Maine Lawmakers Ponder Federal Constitutional Convention

Feb 21, 2018

Maine lawmakers are considering a resolution aimed at forcing the federal government to balance its budget. The measure would ask for a constitutional convention.

There has only been one constitutional convention in the history of the United States. But under a provision in the constitution, the states can request another be held, as long as three quarters of state legislatures go along. So far, 27 of the 34 states needed have approved a call for a balanced budget convention.

“For decades, you know, American people have been demanding to restore our dysfunctional federal government by imploring Washington to manage their budget as most families do here in Maine, by balancing what they spend with what they can take in in revenue,” says Rep. Nathan Wadsworth, a republican from Hiram.

A major concern for state lawmakers, including some in Maine, is the question of whether the convention could be limited to just the balanced budget proposal or open to proposals for any number of other changes.

“One of the concerns is that you know once a constitutional convention convenes they are really free to go off the single issue,” says Rep. John Madigan, a Democrat from Rumford.