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Wisconsin Senate to vote on constitutional convention

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Senate was poised to pass a resolution Tuesday calling for a convention of the states to consider making changes to the U.S. Constitution, an effort backed by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.

The full Wisconsin Legislature in 2017 passed a resolution that allowed for calling a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. The latest proposal, which the Assembly passed last year, is more expansive.

It allows for the convention to consider three things: imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government; limiting the federal government’s powers and jurisdiction; and imposing term limits for members of Congress and other federal officials.

Democrats and other opponents argue that calling a constitutional convention could get out of control, leading to far-ranging revisions that could drastically reshape the nation’s founding document.

The current resolution has passed 15 states, mostly in the South. Congress must receive requests from 34 states to convene a convention of the states.

Because it is a resolution, it need only pass both the state Senate to serve as Wisconsin’s application to Congress for a convention of the states.

Congress can also refer amendments to the states by a two-thirds vote of each chamber. Both methods require at least 38 states to ratify an amendment before it can take effect.

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