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Moving From Protest to Constitutional Proposals

CSPAN VIDEO: Assembly of State Legislatures Meeting
The Assembly of State Legislatures hosted a discussion on Article V of the Constitution, which allows states to propose and ratify amendments to the founding document.
VIDEO: http://www.c-span.org/video/?323119-1/discussion-article-v-constitution&live#

A historical meeting is going on now in Washington DC among state legislators hammering out the details of how to call a convention to propose amendments as described in Article V of the US Constitution. The Article V Convention process is designed to correct imperfections in the Constitution. Legislators on both sides of the aisle realize Congress is not going to act to correct the ills that plague our Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive branch. They are looking at term limits, campaign finance reform, and other ways to restrict the power of the federal government.

The Assembly of State legislatures made some amazing determinations about Article V so far:

  • The subject matter is up to the delegates
  • It adjourns when the delegates desire it
  • The applications from states that they expect Congress will count have no identified subject matter
  • The issue of one state, one vote is not resolved (It may turn out to have popular representation which is a wonderful possibility for an arcane process)
  • US Territories will have no vote.
  • States will have the power to decide how they will each select/elect their own delegates
  • The total number of delegates may be in the neighborhood of 567
  • The ASL will seek a quorum of states (26) and two-thirds of that assembly may agree on proposals

The group had not completed the count of applications from states for an Article V Convention which would take 34, but they did say that they confirmed that 36 (incidentally 34<36) states sent application to Congress and they are cross checking the texts from state legislative archives which oddly differs from the Congressional Record at times. The members of the ASL’s Judiciary Committee considered the Congressional Record to have a “problem at the source”.

So far, the Assembly of State legislatures have applications from the following states and removed any applications that were rescinded by a legislature to arrive with the following list:
AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI
The revelation that these states legislators can confirm that at least 36 states have active applications on record is Earthshaking.

A recently released letter from progressive legislators involved in the Assembly of State Legislatures requested the participation of the blue states. Since the right controls the legislatures of 26 states, they will process without the blue states. Therefore all of the states need to attend or we lose the high ground due to our own acquiescence. We have a democracy ruled by those who participate.  

This event follows on the heels of the recent application by the Illinois legislature to call a convention limited to campaign finance reform. The sponsor of that resolution and the approved representative of the Illinois legislature, Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia stated,

The people of the country are dying for this [Article V Convention] right now. They are so upset by the inability and ineffectiveness of Congress.

In an open request to the American people, I urge you all to start thinking about what is going on in our nation today. We have some serious problems in our streets, government, and courts. Military is over used, nothing seems sustainable about our way of life, and our federal government is so incapacitated by corruption they must be relived of duty.  

We the People need to start moving from protest to proposals in an unofficial assembly of the people to provide guidance, suggestions, and immediate feedback to the Convention proposing amendments. We can no longer point to a problem without a will to work toward a solution. Our chance to influence the course of our nation and even the world is collectively in our hands. We must begin our own national town hall to crowdsource these solutions together. In this internet age, our voices will have a tremendous effect. We will build momentum around ideas rather than candidates.

Nearly every time this assembly of legislators has a tough choice to make in respects to the grey areas of Article V, they have tried to make the process more fair and open. If there is a chance for things to go sideways, it is passing fast. No one will think the process is ideal but it will function well in spite of those imperfections. The intent of this effort is to have an American convention, not a GOP or Democrat convention.  I applaud their efforts, encourage others to support them and encourage your state to eagerly participate in what could be the most important effort of our lifetime.

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Daniel Marks

Daniel Marks

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