Wisconsin Senate rejects, then passes, call for term limits
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin would become the fifth state to call for a convention of the states to amend the U.S. Constitution to impose term limits on members of Congress under a resolution the state Senate passed after it initially appeared to fail.
On the first vote in the Senate just before midnight Tuesday, five Republicans joined with Democrats in rejecting it on a 17-16 vote.
But then Republican Sen. Alberta Darling changed her vote, giving the measure the 17th vote needed to pass at midnight. Darling was allowed to change her vote over objections from Democrats who said Senate rules did not allow the move.
Darling did not explain why she changed her vote.
It is highly unusual for any proposal authored by the majority party to not pass when it is brought to a vote.
Republican Sen. Roger Roth, of Appleton, spoke against the measure during debate, echoing Democrat’s concerns that once a constitutional convention is called, there is no limit on what topics could be brought up.
The resolution does not say how many terms U.S. representatives and senators should be allowed to serve. Democrats accused Republicans of being hypocrites for supporting term limits at the same time they are backing U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson who is seeking a third term this year after previously saying he would only serve two terms.
It takes 34 states to call a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. Only Florida, Alabama, Missouri and West Virginia have passed the term limits resolution calling for the convention of the states, according to U.S. Term Limits.
Wisconsin is one of 17 states that has passed a broader resolution calling for term limits, a balanced budget and limiting the governor’s powers.
The Assembly had been scheduled to vote on it Wednesday, but did not take it up. It could vote on it as soon as Thursday.