LITTLE ROCK — The Senate on Tuesday approved a measure calling for Arkansas to join other states in requesting a national convention to propose constitutional amendments to limit the federal government’s power.
Senate Joint Resolution 2 by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, passed in a 19-12 vote. It goes to the House.
Under the resolution, Arkansas would call for a convention to propose amendments that would impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and limit the terms of federal officials and members of Congress.
Under Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution, 34 states would have to call for a convention before one would be held. Stubblefield said 11 other states either have passed or are now considering resolutions like his.
Stubblefield told senators a convention of the states is needed because the nation is $20 trillion in debt.
“We have an obligation for our children and our grandchildren. The founders left us this obligation to step in whenever our federal government gets so out of control,” he said.
Speaking in support of the proposal, Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, said that even if the 34-state threshold is not met, “it will be a good, clear sign to the federal government that we’re serious about our federal budget and deficit spending.”
No one spoke against the measure.
Earlier in the session, the Senate passed two resolutions by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, calling for conventions of the states to ban gay marriage and abortion nationwide. Those measures have stalled in the House.