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Resolution calling for congressional term limits passes House

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SALT LAKE CITY — After one resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to set congressional term limits failed in the state Senate, the Utah House issued a more direct call to limit the longevity of federal power.

The House voted 45-27 approve HJR12, calling for term limits in Congress. The resolution requests a convention of the states to amend the Constitution under Article V, similar to HJR3 which failed last week.

HJR12, sponsored by Rep. Timothy Hawkes, R-Centerville, would have a more limited scope, calling specifically for term limits, whereas HJR3 requested a broad convention.

"We have seen some of these calls and they have been fairly broad, had multiple issues involved," Hawkes said, addressing some of the misgivings about other amendment requests. "If you are concerned about this and you want to see a narrow convention, then this is the Article V resolution for you."

Hawkes cited Thomas Jefferson's first reaction to the then-newly formed Constitution, wherein he reportedly praised the vision of the government the founders devised but called out two flaws: the lack of a bill of rights and the absence of rotation in office through term limits.

Hawkes also noted incumbent advantages, particularly in spending, as a flaw in the reliance on elections to sort people in and out of office.

He added that the issue is worthy of a full discussion among states, regardless of anyone's opinion on term limits.

"I am not a fan of asking that we put artificial limits in place to save us from ourselves," said House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City.

Rep. Edward Redd, R-Logan, joined King's opposition to the resolution and warned that term limits would remove incentive for lawmakers to answer to the desires of their constituents.

Hawkes argued that lawmakers are guilty of disregard to the desires of their constituents, regardless of term limits.

The measure received bipartisan support and opposition as it passed through the House.

Utah will continue to consider the bill in the Senate.

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas are among the states also considering congressional term limits through the amendment process.

Thirty-four states would have to request a constitutional convention for it to be convened, and 38 states would have to approve any proposed amendments for them to be ratified. Email:

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Ryan Morgan


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