An issue that's a top priority for Texas Governor Greg Abbott was discussed in the House Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility Thursday; calling a Convention of States to amend the U.S. Constitution.
The committee took up four bills related to a convention.
HB506 by Representative Phil King (R-Weatherford) doesn't call for a convention, but defines the qualifications, duties and limitations of the Texas delegates in the event a convention is called.
HJR39 by representative Rick Miller (R-Sugarland) is the companion bill to Senate Bill 2, which the Senate passed back in February. The bill outlines three things Texas wants to amend in a Convention of States: require congress pass a balanced budget, establish term limits for members of Congress and limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.
HJR44 by Representative Pail Workman (R-Austin) also aims to call a convention but slightly differs from HJR39 by not defining exactly what action the convention will take.
And SRJ38 by Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) rescinds previous applications by Texas to call a convention so that the new bills would go into effect.
While there was a large presence of supporters for calling an convention, there was some opposition.
"I have a lot of experience dealing with political conventions for the Republican party, I've done it for 30, 40 years," said Michael Openshaw who traveled from Plano to testify.
"We all know what a zoo a political convention is. This would be the zoo to end all zoos," he said. "The original thing that created our constitution was done in a vacuum with very highly intelligent people who were not necessarily politically motivated but motivated from a sense of duty. That is not the dynamic I feel we would get out of an Article V Convention today."
The Committee did not take a vote on the bills Thursday, but applying for a convention is a top priority for some members of the House.
It takes 34 states to call a Convention of States. Currently eight have signed on.