COLUMBUS– Senate Joint Resolution 5, sponsored Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R–Celina), cleared the Ohio Senate with bipartisan support. The resolution calls for the formation of a federal constitutional convention to amend the United States Constitution in order to require a balanced budget.
“Just two years ago, we made a series of very difficult decisions in the Statehouse to balanced a mounting budget shortfall and we did so without raising taxes,” said Faber. “The years continue to go by and the federal government continues to buck those tough choices and kick the can down the road. I, for one, want to see us reverse this course before we leave a far more serious problem for our children and grandchildren.”
Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows for two means by which the constitution can be amended. The first requires a supermajority of the U.S. Congress (House and Senate) to vote in favor of an amendment and for that amendment to be ratified by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures. The second allows for the calling of a convention by two-thirds of the 50 state legislatures and ratification of the resulting amendment by three-fourths of the legislatures.
Senate Joint Resolution 5 calls for a constitutional convention by invoking the second option outlined by Article V.
Approximately 20 other states have outstanding resolutions that call for a constitutional convention for the purpose of enacting a balanced budget amendment. The Ohio General Assembly has considered similar resolutions in the past, including one by Senator Faber in 2008, and one by then-State Senator John Kasich in 1981.
Senate Joint Resolution 5 also specifies that if a convention is called, the Ohio Delegates will be prohibited from voting on any constitutional changes beyond the proposed balanced budget amendment.
The resolution will now proceed to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.
State Senator Bill Beagle introduced and saw enacted Senate Bill 64 in 2013 which sought to resolve the legal issues with Ohio's child enticement statute. The bill was in response to a decision by the 9th District Court of Appeals, which ruled the former statute overly broad and unenforceable. The Ohio Supreme Court today upheld the appellate court ruling, further emphasizing the positive affect Beagle's initiative will have on future cases.
Recent actions by state and federal lawmakers, as well as a coalition of groups concerned with farming and clean water, show that a movement is underway to curb the phosphorus pollution that is choking waterways throughout the Midwest with toxic algae.