NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A convention to amend the U.S. Constitution is closer to reality than most people realize.
Tennessee soon might become the 29th state to pass a resolution calling for a convention to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Thirty-four states are required.
The Tennessee state senate passed the convention resolution in early February; it would need to pass the state house to become official. Idaho and Arizona also are considering such proposals and could becomes Nos. 30 and 31.
Article V of the Constitution gives states the power to call a constitutional convention provided that two-thirds – 34 – agree to it. Any amendment then would need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states – that is, 38.
It would not require congressional approval.
The Constitution actually lays out two ways to amend it. The typical path involves Congress proposing amendments to the states. According to the National Archives, “none of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention” – the method Tennessee soon might favor.
“I give it a 60 percent chance in five years, because most people in Congress would like to see it happen, as well,” constitutional scholar Robert G.