Senate Resolution 36, calling for a constitutional convention of states, failed by a 53-59 vote in the closing hours of the legislative session.
Critics of the bill voiced concerns over the ambiguity of how a convention of states would be organized, and several legislators said the country is not in a condition dire enough to call a convention to propose new constitutional amendments.
The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, and Rep. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance, said that the federal government has failed its citizens by amassing nearly $20 trillion in debt. They believe that calling a convention of states, a tool given in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, could offer potential solutions to the problem.
Amendments setting term limits for members of Congress and requiring the body to balance the federal budget have been suggested as outcomes of the proposed resolution.
The movement has been pushed in large part by the Convention of States Project, an organization that lobbied Republican members of the General Assembly to pass the resolution.
Critics of the resolution said it was not needed. Some said it was possible a convention could take up unrelated items or could erode or even repeal longstanding constitutional protections.