A resolution aimed at seriously changing the way U.S. Senators are elected gained quick approval from the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee Thursday.
Sponsored by Senator Al Jackson (Republican – Highland), SJR 2 – Joint Resolution Calling for the Repeal of the 17th Amendment calls on Utah’s congressional delegation and all members of Congress to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution to repeal the 17th Amendment.
By repealing the 17th Amendment, power will be returned to “We the People” and away from special interest groups, Jackson told the committee. “I think our Senators should go to Washington, D.C. every week, but they should come home every Friday and meet with leadership in both houses of the state legislatures to get direction on how they should vote the following week.”
According to Jackson, the national debt can be blamed on the 17th Amendment. The U.S. went from owing $807.00 per person in 1900 to well over $50,000 per person today. This is because in 1913 (the year the 17th Amendment was drafted and ratified), our Senators went from savers to spenders. “Because, if you think about it, how do you stay in office? You stay in office by providing goodies to the people. You stay in office by taking from those who have and giving it to those who have not. If you are beholden to the popular vote, you will have a propensity to do that. But if you’re beholden to the legislature that has put you in office and pays your salary, you will be more cognizant and more aware of what your states’ needs are. Right now in Washington, D.C., the states are not represented,” said Jackson.
Private citizen Larry Mulcock commended SJR 2, but suggested that Jackson run a bill version saying that U.S. Senators from Utah will be elected by the Utah State Senate instead. “It’s going to raise a lot of hair on the back of people’s necks, but what it’s going to do is start educating the people, I like the idea but it’s kind of going to disappear. But if you pass a statute that says, in contradiction to the Constitution, that we are going back to the original Constitution and having our Senators elected by our State Senate, then I think that’s the kind of battle and the kind of assertiveness that we’re going to have to initiate in order to take back our legislative rights and to push back the federal overreach,” said Mulcock.
Maryann Christensen, executive director of the Utah Eagle Forum, believes repeal is the best step forward to save states from federal tyranny. “We’re bearing the crushing burdens of government run amok simply because the states cannot keep the federal government in check anymore.”
Members of the committee chose to move the legislation forward on a party-line vote, with Republican Senators Margaret Dayton (Orem), Lyle Hillyard (Logan), David Hinkins (Orangeville), Daniel Thatcher (West Valley City), and Jackson in favor. Salt Lake City Senator Luz Escamilla, the committee’s lone Democrat, voted against the resolution.