According to California Republican House Rep., Duncan Hunter:
“Based on several reports and opinions, Michigan might be the 34th state to issue such a call and therefore presents the constitutionally-required number of states to begin the process of achieving a balanced budget amendment,” Hunter wrote.
“With the recent decision by Michigan lawmakers, it is important that the House – and those of us who support a balanced budget amendment — determine whether the necessary number of states have acted and the appropriate role of Congress should this be the case.”
If two-thirds of the states indeed have applied, the ball is presumably in Congress’ court to call the convention.
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But Article V is rather vague, and it’s ultimately unclear whether 34 states have technically applied. In the past, states like Oregon, Utah and Arizona have quietly voted to approve the provision in their legislature.
But some of the 34 or so have rescinded their requests. Others have rescinded, and then re-applied.
Alabama rescinded its request in 1988 but in 2011, lawmakers again applied for a convention related to an amendment requiring that the federal budget be balanced. It was a similar story in Florida in 2010.
Louisiana rescinded in 1990 but lawmakers have tried several times, unsuccessfully, to reinstate the application since then.
It’s unclear whether the applications still count in these scenarios.
Some constitutional scholars like Gregory Watson, an analyst in Texas, say once states ask, there may be no take-backs.
“There is a disagreement among scholars as to whether a state that has approved an application may later rescind that application,” Watson told The Washington Times. “If it is ultimately adjudicated that a state may not rescind a prior application, then Ohio’s 2013 application for a Balanced Budget Amendment convention would be the 33rd and Michigan’s 2014 application would be the 34th on that topic.”