Residents who have grown tired of federal regulations, the government’s inability to rein in the national debt and its unwillingness to enact term limits on members of Congress hope to use the power of states to force change.
A petition circulating locally and nationwide urges state lawmakers to call a Convention of States under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which allows states to bypass Congress and make amendments to the Constitution.
For that to happen, two-thirds of state legislators – or 34 states – must pass a resolution calling for a Convention of States, and all must agree on which topics are to be discussed. So far, eight states have agreed to a convention to “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit its power and jurisdiction, and impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress.”
States that have passed a resolution include Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Assuming two-thirds of states agree to meet on the selected topics, they can craft amendments to the Constitution that then must be ratified by three-fourths of the states, or 38 states, to become law.
The local effort to drum up support for Article V is headed up by April LaJune and Dutch Shaver, both Convention of States captains for state House District 59.
LaJune said it is a bipartisan effort, but acknowledged conservative voters are leading the charge. Residents of all political stripes should support the effort, she said, because it removes power from Congress and returns it state legislatures.
“The lawmakers right now need to understand this is not a government that they can do whatever they want,” LaJune said. “We’re a constitutional republic, and we elect representatives to represent the people in their area, not themselves. What we’ve had so far is people being elected and representing their own agenda.”
She also thinks most people can agree the federal government has overreached its authority and needs to pay down the national debt.
The petition is a signal to state representatives that constituents support Colorado passing a resolution calling for a convention, she said. Electronic petitions can be signed by visiting www.cosaction.com.
“It’s just so they understand that we want to do this – that we want in Colorado to be able to talk about these three issues as part of the Convention of States – we want to participate,” LaJune said.
State Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, could not be reached Monday for comment.
The local action group has generated almost 400 signatures for House District 59, LaJune said.
The nationwide effort is three years old. Once a state agrees to the Convention of States, it remains on the table in perpetuity – until 34 states have agreed to meet, she said.
“To have eight states already onboard and two Democrats in Hawaii introducing the Convention of States to the legislation is really good,” LaJune said, adding, “Everything with government is a slow process. That’s unfortunate.”