Silas Walker, Deseret News
FILE - The rotunda of the Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. A resolution calling for a convention to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution that has opposition from both the right and the left barely passed the Senate Wednesday, 16-12.

SALT LAKE CITY — A resolution calling for a convention to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution that has opposition from both the right and the left barely passed the Senate Wednesday, 16-12.

SJR9 was described by sponsor Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, as "a tool we need to use" to get Congress to pay attention to concerns about balancing the federal budget and other issues.

The resolution, which now goes to the House, would add Utah to the list of states seeking to convene a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution to address those issues.

Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, backed the resolution but acknowledged it is controversial.

"I know emotions are high on this issue," Thatcher said. "A lot of people believe this will either save or destroy the republic."

But because any constitutional amendments would have to be approved by at least three-quarters of the states, he said he doesn't "believe you will get things that are radical or extreme."

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Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, was one of six Republicans joining the Senate's six Democrats in voting against the resolution. Christensen said it is "a dangerous thing to open up the Constitution."

Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, also said the resolution was "a dangerous call" and warned that had there been a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, the nation would "never have gotten out of the Great Depression."

Vickers tried to keep the debate light by wearing a paper crown and a cape made up of some of the many notes sent into the chamber about the resolution.