Congress term limits; Wisconsin Senate rejects, then passes, call

Image of rare copy of U.S. Constitution. (Sotheby's)

Republicans joined with Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate late Tuesday night in what at first was a rejection of a GOP-authored resolution calling for a Constitutional convention to consider a term limits amendment for members of Congress.

But then Republican Sen. Alberta Darling decided to change her vote, giving the measure the 17th vote needed to pass. Darling was allowed to change her vote over objections from Democrats who said Senate rules did not allow the move.

It is highly unusual for any proposal authored by the majority party to not pass when it is brought to a vote.

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The Senate initially voted 17-16 against adopting the term limits resolution just before midnight. Darling and four other Republicans joined with all 12 Democrats in voting against it. Moments later, Darling said she wanted to change her vote, which led to a reconsideration of the initial vote.

On the second vote right at midnight, the Senate passed it 17-15 with Darling in the majority. She did not explain why she changed her vote.

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison

Republican Sen. Roger Roth, of Appleton, spoke against the measure during debate, echoing concerns of Democrats that once a Constitutional convention is called, there is no limit on what topics could be brought up.

It takes 34 states to call a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. To date, four states have called for a convention to consider term limits. Wisconsin will become the fifth if the Assembly passes the measure as scheduled on Wednesday.

Wisconsin is one of 17 states that has passed a broader resolution calling for term limits, a balanced budget and limiting the governor's powers.

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