February 25, 2016 •
Repeal 17th Amendment: Utah Senate Wants Selection of U.S. Senators Returned From State Voters to State Legislators
On February 24, the Utah Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which asks Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and proposes a new Amendment to return the power of choosing U.S. Senators to state legislatures. The resolution contends the “popular election of senators has diluted the power of the separate states, diminished federalism, and resulted in the increased power of the federal government over the individual states.”
In the proposed language of the new Amendment, each state must create “a liaison committee” to “work with its United States Senators in evaluating the impact of federal legislation on its state. All legislation proposed by Congress, and all treaties proposed, shall be submitted to each State’s liaison committee.” Additionally, the language of the Amendment calls for the senators to be subject to removal by the senator’s state legislature and for their salary to be provided by the senator’s state. The resolution quotes arguments made by James Madison in the Federalist Papers that federal legislation should be “ratified by two independent power sources: the people’s representatives in the House and the state legislatures’ agents in the Senate.”
The resolution passed 20-6. All five senators from the Democratic Party, along with one Republican senator, voted against the resolution. Three other Republican senators did not vote.
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