The 1st Session of the 106th Legislature will begin Jan. 9, and Sen. Steve Halloran will once again introduce a bill concerning the Convention of States.
If it passes, this will be Nebraska’s “application” to the U.S. Congress, asking that a Convention of States be called for the purpose of proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution. I strongly support this legislation and will co-sponsor Sen. Halloran’s bill.
For this convention to happen, two-thirds of the states (34) have to make application to Congress. So far 12 states have done this. Ten more states have passed the measure in one chamber of their legislature.
Convention of States legislation has been introduced in another 25 states, including Nebraska.
The framers of the constitution put two methods in Article 5 of the constitution so the constitution could be amended.
Our country has used the first method in Article 5 (2/3 of Congress) 33 times to create 27 amendments to the constitution. The process clearly works.
The 2nd method in Article 5 is where 2/3 of the States (34) call for a convention to propose amendments to the constitution. Once 34 states have made application, Congress calls the convention (names the time and place). All states may send a delegation to the convention. Amendments to the Constitution are proposed at the convention. Each state has one vote. Amendments voted out of the Convention are sent to Congress to select a mode of ratification, and then they are sent to all 50 States for ratification.
We’ve never done this before, but I think it is high time we do.
Regardless of whether Congress proposes an amendment, or the states do, it must be ratified by ¾ of the states, or 38. That amounts to 76 houses of government just like our Legislature. They each have to vote to ratify an amendment. This works out to be about 2,500 state legislators like me all have to vote “yes” to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
This is a very powerful safeguard that the framers of the constitution put in place.
I urge everyone to read Article 5. There is no authority to re-write the constitution. I have heard concerns that this convention could “run away,” voting out all kinds of radical changes to the constitution, such as repealing our 2nd amendment gun rights, or making abortion a constitutional right. These fears are unfounded.
This is not a Constitutional Convention. This is simply a meeting of the states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the constitution.
Instead of raising groundless theoretical worries, I would point folks to our “runaway” federal government that we can see every day in Washington, D.C. This is real. The looming disaster of our national debt and the harm it is going to cause our children and grandchildren is real. The states got together in Philadelphia in 1787 and created our federal government.
I think it is past time for the states to get together and rein it in. The founders put the Convention of States in Article 5 in the Constitution for this very reason.
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call. Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at; firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail a letter to; Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1202, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509 or call us at (402) 471-2628.