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Eye On Boise

Senate panel votes 5-4 in favor of Art. V constitutional convention, after listening to 25 people testify against it

After a two and a half hour hearing in which 25 people testified, all of them against SCR 108, the Senate State Affairs Committee has voted 5-4 in favor of it. Here’s how the vote broke down:

Voting in favor: Sens. Hagedorn, Hill, Lodge, Lakey and Siddoway.

Voting against: Sens. Davis, Winder, Stennett and Buckner-Webb.

In his closing comments to the committee, Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, said, “We are addicted to our federal programs. We are living beyond our means. … We can’t continue to go down this road. We have to send a message to Washington that they have to curtail their spending.” He added, “This is not a constitutional convention. We’re asking for an Article V convention to review petitions, and in this case it’s a petition for the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. The safeguard is ratification by 38 states.”

“A convention of the states might not happen within our lifetimes,” Hagedorn said, “but I believe Idaho should go on record as saying we have to live within our means.”

Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, told the audience, “I’ve had thousands of emails and calls and I commend you for being a part of the process. I know that there are a lot of people in the room that traveled long distances and didn’t get a chance to speak. Know that you are heard.” She said she strongly opposes the idea of calling an Article V convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution. “Even if states had the ability to control the process, would they agree?” Stennett asked. “A convention would be chaos, not compromise … It would go to court, and we would put our country in complete chaos, and our economy would suffer.”

When the vote came down 5-4 in favor SCR 108, some in the audience hissed, and one called out loudly, “Is this representation?” Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, urged the crowd to be respectful.

Hagedorn said after the meeting that he believes opponents of his resolution are "misinformed," and said he's met with national experts who "told us what we need to do in the rules to make sure we run a safe convention." Hagedorn said of those who addressed the committee today, "All of their testimony had nothing to do with this bill."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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