On a 12-3 party-line vote, with Democrats dissenting and Republicans voting in favor, the House State Affairs Committee today introduced legislation laying groundwork for Idaho to participate in an Article V constitutional convention aimed at considering a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The bill, offered by Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, is entitled the “Idaho Limited Convention Act or ‘No Runaway Convention’ Act.” “This bill does not call for a convention,” Luker wrote in the bill’s Statement of Purpose. “This legislation allows Idaho to be prepared to represent its interests should a convention be convened with or without its application.”
The bill sets out procedures for appointing Idaho’s delegates to such a convention, and declares that they can’t vote on any amendments other than those Idaho would outline in its application for a convention. Ohio Gov. John Kasich came to Boise last week and met with GOP lawmakers to encourage them to join his push for a convention to add a balanced budget amendment. Under Luker’s bill, the Idaho House speaker and Senate president pro-tem would appoint Idaho’s delegates. Voting against it were Reps. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer; John McCrostie, D-Boise; and Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello.
Monday’s introduction clears the way for a possible full hearing on the bill.