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Utah Senate Wants to Stop Direct Election of US Senators

The Salt Lake Tribune/YouTube

By Greg Richter   |   Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 04:21 PM

The Utah Senate on Wednesday voted to ask Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which provides for the direct election of U.S. Senators by popular vote, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The bill was sponsored by Republican state Sen. Al Jackson, who told the Tribune the amendment, passed in 1913, has given too much power to the federal government that should be in the hands of the states.

"Today, senators are more beholden to special interest groups than to their states," he said, because special interests give them money for their re-election campaigns.

"It's time for our senators to come home every weekend and take direction from this body and from the House and the governor on how they should vote in the upcoming week," he said.

That was the original intention of the Constitution's framers, he said, adding that the people would still have a voice in the selection of their senators because the people would elect the state officials who would choose the senators.

"The states were supposed to be there to protect the people from a runaway federal government," Jackson said. "If we repeal the 17th Amendment we don't get Harry Reid anymore … because, guess what, most of the country is red."

"We represent the people and we are the ones who can respond and give direction to our senators," Republican state Sen. Margaret Dayton said.

Democratic state Sen. Luz Escamilla opposed the idea, saying that U.S. senators are the only lawmakers in Washington elected by all the residents of a state and are, therefore, immune to gerrymandering by state legislatures.

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The Utah Senate on Wednesday voted to ask Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which provides for the direct election of U.S. Senators by popular vote, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
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