Senate Committee approves bills calling for Convention of States

AUSTIN - The Senate Committee on State Affairs voted Thursday to send three bills related to calling a Convention of States to the full senate for a vote.

Calling a convention is one of Governor Greg Abbott's emergency items which means the Senate can vote on the bills right away. 

A Convention of States falls under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. It declares that if 34 states agree to a convention, Congress has to call one to consider making amendments to the constitution.

The Texas lawmakers calling for a convention want to change three things. They want to require congress pass a balanced budget, limit the regulatory jurisdiction of the federal government and to impose term limits on congress.

Constitutional law expert and University of Texas Professor of Law and Government, Sanford Levinson, PhD, JD, says while he supports a convention, it is unlikely to change anything because 38 states would have to agree to the amendments.

"The most likely consequence of a new constitution convention is that at the end of the day nothing would happen. Either because the constitution convention would just end up with people shouting at one another or even if they could agree on certain proposals, if they were controversial, it's really quite unlikely that you couldn't find 13 states out of the 50 to say no," Levinson said. 

Levinson noted a Convention of States has never been called, though it was mildly pushed in the 1980s. 

So far eight states have signed on to calling a convention. 

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