AZ lawmaker supports stripping voters of right to vote for U.S. senators

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A bill in the state Senate would have local lawmakers decide on U.S. Senators instead of voters. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A bill in the state Senate would have local lawmakers decide on U.S. Senators instead of voters. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
This is a measure calling for a Constitutional Convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) This is a measure calling for a Constitutional Convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Besides repealing the right to elect Senators, HCR 2010 calls for constitutional amendments that would limit federal spending, empower state's rights and place term limits on Congress. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Besides repealing the right to elect Senators, HCR 2010 calls for constitutional amendments that would limit federal spending, empower state's rights and place term limits on Congress. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

For 113 years, Americans have been electing their U.S. senators.

Now, one state lawmaker says that's long enough.

Sen. Warren Petersen, a Republican from Gilbert, believes lawmakers like himself should pick U.S. Senators instead of the same voters who put him in office.  

"Can we ever count on Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment?" Petersen asked rhetorically on Monday.

The 17th Amendment was adopted in 1913 and gave voters the right to choose senators at the ballot box.

Before the change, state legislatures decided who served in what is also known as the Upper Chamber.

By going back in time, Petersen believes the senate would be more responsive to state needs.

His theory is that U.S. senators like John McCain and Jeff Flake basically ignore their states.

By holding them accountable to state legislatures, Petersen thinks that will change.

"This would bring more accountability to the people," Petersen said.

Petersen raised the issue Monday on the state Senate floor.

He was we explaining his support for the Republican-backed HCR 2010.

This is a measure calling for a Constitutional Convention to amend the U.S. Constitution.

The measure passed, bringing the number of states wanting to tinker with the 230-year-old document to 30, by some accounts.

Besides repealing the right to elect Senators, HCR 2010 calls for constitutional amendments that would limit federal spending, empower state's rights and place term limits on Congress.

However, Arizona Democrats warned that once you open up the Constitution like this there could be unintended consequences.

"When you put a document as sacred as our Constitution that has protected us for so long from so much in the hands of just a few un-elected people, that is a profoundly dangerous thing to do and I don't believe we should be doing it," said Sen. Steve Farley, a Democrat from Tucson.

Two-thirds of the states must apply to Congress in order to hold a Constitutional Convention. 

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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