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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: August 31, 2015 03:43 PM
From: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Convention of States to amend U.S. Constitution (on fiscal matters, federalism, and term limits)
This memorandum describes the second of the two concurrent resolutions I will soon be introducing which would call for a “Convention of States” under Article V of the United States Constitution. This is one of two methods provided by the Constitution for proposing amendments. Amendments may be proposed by Congress, or, alternatively, by a “Convention for proposing Amendments.” Under the latter method, upon “application” by two-thirds of the states, Congress would be required to call a convention. Any amendment proposed by the convention would still need to be ratified by three-quarters of states in order to be adopted. This concurrent resolution serves as Pennsylvania’s “application” to Congress for such a convention. Similar resolutions are working their way through the legislatures of other states.

The purpose of this convention will be to propose amendments to the United States Constitution eith regard to the following: fiscal restraints on the federal government, such as a balanced budget amendment; protection state rights against encroachments by the federal government which go beyond its proper constitutional powers, and limits on the terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress.

It is important to note that this resolution would also limit the authority of convention delegates from Pennsylvania to the scope of the Article V Resolution, and replace and punish delegates who violated the law in the same way some states now punish faithless presidential electors. Specifically, my Convention of States proposal would not permit consideration of any amendment to the Bill of Rights, thereby addressing any concerns regarding the protection of free speech, right to bear arms, etc. Placing such limits on delegates appointed to the convention will eliminate the possibility of a “runaway convention,” a reason most often cited by critics in opposition to an Article V Convention.

I believe this proposal for a Convention of States on this topic will create the needed opportunity to propose solutions to problems that stem from unchecked activities of a bloated and oversized federal government. Please join me in supporting this resolution.

Introduced as SR291