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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Bill Limiting Delegates At Constitutional Conventions Dies In House

A bill that would require South Dakota delegates to only vote on certain amendments at US Constitutional conventions failed in the State House Thursday. Supporters of House Bill 1215 say it ensures delegates won’t participate in a runaway convention by voting on unrelated amendments. If delegates violate the provisions, they would be punished once back in the state. Representative Dan Kaiser says he opposes the legislation because there’s no way to control what happens.

“If a convention is called, and if we send delegates and we bind their hands and say they have to vote this way. And they get there and they vote against their oath, now we can hall them back and take them to court and do our criminal deal with them, but the damage is already done. Who accepts their vote will not be up to the state or this body, but whoever’s in charge of the convention. This legislation just makes us feel good, but it will not prevent a runaway convention, it will not actually tie the hands of the delegate,” Kaiser says.

Supporters of the bill say they don’t know when an Article V convention could occur, but 17 states have already requested one to pass a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution. House Bill 1215 failed to receive a majority of votes Thursday on the House floor.