SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate passed a resolution Wednesday that calls upon Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Such a proposal would result in U.S. senators being appointed by state legislatures instead of being elected by popular vote.
Senate Joint Resolution 2 was passed by a vote of 20-6 and sent to the House, according to the Tribune’s report.
The 17th Amendment, allowing for the popular election of U.S. senators, was passed in 1913. According to the language of SJR2, this “resulted in the increased power of the federal government over the individual states.”
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Alvin Jackson, R-Highland, told the Tribune, “This is about restoring power back to the states.”
The idea to elect senators by popular vote received support in the late 19th century when state legislatures would deadlock over the election of senators, according to the National Archive, leading to U.S. Senate vacancies sometimes lasting several years.
According to an NPR report from 2014, returning that power to legislators would often result in a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, and past proponents of repealing the 17th Amendment include current presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, and Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
The resolution stipulates that after its passing, it will be sent to the president of the United States, the majority leader of the U.S. Senate and the speaker of the U.S. House.
An amendment to the Constitution is passed when two-thirds of both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate approve the amendment, then send it to the states for ratification. Three-fourths of the states must affirm the amendment for it to be ratified, according to Article V of the Constitution.