At a time when the federal government appears truly broken, state lawmakers have assembled to reclaim the power vested in the states by calling for a convention of the states as a means of creating constitutional amendments.
On Saturday, close to 100 legislators from 32 states attended a meeting in Mount Vernon, Virginia, where they discussed adding amendments to the U.S. Constitution. They would do so under the authority of Article V of the Constitution.
Article V details that two-thirds of the state assemblies, 34 in all, can call for a convention to be held. State legislatures could then send delegates to the convention where each state would vote on proposed amendments with each state getting one vote. An amendment would pass when approved by three-fourths, or 38, state legislatures.
All attendees were required to pay their own travel expenses in an effort to limit the possibility of outside interests. The Mount Vernon assembly was hosted by Indiana state Sen. David Long and Wisconsin Rep. Chris Kapenga and the attendees discussed a wide variety of issues including amendments related to term limits and limits on federal taxation and spending.
“States are not used to working toward a common goal. With the focus solely on defining how a Convention of the States, including an Article V Convention for Proposing Amendments, would function, we are learning how to work together.”
The assembly is a bold step towards increased state involvement in federal issues. However, the possibility of increased state involvement has begun rising in conservative circles as the tremendous dysfunction of the federal government has become entirely too-routine for many Americans to palate.
In his latest book, “The Liberty Amendments,” conservative pundit and radio host Mark Levin champions a constitutional convention assembled by the states to address several important issues facing our republic. Among them, Levin calls for term limits, limiting federal taxation and spending, providing sunset provisions for federal regulations to limit bureaucracy, and a strengthening of states’ rights by providing them better oversight of the federal government.
The assembly is sure to irk many on the left who view challenges to the federal government’s authority as a rightwing quest to destabilize the federal government. With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid routinely calling Tea Partiers “anarchists” for advocating modest limits on federal authority, the bold move by state lawmakers is sure to rile liberals who believe the solution to innumerable national problems can be solved by a bigger, stronger federal government.
Though the move may be unpopular with statists who favor a big, centralized government, the founding fathers largely favored a smaller, administrative federal government with the bulk of power being reserved for states.