The House voted 103-63 last week to approve House Bill 794, authored by District 19 State Rep. Paulette Braddock, R-Hiram, to establish a group which includes the Georgia General Assembly and any other state’s legislature willing to join.
“There seemed to be a lot of support to get something done. This is a real innovative approach we’re taking,” she said.
Braddock noted her bill took a unique approach among the numerous Georgia bills this year calling for a balanced budget requirement, including protecting against addition of any other issue in a constitutional convention.
The bill defines what the amendment would contain and clarifies the rules of a convention required to amend the Constitution.
“It has some safeguards against a runaway convention,” Braddock said. “It’s an up or down vote. If they try to take up anything else, or modify it, it shuts down the convention.”
The first three states to join would form a commission to work to gain new states for the compact, Braddock said. States could withdraw from the compact until 38 states join – at which point no state could withdraw, according to the legislation. At least 38 states – three-quarters – are required to ratify an amendment if passed by supermajorities in both houses of Congress.
Braddock said she wanted to author the bill because it helps address structural problems like raising the federal debt limit.
“I think the states are going to have to lead in fixing this problem in Washington,” she said.
“We may elect good people and send them up there to represent us but since the structure of the problem is the creditor raising his own credit limit, you’re not going to ever fix the problem until you do something like this to prohibit them.”
District 6 State Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Atlanta, will carry the Senate version of the bill, she said.