2 more calls for constitutional conventions head to Senate floor

If the Legislature approves both, that's 4 petitions for a convention passed this year alone.

Two more calls for a constitutional convention are moving to the Senate floor.

With no debate, the Senate Rules Committee advanced two pieces of legislation that could prompt the second constitutional conventions in U.S. history.

The first (SB 7064) seeks a constitutional convention giving the President a line-item veto power over budgets passed by Congress. The second (SB 7066) wants one barring Congress from passing laws on citizens that don’t apply to federal lawmakers.

Sen. Travis Hutson, a Palm Coast Republican, made the case for both policies.

He noted that Congress in 1996 passed legislation that briefly gave then-President Bill Clinton the power to veto specific expenditures in federal budget bills. But the U.S. Supreme Court two years later said that reached beyond the powers granted to the executive branch in the U.S. Constitution.

The second bill would require any law passed by Congress to also apply to its members, Hutson said.

The Florida Legislature already passed two petitions for constitutional conventions, one on term limits for Congress and another to require a balanced federal budget.

In January, DeSantis voiced his support for both petitions, though his signature isn’t required and he cannot veto them. He also called for the these two other petitions now working their way through the House and Senate.

The few minutes of discussion of the bill in Senate Rules breezed past broader debate about the consequences of a constitutional convention that dominated discussion of the resolutions that already passed.

Democrats voted against the legislation in the Rules Committee, and Common Cause Florida waved in opposition, but no one laid out their reasoning at length.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows for the document to be amended through a convention, but that’s never been done since the founding of the country, and some legal experts say there’s no predicting how one will operate if called. That has some concerned about a runaway convention that goes far beyond the call for delegates representing the states.

Supporters of the petitions say the legislation passed in Florida has been narrowly tailored, and if a convention tries to extend beyond the reason it was called, the state would withdraw its support.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • PeterH

    February 21, 2024 at 4:25 pm

    Why encourage a State constitutional convention if you’re not willing to review the entire State Constitution?

  • Lex

    February 22, 2024 at 8:20 am

    A Balanced Budget Amendment would be the single greatest way to protect American dominance as the International currency of choice and the stability of the US economy. It also would protect from more violent swings of every time the Democrat Party gets slight control of the country spending gets massively out of control. One party should not be able to hang the other party with its debt, which almost always is in one form or another form of “buying votes.”

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