Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press
FILE — In this Friday, July 8, 2016, photo, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responds to questions during a news conference at City Hall in Dallas. Gov. Gov. Abbott said state legislatures nationwide should convene a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution and restore freedoms embodied by President Ronald Reagan.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate has preliminarily approved calling for a "convention of states" that would amend the U.S. Constitution and impose things like a federal balanced budget requirement and term limits.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has long backed legislatures nationwide bypassing Congress and convening a convention against Washington "overreach." He made it an "emergency item," fast-tracking Tuesday's passage.

A series of bills still need final, formal Senate approval than must clear the state House. Twenty-eight states already have approved some form of call for a federal balanced budget amendment, including Texas 16 times previously.

Some conservatives support the idea, despite Republicans controlling the White House and Congress.

But tea party groups and grassroots activists oppose it, worried about a "runaway" convention where liberal states could weaken things like the Second Amendment.