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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

 7:11 PM 

Assembly backs call for constitutional convention

The Assembly voted 58-38 with one paired vote to back a convention that would add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Under AJR 81, the Legislature would officially call for an Article V convention to craft the amendment; a total of 34 states would need to take a similar step to trigger the convention.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, questioned “who put this in your mind, that what we really need to do is change the United States Constitution?”

“We’ve had a lot of people serve in this body over the years, but I haven’t seen one Thomas Jefferson. I haven’t seen one James Madison,” Barca said.

Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, added that “ALEC is getting its money’s worth today,” arguing that Republicans would have to raise taxes if a natural disaster or other calamity hit the state.

Rep. David Murphy, R-Greenville, said the Constitution is the most appropriate place to address the debt issue as a “framework” for the states to take concerns to the federal government.

“This is federalism. We both hold power. … That’s how this was designed,” added Rep. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield and the author of the resolution.

The chamber then passed AB 635, which would establish a process for sending delegates to an Article V convention. Under the bill, the chamber’s five delegates would be selected by the governor, Assembly speaker and Senate president; a Dem amendment to require minority representation was rejected.


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