Our country is in the middle of a presidential election year, full of passionate debate on a wide range of issues.
One of the most important challenges facing our country is the expansive, unmanageable bureaucracy that comprises much of the federal government in Washington, D.C.
Unprecedented federal regulation in every sector of the American economy is stunting our nation’s growth. Unfunded entitlement programs are becoming massively unsustainable liabilities. States’ rights have been trampled, rendering the 10th amendment nearly meaningless.
Our nation’s founders foresaw the potential for this problem to arise. That’s why they gave states a tool to take action when Congress should refuse to give attention to certain issues, particularly ones that restrict the size and scope of the federal government.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides a state-led method for amending the Constitution when two-thirds of states (34 states) call for “a convention for proposing amendments.”
Under this scenario, states would send delegates to this convention, where they can propose amendments. Any amendment approved by the convention would require ratification by three-fourths of the states (38 states) before being added to the Constitution.
While this process is clearly provided for in the Constitution, it has never been used by the states. Instead, every amendment that has been added to the Constitution has originated in Congress.
One of the biggest reasons the state-led amendment option has gone unused is because the states have never formally established a set of rules and procedures that would be needed to run an Article V amendment convention in a legitimate, orderly and efficient way.
However, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers from across the country, known as the Assembly of State Legislatures (ASL), has been working to change that.
Meeting periodically over the last four years, ASL has been working to establish a consensus set of rules and procedures needed to hold a state-led amendment convention.
I’ve been actively involved with ASL because I believe the work they are doing is critical to the future of our state and our nation.
After years of careful research, debate and drafting, ASL delegates recently voted to approve a rules package that would govern an amendment convention, should one be called by the states in the years ahead.
The group’s work was completed last month in Philadelphia. Over 60 legislators – including myself – representing more than 30 states and both major political parties signed a resolution in support of the rules package at Independence Hall in Philadelphia – the same place our Founding Fathers met to create our Constitution nearly 230 years ago.
This is an historic accomplishment by the states. For the first time in American history, the foundation is in place for states to use the amendment powers given to them in the Constitution. It’s my hope that states will heed the call of our Founding Fathers and use Article V of our Constitution to limit federal overreach and restore a proper balance of power with the states.
I invite you to learn more about our recent ASL meeting and the nationwide effort to hold an Article V convention at www.assemblystatelegislatures.com.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas on these and other issues. My office can be reached at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov
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