The Utah American Party is beginning its sixth and final attempt to get the Legislature to rescind the state's vote for a national constitutional convention, says party spokesman Dave Nilson.
The party has been trying to introduce an initiative to rescind the Legislature's 1979 vote, which places Utah on the side of states calling for the convention to add a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.The American Party fears that once the convention is under way, delegates might try to rewrite portions of the 200-year-old document or make unacceptable changes, Nilson said.
If the Legislature votes against the American Party's initiative, it wants the question placed on the next general-election ballot "to give voters the opportunity to rescind it themselves," he said.
This latest action is the last attempt before legal action is taken, he said.
The petition has been rejected by the Utah attorney general's office because of "unclear wording in the purpose section," an optional part of the petition, said Nilson.
The ambiguity, he said, was caused by a statement that might have been considered a part of the law, but that was actually an explanation of purpose. The vague wording has been corrected, said Nilson, and the petition was resubmitted Feb 17.
A two-thirds majority, or 34 states, must call for the convention. Thus far, 32 states have voted in favor, Nilson said, but Florida and Alabama have rescinded their resolutions.
American Party officials oppose the convention because they fear it would open up the Constitution to "liberal agenda" amendments, in addition to a balanced-budget requirement, said Dave Wilson, state party chairman.
"We are not and we don't believe the other peoples of this great state and country are willing to open a constitutional convention to unlimited revision of the Constitution of the United States," said Wilson.
Proponents of a balanced-budget amendment, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, maintain those fears are unfounded because the agenda could be limited to the budget issue.