Scroll down for FAQ's
NEWS: Glenn Beck gave his full throttle endorsement to the Article V Convention of States. He talked at length about the Convention of States on his radio show. On his TV program, he said the Article V Convention of States is the biggest tool in the box to fix what's wrong in our nation - "It is what the founders intended." He said don't let people scare you; trust your state legislators to do the right thing. He ends, "We are the generation Washington foresaw; it's time for the wise and honest to do the right thing." Story and video Link: http://bit.ly/19jcRQ3
For Release: Dec. 3, 2013
Article V Convention of States Legislation
Introduced in South Carolina
December 3, 2014 - Columbia, SC: Legislation was pre-filed today in the South Carolina House of Representatives calling for an Article V Convention of States.
The primary sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Bill Taylor (R-Aiken), says, "It’s no secret that Americans aren’t happy with Washington D.C. Career politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have ignored the best interests of this country allowing debt to spiral out of control while stripping States of their rightful power and robbing citizens of their personal liberty. This isn't new; it's been happening for decades. Washington will never limit its own power. They'll never pass amendments to balance the budget, put term limits on themselves or give the states their rightful Constitutional authority."
Today, both South Carolina and Virginia became the first two states to call for the Article V Convention for the express and sole purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. Both states pre-filed Article V legislation. Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, a retired Army Colonel, combat veteran, and a 13-year incumbent in the Virginia House of Delegates, is the primary patron of the Virginia General Assembly. A number of other states will soon follow, including Florida later this week.
In filing the South Carolina legislation, Rep. Taylor said, "Fortunately, our Founders knew the federal government might one day become too large and too powerful and they specifically inserted a mechanism that gives states a lawful and orderly mechanism to restrain a runaway federal government; it's Article V of the Constitution."
Article V of the Constitution provides that if two-thirds of the states submit an application to Congress, Congress must call a Convention of States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution. Each state sends an appointed delegation to the convention, where the states discuss and vote upon amendment proposals.
A Convention of states can only propose amendments. By itself, it cannot change one word of the Constitution. Each state represented in a convention would have only one vote on any proposed amendments to the United States Constitution. Any amendment coming out of an Article V Convention of States would still require 3/4ths of the states (38) to actually become part of the Constitution. Conversely, it would only take 13 states to thwart any amendment proposal. This is a rigorous process that by design, will take a lot of agreement among a lot of states. The process is identical to the process used for all 27 existing amendments to the Constitution with the notable difference that proposed amendments will come from the states rather than Washington D.C.
The Convention of States Project (COS), initiated by Citizens for Self Governance for the purpose of stopping the runaway power of the federal government, is in the process of building a nationwide, grassroots network of citizen-support. So far, thirty eight states, including South Carolina have leadership and a growing grassroots effort. Bob Menges, who teaches Constitutional Law, and is known for speaking on the need for a return to limited government under the Constitution, is the State Director for the Convention of States (COS) Project in South Carolina.
"When the framers agreed on September 15th, 1787 to add a provision in Article V for the states to amend the Constitution, they in effect were telegraphing a message to us in 2013, a message to us showing us the way back inside the fence of the Constitution, a way back to what Thomas Jefferson called the “chains of the Constitution,” said Menges.
Delegate Lingamfelter, of Virginia, has been leading the Article V Convention initiative for many months. He said, "If our Founders were here today and heard us complaining about Federal overreach they would tell us “look, we gave you a remedy, Article V of the Constitution. Use it to rein in the excesses and reestablish the balance we had in mind when we created the Federalist system’. Those of us offering this approach are simply doing what the Founders provided for us to do to keep a balanced and orderly system with the Federal Government doing their job and the states doing theirs”.
The success of the COS Project depends to a large extent on American citizens with the grassroots organization mobilizing across the country.
"Legislators must know that our grassroots team will have their backs if they support a Convention of States. This network of like-minded people will show strong grassroots support and guarantee the success of the COS Project Article V initiative", said Menges. He added, "We are recruiting District Captains in all 124 legislative districts in South Carolina and we welcome those who are willing to work to restrain an out of control federal government." Menges can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Taylor sees this as a non-partisan initiative. "This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue - this is an American issue and all sides should join together to course-correct a federal government that has way overstepped its bounds." He added, "The Convention of States is the safest, most legitimate, lawful and most effective means to solve the problems in Washington. The Constitution is a brilliant document, and it’s high time we use it as the Founders intended."
