Political Notebook

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Constitutional amendments wither in Indiana

Several proposed constitutional amendments have met their demise this year.

One offered by Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, was to call for a constitutional convention on limiting the commerce and taxing powers of the U.S. Congress.

Senate Joint Resolution 18 was not heard in the Indiana House.

Interestingly, though, the House did pass two bills – not resolutions – setting up how delegates would be chosen and the duties of the delegates IF a constitutional convention ever arises.

Long said after hearing concerns about the resolution he decided it would be better to focus on controlling the standards of a convention for other states to emulate. If enough states have those controls in law it might make others more comfortable with calling the convention.

A constitutional convention has never been called, and many fear it would devolve into a "runaway" convention focusing on any number of issues.

Also, a proposed amendment to Indiana's Constitution -- about the right to hunt, fish and farm -- has been halted.

Rep. Don Lehe, R-Brookston, said there were several other agriculture-related bills moving that had proved controversial so it was the consensus to let Senate Joint Resolution 7 die.

That amendment has been approved once by the General Assembly and must be approved either this year or next to go to the public on a ballot. Not moving the amendment this year doesn't affect or slow down the process.

"I still think it's an important issue," Lehe said.

To contact Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.