Groups call for Pa. constitutional convention

    Barry Kauffman, the executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, points out there aren’t any guidelines for what form the convention would take, or how the delegates would be chosen.

    Several good government groups in Pennsylvania have called for a constitutional convention in recent months.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091221sdconvention.mp3]

    There have only been five constitutional conventions in Pennsylvania’s history, and the last one happened in 1968.

    Several advocacy groups recently put together a guide explaining how a convention could get up and running, and what it might look like.

    Barry Kauffman, the executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, points out there aren’t any guidelines for what form the convention would take, or how the delegates would be chosen.

    Kauffman: And I’m not recommending this, but theoretically we could have the constitutional convention live on television every night, and have people sit there with their clickers to vote, just like they do for American Idol.

    Governor Rendell and the General Assembly would need to sign off on a convention before it takes place.

    Proponents say that’s the biggest hurdle, since lawmakers would be reluctant to approve a session that could reduce the General Assembly’s size or impose other changes.

    Voters would need to approve the convention through a referendum.

    Any proposed constitutional changes would also be placed on the ballot.

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