I know civics is generally boring, but on March 1, I had an amazing opportunity to testify before the House State Government and Elections Committee on a topic that is gaining national momentum, an Article V Convention of StatesS). A CoS is one of two modes to propose amendments to the US Constitution. One mode is initiated by the U.S. Congress, the other initiated by the states, ratification under either mode is the same. So, if you believe in self-governance and don’t believe that Congress will ever cede powers back to the states or in any way restrain itself, then an Article V CoS is an answer to consider.
Some fast facts to mull over:
1. When 2/3s (34) of the states pass a state resolution(s) to call for a CoS, then a convention is called.
2. This is a state-led effort, a Constitutional provision, and the U.S. Congress is essentially hands off. Article V does not provide a way for Congress to stop or prevent the states from leading this effort.
3. Sometimes a growing call for a CoS results in a prodding effect on Congress; example — the 17th amendment. Congress acted only once 33 of the 34 states needed passed resolutions to call a Convention of States. Now, we the voters, directly vote for U.S. senators.
4. The current nationwide effort calls for: A) Impose term limits on federal officials. B) Impose federal fiscal restraint, aka balanced budgets. C) To reduce the size and power of the federal government. All since Washington will not fix itself.
5. So far 19 states have already passed their resolutions. In 2023, 18 additional states filed resolutions to join the call, in Rhode Island it was HR 5188 and was referred for additional study.
So, what can a lone citizen do? A) Take a few minutes to read Article V and realize that yes, the states can rein in their federal government. B) Go to conventionofstates.com, check out the progress map, and sign the national petition, CoS Action then sends an email to your state legislators. C) Get involved, be a leader in your community.
The CoS Action team in Rhode Island is rebuilding and preparing for round two in the next legislative session to join the call. Be on the lookout for small events and in-person meetings to learn about the Convention of States Project.
Welcome to the discussion.
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