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The Watercooler ~ Article V Convention of States: An Update and Overview

States explore never used option to amend the Constitution

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From time to time, I will report on the ongoing process we have all heard about — calling an Article V Convention of the States to propose amendments to the Constitution. For an excellent review of events leading to the present, this piece by Ralph Benko at Forbes is well worth the read including the informative links.

The Constitution provides two avenues to amend the Constitution in Article V — one initiated by Congress and the other — which has never been used — initiated through the states calling a convention:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress;…

(Bolding mine)

As stated above, the states have never organized themselves for the purpose of convening to propose amendments to the Constitution until now. As mentioned in the Forbes article, the Founders knew the dangers of a national government amassing too much power to itself and wanted to provide the states with an option to rein in the leviathan if so needed. While some doubt that the states can succeed, others worry about losing control of the process in a “runaway convention.” As I see things at this point in American history, how could a runaway convention be worse than the runaway federal government we have now? All three branches of the federal government are proving themselves incapable of reform and/or providing the checks and balances to limit their power. In my view, calling a state convention to restore federalism and the balance of power back to the states would be an appropriate intervention — an anecdote provided by the Founders for such a time as this. Remember, the states created the federal government and not the other way around. As things stand, the feds have obliterated the 9th and 10th Amendments through sheer reckless power grabs — and mostly with the Supreme Court’s blessing.

Last Saturday, December 7, nearly 100 state legislators representing 32 states assembled at Mt. Vernon to begin the process. Those in attendance included:

Rep. Tammie Wilson, Alaska
Rep. Wes Keller, Alaska
Rep. Justin Harris, Arkansas
Rep. Randy Alexander, Arkansas
Sen. Jason Rapert, Arkansas
Rep. Robert Thorpe, Arizona
Rep. David Gowan, Arizona
Rep. Brenda Barto, Arizona
Rep. Stephen Humphrey, Colorado
Rep. Lois Landgraf, Colorado
Sen. Mark Scheffel, Colorado
Sen. Scott Renfroe, Colorado
Rep. Libby Szabo, Colorado
Sen. Kent Lambert, Colorado
Rep. Janak Joshi, Colorado
Sen. Vicki Marble, Colorado
Rep. Dan Nordberg, Colorado
Sen. Larry Crowder, Colorado
Rep. Chris Holbert, Colorado
Sen. Kevin Grantham, Colorado
Sen. Kevin Lundberg, Colorado
Rep. Jim Wilson, Colorado
Sen. David Balmer, Colorado
Rep. Lori Saine, Colorado
Rep. John Wood, Florida
Rep. Lynn Riley, Georgia
Rep. Andrew Welch, Georgia
Rep. Terry Rogers, Georgia
Sen. Bill Cowsert, Georgia
Rep. Josh Clark, Georgia
Sen. Sam Slom, Hawaii
Rep. Dawn Pettengill, Iowa
Rep. Vito Barbieri, Idaho
Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, Idaho
Sen. Marv Hagedorn, Idaho
Sen. Brandt Hershman, Indiana
Sen. Jim Buck, Indiana
Sen. Jim Smith , Indiana
Sen. Tom Arpke, Kansas
Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, Kansas
Rep. Randy Garber, Kansas
Rep. Kirk Talbot, Louisiana
Rep. Roger A Jackson, Maine
Sen. Mike Green, Michigan
Rep. Tom McMillin, Michigan
Rep. Jeff Messenger, Missouri
Rep. Warren Love, Missouri
Sen. Melanie Sojourner, Mississippi
Rep. Jim Kasper, North Dakota
Rep. Roscoe Streyle, North Dakota
Rep. Jorden Ulery, New Hampshire
Rep. Laurence Rappaport, New Hampshire
Rep. Dianne Hamilton, New Mexico
Rep. James P White, New Mexico
Rep. Nora Espinoza, New Mexico
Rep. Paul C. Bandy, New Mexico
Rep. Yvette Herrell, New Mexico
Rep. Matt Lynch, Ohio
Rep. Matt Huffman, Ohio
Sen. Bill Coley, Ohio
Sen. Gary Banz, Oklahoma
Rep. Anne Thayer, South Carolina
Sen. Larry Grooms, South Carolina
Rep. Pete DeGraaf, South Carolina
Rep. Manny Steele, South Dakota
Rep. Jim Stalzer, South Dakota
Rep. Scott W. Craig, South Dakota
Rep. Hal Wick, South Dakota
Rep. Dennis Powers, Tennessee
Rep. James White, Texas
Rep. Ken Ivory, Utah
Rep. Kraig Powell, Utah
Rep. David Lifferth, Utah
Del. Frank Ruff, Virginia
Del. Jim LeMunyon, Virginia
Rep. Chris Kapenga, Wisconsin
Del. Larry D. Kump, West Virginia

The purpose of this first meeting was to establish prudent ground rules for the Convention, therefore, amendment proposals were not discussed.

Another significant development that may be relevant for other states in addressing how to move forward occurred in the state of Indiana. For those who would like to see the kinds of safeguards that would keep the process in each state accountable and controlled, the link included in the following quote is well worth the read:

Last May, Indiana Senator, and Senate president, David Long shepherded two pieces of legislation of highest integrity into law, presented, and explained, here. These represent inviolable guardrails and guidelines to ensure no runaway convention and to ensure the prudence and legitimacy of the process.

Your thoughts and ideas for amendment proposals are welcome. For me, these developments are encouraging.

The Watercooler is always an open thread.

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