Legislatures (34) to call for a convention, in this case to require the federal government to pass a balanced budget. Opponents fear a constitutional convention could lead to further revisions of the country’s founding document.
Congress has historically drafted constitutional amendments. Three-quarters of the states would have to ratify an amendment for it to be adopted under either scenario.
Walker focused on the high threshold for ratifying amendments — 38 states — in saying holding a convention “makes sense.”
“I don’t think it’s wrong, particularly when you look at things like a balanced budget or even things as simple as term limits for federal office,” Walker said. “Those things aren’t going to happen by virtue of the Congress. I think it makes sense for the people of this country to say we want to have a say.”
Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, wrote in a column distributed Wednesday that the Assembly should scrap the idea, saying it’s ironic that Republicans are pressing for the convention when they also control Congress and could draft amendments the conventional way.
She said a balanced-budget amendment, which fell short of the two-thirds support needed to pass the House in 1992, would make it harder for the federal government to counter economic recessions.
“Assembly lawmakers who take their responsibility of governing seriously should reject these foolhardy proposals, which would endanger our citizen rights and our nation’s ability to respond to emergencies,” Kaminski said.