State Lawmakers Hope To Utilize Rarely-Used Constitutional Power To Amend U.S. Constitution

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(WHNT) - For decades, Republican lawmakers have touted a Balanced Budget Amendment as a way to rid the nation of its ever-growing debt.

However, those Congressional Republicans failed time and time again to pass the amendment with the required 2/3 majority vote in both the House and the Senate.

Now, state lawmakers are taking things into their own hands using a little-known, and rarely used power granted them by the Constitution.

It's called the Article V Constitutional Convention, called by 2/3 of the nation's states - currently 34 states are needed.

"George Mason put it in there to give states a means of amending the U.S. Constitution outside the control of Congress," said State Senator Arthur Orr, who is among the lawmakers leading the effort in Alabama.

Currently 33 states, including Alabama, are part of the effort to amend the Constitution to require America to run on a balanced budget.

"But that is a long way off in the future," said Orr. "What we can do now is prepare ourselves in case a constitutional convention is ever called."

In preparation for that event lawmakers proposed two bills.

The first details how delegates for the convention would be chosen and the requirements they must meet.

"They do not have to be a member of the legislature to be a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but they will be chosen by the legislature," explained Orr.

The second bill puts controls in place, to prevent delegates from going rogue, and voting against the state's mandate.

"They can be criminally liable, and charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, if they breech the trust of the citizens by voting contrary to the state," said Orr.

Even if these bills do pass, Orr says there is a long road ahead, now his focus is on laying the groundwork.

"We're just in the first step, and again it'd be a very, very long journey to see this come to fruition, but if the pressure on Washington builds I would call that a success."

Thirty-eight states would be needed to ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment if the convention is called.

Despite coming close twice in the 1960s, and again in the 1980s, state legislatures have never successfully called an Article V Constitutional Convention.


  • Skillpot

    Okay, I can handle the ‘balanced budget amendment,’ but, let’s add another one; Limit the US House Members to No Less Than Two, and No More Than Eight, for any State!

    • Branko Pezdi

      Nope. I suggest you read up on how the Framers crafted the Constitution and the reasoning behind setting up two different houses of Congress. The Senate is designed to have each STATE represented equally while the House of Representatives is designed to represent the citizenry proportionately. The Framers designed the system to keep government power decentralized and in the hands of the states rather than the federal government. This concept was destroyed by the passage of the 17th Amendment, one of the numerous ways that progressives have managed to shred the Constitution. What is needed (besides repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments) is a TERM LIMITS amendment, which would apply to the entire Congress and preferably to other parts of the federal government, including the judiciary and much of the bureaucracy. Another necessary amendment would be one that imposes time limits on spending legislation and require this legislation to be re-voted on periodically. None of this will ever happen, though. The Marxist faction of society, i.e., those greedy for centralized power are now too powerful and are well on their way to succeeding in finally destroying the noble American experiment that the Founders and Framers set up.

      • Wake Up

        Great idea! With term limits on our elected representatives, the only ones that will have extensive experience will be the lobbyists! That will mean the lobbyists will know more about how the system works than our representatives. The lobbyists will have a cake walk with all the green-horn legislators!

    • Skillpot

      Okay, Branko, and Wake, I have been pushing TERM limits a long time, but have had no one pushing it! We have too many US House of Reps., so, let’s bring some of them home, both with TERM LIMITS, and reduction in numbers!

    • alafan2010

      Two terms for Congress and one for the Senate. After that they are owned by the lobbiest anyway. This way they would not need the lobby money so they could run again.

  • Branko Pezdi

    Skill – The Constitution actually allows for one Representative for as few as 30,000 citizens, which would equate to over 11,000 Representatives for the current population of the U.S.! The 435 Representatives currently serving is the minimum number possible, given that the lowest population state – Wyoming – has one representative. While it may sound good to reduce the number of Congressmen, it is actually an impossible not mention false choice. The problem isn’t the NUMBER of Congressmen, it’s how long some of them stay. The Framers wanted to avoid an entrenched, all powerful ruling class, which had been the case in every society in history up to that time, but sadly it has happened to the U.S. The Framers tried to solve the problem by mandating periodic – and frequent – elections for President, Senate, Congress, AND by setting up a house of Congress (Senate) selected directly by the state legislatures, which as I mentioned above was taken away by the 17th Amendment, one of the earliest victories by the evil of Progressivism. The Framers’ mistake was not mandating term limits, but then at the time being a politician was not considered a permanent job.

    • alafan2010

      Do we really want our Senate and Comgtessmembers elected by the Alabama state legislation ? Now that is a scary thing to me.With Beson and Hubbard running the show, I don’t trust them to do anything. With nut jobs like this in charge is why revoking the 17th Amendment was necessary. I had rather have the big scary national government running things than this clowns.

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