The House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs, packed with conservative Republicans, approved measures today aimed at changing the U.S. Constitution.
The committee endorsed:
* HB 1006 by Rep. Nate Bell to commit Arkansas to a “compact” to ensure Arkansas would join with other states to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget.
* HJR 1003 by Rep. Bob Ballinger to call for a U.S. constitutional convention under Article 5 of the Constitution to amend the constitution.
The committee failed to endorse:
* HJR 1001 by Rep. Doug House, a slightly altered version of Ballinger’s resolution, which he said more closely followed the provisions of Article 5. Ballinger’s proposal deviates from Article 5 in that it places some limitations on subjects that could be discussed.
For now, just know that there’s heavy opposition to these pet conservative aims. Also, these proposals face a potential roadblock in the Democratically controlled Senate State Agencies committee.
Opening the Constitution to amendment and requiring balanced budgets are both ideas fraught with peril. One of the first battles will be a debate on whether states have or have not voted for a convention in sufficient numbers. Over several decades, a number of states have supported a convention then rescinded that vote. Here’s a learned discussion of some of the issues.