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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 3, 2017 09:10 AM
From: Representative Matt Gabler
To: All House members
Subject: Concurrent Resolution calling for a “Convention of States” under Article V of the United States Constitution
 
In the near future, I will be introducing a concurrent resolution, calling for a “convention of states,” otherwise known as a limited amendment convention under Article V of the United States Constitution. The purpose of this convention will be to propose amendments to the United States Constitution imposing restraints on federal power and jurisdiction. Any amendments adopted in convention would then be sent to the states for ratification. A ¾ majority (38) of the states must ratify any amendment for it to become law.

The United States Constitution provides for two methods of proposing amendments. Amendments may be proposed by Congress, or, alternatively, by a “Convention for proposing Amendments.” Congress is required to call a convention upon “application” by two-thirds of the states. This concurrent resolution proposes Pennsylvania’s “application” to Congress for such a convention. Similar resolutions are working their way through the legislatures of other states. Georgia, Florida, Alaska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Oklahoma and Indiana have already adopted resolutions for these amendment topics. In addition, during 2015-16, the following states passed the resolution via a floor vote in one of their chambers: Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, New Mexico, Virginia, South Dakota, Utah, Missouri, Texas, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.

A Convention of States will create the needed opportunity for states to hold the federal government accountable to the voices of the people. A Convention will provide a means to propose solutions to problems that stem from unchecked activities of a bloated and oversized federal government.

While some people have expressed well-placed reservations about the ability of the state legislatures to control their delegates at the convention and to ensure non-germane amendment proposals are not pursued, I believe this resolution’s language includes the proper protections against unauthorized delegate behavior. We certainly do not want to open “Pandora’s Box” to unwanted amendments. For this reason, this resolution only grants the Convention the ability to propose “amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.” It also includes delegate limitation, perjury/contempt and recall provisions and numerous reservations, understandings and declarations that control the application.

I am sure many of us frequently hear constituents expressing a desire for someone to “do something about that mess in Washington.” This resolution is our opportunity as state legislators to exercise our proper role in starting the process of working toward a more accountable federal government. I ask you to please join me in supporting this resolution.

PRIOR SPONSORS: GABLER, EMRICK, BARRAR, CAUSER, DUSH, EVERETT, GROVE, HARHART, A. HARRIS, KAUFFMAN, M. K. KELLER, MARSHALL, MARSICO, MASSER, METZGAR, OBERLANDER, SANKEY, SAYLOR, SONNEY, MAHER, ROAE, LAWRENCE, QUIGLEY, TALLMAN, RADER, SCHEMEL, TOBASH, HAHN, PHILLIPS-HILL, M. QUINN, HEFFLEY, GREINER, PEIFER, WENTLING and GIBBONS



Introduced as HR187