Federal repeal measure divides Mo. conservatives

A proposal seeking a constitutional convention to allow states to repeal federal laws has divided some conservatives in the Missouri House.

The resolution by state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, urges Congress to call a convention to draft a constitutional amendment allowing states to repeal federal laws, if two-thirds of states vote to do so. He said it could help states repeal the federal health care law passed last year.

The measure was debated on the House floor Tuesday, but lawmakers took no vote. Democrats criticized the bill by saying it won't help the state's economic situation, but a few conservatives also stood against it. They said the call for a constitutional convention could be used to rewrite the entire U.S. Constitution.

House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, said Thursday that a few lawmakers are opposing Barnes' resolution because of concerns about the constitutional convention, and the bill is not being debated while those concerns are worked out.

"I think it's a small minority, but we just want to be sure to address everyone's concerns," he said.

The U.S. Constitution states that amendments can be proposed either by a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate, or when two-thirds of the states call for a convention proposing amendments. Either way, three-fourths of the states would need to ratify the proposed amendments for them to take effect.

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