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Written by Wilmot Proviso
The state of Alabama just became the latest state to authorize a convention of the states to propose new amendments under Article V of the Constitution.
The vote, which came after several hours of debate, made the Alabama House the latest state body to vote for an Article V convention.
Under Article V, a convention of the states can be called if two-thirds of the states — in this case 34 — vote to hold one to propose new amendments to the Constitution.
The new amendments would then need to be approved by three-quarters of the states — 38 at the present moment — at which point they would take effect. The benefit of this process is that it bypasses the federal government entirely, leaving the amendments up to the individual states.
The resolution passed by the Alabama state House of Representatives specifically limits the amendments to be proposed in such a convention to three specific categories:
1) imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government through a balanced budget amendment;
2) limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government; and
3) implementing term limits on federal elected officials.
The resolution, House Joint Resolution 172, was sponsored by Rep. Ken Johnson, a Republican. This isn’t the first year he has proposed it; a similar bill was approved by the Alabama House last year, but it died in the Senate because of insufficient support.
“We’re calling for restraints on the federal government,” Rep. Johnson told reporters when the resolution first passed. “That means an amendment that forces them to balance the budget and stops these overreaching federal mandates. We’re also calling for term limits on federal elected offices.”
“Because we’ve never done it, the idea that there could be a ‘runaway convention’ is always brought up as a concern,” Rep. Johnson added, addressing concerns of a liberal takeover of such a convention.
“The convention would be limited to a small set of issues. But on top of that, the safeguard is that it only takes 13 states to kill any runaway convention. If there aren’t 13 conservatives states left, we’re in trouble, period. And Washington is a runaway train right now anyway. How much more damage could be done?”
SOURCE: Western Journalism
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