Politics & Government

Constitutional convention proposal fails to pass in Kansas House

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A proposal to commit Kansas to a new constitutional convention failed to pass by seven votes on Monday.

The resolution to support the proposed convention won a majority in the Kansas House, 77-47, but fell short of the two-thirds supermajority required for passage.

Supporters of House Concurrent Resolution 5010 wanted to put Kansas on record as supporting a constitutional convention to amend the nation’s highest law to limit the powers of the federal government and establish term limits for federal officials.

Rep. James Todd, R-Overland Park, said he could not support the proposed convention of the states without assurances that the convention would have no impact on the First and Second amendments.

Some supporters of the bill said the convention could help curb federal spending and accumulation of debt. But Todd said those concerns could be better addressed by a balanced budget amendment.

Other lawmakers said that a convention would have the ability only to recommend changes to the constitution, which would still require ratification by states.

House Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, said that the Founding Fathers had expected national conventions to be a regular occurrence and that Congress had failed to uphold its duty.

Rep. Jan Pauls, R-Hutchinson, said that one vote per state would give a smaller-population state, such as Kansas, a stronger voice in the direction of the country.

Contributing: Dion Lefler of The Eagle

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3

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