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House Lawmakers Want To Amend U.S. Constitution

The Utah House of Representatives
Dan Bammes
The Utah House of Representatives voted, 41-33, on Tuesday to seek a constitutional convention.

Republican Ken Ivory represents South Jordan in the Utah House, and he’s known for long and lofty speeches about how he thinks the federal government’s gone rogue. He’s revived a measure from last year that urges the states to get together to fix the U.S. Constitution. And, while it passed the House, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

“It does three things that allows us to fix the system,” he told fellow House members in promoting his bill, “this unique, beautiful system that allocated and distributed power and checks and balances among state and national government and then within the three branches of the federal government. That system is broken.”

Ivory said his resolution would let the states set the agenda for change, bringing them together to discuss amendments to forcing fiscal restraint on the federal government, reining in federal overreach and setting term limits for members of Congress and federal officials.

House members who spoke about the measure praised the Constitution, but members of both parties worried aloud about the risks of tampering with the nation’s guiding principles. One was Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, who said she fears for minorities and the poor at a constitutional convention because of the nation’s current political climate.

“I’m afraid their voice will not be heard,” she said during the floor debate. “It would once again be people, the rich and the powerful, who will be sitting at the table making these decisions without everybody’s voice being heard.”

Ivory’s non-binding resolution failed the House last year. But, on Tuesday, his colleagues voted, 41 to 33, send the measure over to the Senate for its review.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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