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Politics & Government

State Legislators Convene In Salt Lake City to Hammer Out Details of a Constitutional Convention

Photo of the Utah state capitol building.
Brian Grimmett

State legislators from around the country will convene in Salt Lake City starting Wednesday to draw up rules for what is known as an Article V convention.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows states to convene a convention to propose new amendments to the constitution. This has never happened before, but a group called the Assembly of State Legislatures is trying to change that. This week they’re gathering at the Utah State Capitol to create the rules that would govern any future Article V convention.

“Central government by its nature is controlling, it’s corrupting and the power should be spread among the states,” says Utah Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser.

He’s on the executive committee of the Assembly of State Legislatures. But there are others, like Democratic State Senator Jim Dabakis, who aren’t fans of the idea that the states would bypass the federal government to change the constitution.

“I mean, this makes no sense at all," Dabakis says. "And to think that the states could get together, rip up the constitution, and do a better job, lead by the Tea Party, should be terrorizing to reasonable thinking people everywhere in America.”

In the past, the Utah legislature has unsuccessfully called for an Article V Convention to create a balanced budget amendment. The Assembly of State Legislatures is made up of active legislators, both Republican and Democrat, from more than 30 states. 

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