Maryland Senate stays on track to rescind call for constitutional convention

The Maryland Senate is on track to rescind a decades-old call for a national constitutional convention.

The Maryland Senate turned back an effort Thursday to thwart a proposed resolution that would rescind the state's decades-old calls for a national constitutional convention.

Lawmakers voted down an effort to retain a 1975 call to convene such a gathering to adopt a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The vote against Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings' proposed amendment was 32-13, indicating the majority Democrats have more than enough support to pass the resolution when it returns to the floor for a final vote Friday or next week.

Jennings and other argued that the national debt has increased dramatically since the state Senate called for such a convention. They contended that the need for a federal balanced-budget amendment is as great now as it's ever been.

Backers of the resolution warned that any such convention could lead to a sweeping revision of the Constitution. And Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George's County Democrat, said a balanced-budget amendment could have left former President Barack Obama without the tools to jump-start the economy in 2009, during the worst recession since the Great Depression.

mdresser@baltsun.com

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