RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A majority in the North Carolina House agreed on Wednesday to call for a meeting to make changes to the U.S. Constitution, saying the time is now to consider alterations to the federal government’s powers and finances, as well as term limits.
The House voted for a pair of resolutions that would add North Carolina to the list of states that are seeking a national “convention of states” as the Constitution permits.
Thirty-four states must formally support the idea for such a convention to occur. Nineteen states have passed convention resolutions so far, according to a group that lobbies for the idea. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, joined House Speaker Tim Moore in a news conference last week to back the proposals.
The two resolutions now go to the Senate, where affirmative votes also would be needed for approval. Resolutions aren’t subject to the governor’s veto stamp.
Convention supporters in the state House contend constitutional amendments are needed to rein in out-of-control spending and debt, prevent government overreach and diminish the power of lawmakers.
One resolution focusing solely on term limits passed the House by a vote of 69-48. A second resolution considering amendments to address fiscal restraints and power limitations in Washington, D.C. and on term limits passed 61-55.
The convention proposals largely have been pushed by political conservatives, although a few Democrats voted for one or both resolutions on Wednesday.
But several House Republicans opposed them. Some argue that no limits can be placed upon the scope of a constitutional convention — raising threats that the U.S. Constitution could become the subject of a major overhaul.
Any proposed amendments coming out of a convention would need the support of legislatures in 38 states for ratification.