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Time for a Convention of States

By Wisconsin Spotlight

MADISON — U.S. debt stands at more than $23 trillion. That’s about $180,000 per American household.

Something’s got to give.

State Rep. Dan Knodl says it’s long overdue that the states come together and fix the federal government.

The Germantown Republican is co-author of a resolution calling on Wisconsin to join a Convention of States. The measure, which recently passed in the Assembly, is ultimately about bringing together delegates to consider three changes to the constitution — a balanced budget amendment, limitations on federal authority, and term limits.

“It would require congress to call a convention. States would send their delegates who could propose amendments to the constitution,” Knodl told Wisconsin Spotlight’s Matt Kittle last week on the Jay Weber Show, on NewsTalk 1130 WISN.

He said a “fear factor” and “hollow threats” have made some conservatives leery of the Convention of States resolution, that it could somehow open the door for all kinds of unwanted changes to the constitution.

But the application for a convention strictly specifies the amendments up for consideration. The threshold to even call the convention is high, requiring 34 states to sign on. Should the Senate approve, Wisconsin would become the 16th state to join the COS lineup. Because it’s a resolution, Gov. Tony Evers is not required to sign the measure — or veto it, as he is wont to do.

It would take approval from 38 states to ratify an amendment, a threshold last reached in 1992 with the ratification of the 27th Amendment.

Knodl said he’s hopeful the resolution will come to the Senate floor, as a limited version did in the last biennial session.”

“We were successful just two years ago with the balanced budget (COS) resolution. Then Senate President (Roger) Roth was opposed to it, however he allowed it to come to the floor. He voted against it but it did pass.” Knodl said.  “So even if the Senate president would be opposed to it, my ask would be that they allow it to come to the floor and let the senators take a vote on it.”

Track the status of Assembly Joint Resolution 77 here.

How to Contact Your Lawmaker

Legislative Hotline:

608-266-9960, or toll-free at 1-800-362-9472.

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