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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 17, 2019 02:41 PM
From: Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill
To: All Senate members
Subject: Concurrent Resolution calling for a “Convention for Proposing Amendments” 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 Convention for Proposing Amendments, under Article V of the United States Constitution. The purpose of this convention will be to propose amendments to the United States Constitution, limited to consideration of the following possible topics: imposition of fiscal restraints on the Federal Government, limitations on its power and jurisdiction, and limitations of the terms of office for Congress and federal officials. Any amendment proposals adopted at this convention would then be sent to the states for ratification as set forth in Article V. A ¾ majority (38) of state legislatures 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 (Convention).” Congress is required to call a Convention upon “application” by two-thirds of the states. 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. Thirteen states (Georgia, Florida, Alaska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas) have already adopted resolutions for these amendment topics. Thirty-four states must submit essentially identical Article V convention applications to Congress for a Convention to be called.

A Convention will create the needed opportunity for states to hold the federal government accountable to the Constitution and 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 reservations about the ability of state legislatures to place limitations on 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. It only authorizes the Convention to propose amendments 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 reflects our willingness as state legislators to exercise our proper role in protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States by using the constitutional “check” that was provided to us by our Founding Fathers to exercise control over a runaway federal government. I ask you to please join me in supporting this resolution.

Introduced as SR234