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Assembly backs Article Five convention to force feds to balanced budget amendment


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU-WRN) -- The State Assembly passed a resolution supporting a convention of the states to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That measure is Assembly Joint Resolution 81, and passed the Republican controlled Assembly on a 58-38 vote shortly after 7 o’clock Tuesday night.

The measure calls for an Article Five convention, which Republican state Representative Chris Kapenga of Delafield says is needed to address the serious spending problems in Washington. “Even as we see the debt limit increased time after time, there’s no accountability or requirement put in place for so much as a plan showing a pathway out of the continued deficit spending.”

Democrats including State Representative Tod Ohnstad of Kenosha say lawmakers should be keeping their focus on efforts to help improve the state's economy. “We don’t need proposals like this that are at best, an exercise in futility, or at worst, a waste of this body’s precious time and attention.”

After that passed, the Assembly also passed AB 635 to establish a process for sending delegates to an Article V convention. Under that bill, the five delegates would be selected by the governor, Assembly speaker and Senate president. Democrats tried to get minority representation in the five delegates, but the amendment was rejected.

One of the Republicans voting for the two measures is John Spiros from Marshfield. He says, “49 states require their state budget be balanced. Our federal budget should be held to the same standards. If our federal government cannot come to the conclusion that a balanced budget is essential, than it is up to us as states to protect America’s future.” Spiros says around 20 other states already want the federal government to adopt a balanced budget.

Wisconsin Radio Network contributed to this article.