A group of lawmakers from across the country are in Arizona today to plan a convention that would propose a new amendment to the United State Constitution. The Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention is aiming to lay out the process of the convention, outlined in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, since nothing like it has ever been held in the history of the United States. The planning convention is being held at the Arizona Capitol.
The ultimate goal is to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that puts limits on federal spending. A similar planning convention was held in 1861 but never culminated in an actual Article V convention. If the BBAPC succeeds in calling an Article V convention it would provide a means of bypassing Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution. In order to hold the Article V convention the Constitution mandates two-thirds of U.S. states, 34 total, support the measure.
Concerns over the Article V convention stem from the convention becoming a free-for-all with states proposing several amendments. The BBAPC says they are strictly focused on only the balanced budget amendment and plan to outline that during the planning stages.
State Representative Kelly Townsend is the chair of the Arizona BBA Planning Committee. State Representatives Anthony Kern and Bob Thorpe and State Senators Nancy Barto, Steve Montenegro and Steve Smith are also members of the committee. State House Speaker J.D. Mesnard is also heavily involved.