Article V Convention of States FAQ's
Prepared by the Convention of States Organization
Why Do We Want to Call a Convention of States?
Washington, D.C., is broken. The federal government is spending this country into the ground, seizing power from the states and taking liberty from the people. It’s time American citizens took a stand and made a legitimate effort to curb the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. At the Constitutional Convention, George Mason insisted that the States be given the power to amend the Constitution to curb abuses by Washington, D.C. The Founders gave us the solution for today. It is time to use their solution.
What is a Convention of States?
A convention of states is a convention called by the state legislatures for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution. They are given power to do this under Article V of the Constitution. It is not a constitutional convention. It cannot throw out the Constitution because its authority is derived from the Constitution.
How Do the State Legislatures Call a Convention of States?
Thirty-four state legislatures must pass a bill called an “application” calling for a convention of states. The applications must request a Convention of the States for the same subject matter. The applications are delivered to Congress.
Can Congress Block a Convention of States?
No. As long as each states applies for a convention that deals with the same issue (i.e., limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government), Congress must call the convention. Congress can name the place and the time for the convention to begin. If it fails to exercise this power reasonably, either the courts or the states themselves can override Congressional inaction.
How Do States Choose Their Delegates?
States are free to develop their own selection process for choosing their delegates—properly called “commissioners.” Historically, the most common method used was an election by a joint session of both houses of the state legislature.
What Happens at a Convention of States?
Commissioners from each state propose, discuss, and vote on amendments to the Constitution. All amendments the convention passes by a simple majority of the states will be sent back to the states for ratification. Each state has one vote at the Convention. If North Carolina sends seven commissioners and Nebraska sends nine, each state must caucus on each vote. North Carolina’s one vote would be cast when at least four of its commissioners agreed. Nebraska’s vote would be cast by the agreement of at least five of its commissioners.
How are Proposed Amendments Ratified?
Thirty-eight states must ratify any proposed amendments. Once states ratify, the amendments become part of the Constitution. Normally, Congress designates the state legislatures as the ratifying body—but it may choose to have the states call ratifying conventions. If so, an election by the people would be held in each state to choose delegates to the ratifying conventions.
How Do We Know How a Convention of States Will Work?
Interstate conventions were common during the Founding era, and the procedures and rules for such conventions were widely accepted. Thus, we can know how a Convention of States would operate by studying the historical record. Dr. Rob Natelson has done extensive research on this topic, and more details can be found here and here.
Is a Convention of the States Safe?
Yes. The ratification process ensures no amendments will be passed that do not reflect the desires of the American people. In addition to this, there are numerous other safeguards against a “runaway convention,” all of which can be found in this Handbook (LINK)
If the Federal Government Ignores the Current Constitution, Why Would They Adhere to an Amended Constitution?
When the Founders wrote the Constitution, they did not anticipate modern-day politicians who take advantage of loopholes and vague phraseology. Even though it is obvious to all reasonable Americans, that the federal government is violating the original meaning of the Constitution—Washington pretends that it is following the Constitution claiming that it contains broad and flexible language. Amendments at a convention of states today will be written with such politicians in mind. The language they use for these amendments will be unequivocal. There will be no doubt as to their meaning, no possibility of alternate interpretations, and no way for them to be legitimately broken. For example, the General Welfare Clause could be amended to add this phrase: “If the States have the jurisdiction to spend money on a subject matter, Congress may not tax or spend for this same subject matter.” This provision would have made it clear that Obamacare was unconstitutional.
In addition to this, it should be noted that the federal government has not violated the amendments passed in recent years. Women’s suffrage, for example, has been 100% upheld.
What is the Plan?
The COS Project's plan is twofold:
1) We want to call a convention for a particular subject rather than a particular amendment. Instead of calling a convention for a balanced budget amendment (though we are entirely supportive of such an amendment), we want to call a convention for the purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. Our approach is similar to the adoption of the Bill of Rights. We seek a package of amendments to rein in the abuses of power by all branches of the federal government.
2) We believe the grassroots is the key to calling a successful convention. The goal is to build a political operation in a minimum of 40 states, getting 100 people to volunteer in at least 75% of the state legislative districts—3000 districts. We believe this is very doable. The most important task is to find our 3000 District Captains. The support of the American people will ensure the success of this project.
Join the Convention of States (COS)
Grassroots Campaign in S.C.
Convention of States Project
State Director, South Carolina
In Aiken County:
House District 86 COS Captian