A bill outlining the duties and limits of Texas delegates should a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution occur is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for a signature. 

The measure, Senate Bill 21 by state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, was slightly amended in a legislative conference committee this week and approved by the House on Thursday.

The committee reinstalled a Senate provision in SB 21 to allow only Texas lawmakers to serve as delegates at a convention — House members had modified the bill in April to allow citizens and the governor to be delegates, too — while keeping out language that would impose criminal penalties on delegates who cast an “unauthorized vote” without a green light from the Legislature.

The Senate approved the bill Saturday on a 21-10 vote. 

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State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, the bill’s House sponsor, told the Tribune May 23 that SB 21 serves as a good “preparatory bill” to have in state law should a national convention happen.

Texas became the 11th state in the nation to adopt a resolution calling for a convention of states earlier this month, and Missouri followed soon after, bumping the total number of states to call for one to 12. That still leaves the movement 22 states away from becoming a reality. 

Abbott, a longtime champion of a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution and reign in federal power, made passing a resolution calling for one an emergency item this legislative session.

The House and Senate already approved Senate Joint Resolution 2 — a summon for a national convention — and Senate Joint Resolution 38, which cancels all but one of the Legislature’s prior calls for one. Both are on their way to the U.S. Congress.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • A Texas legislative committee reinstalled a Senate provision in a bill that would only allow state lawmakers to serve as delegates in a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution.
  • The Texas House in May adopted a resolution calling for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution — one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency items this legislative session.
  • The House Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility considered measures that aim to pull powers from the federal government and hand it to the states.
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