UPDATE 2/16/2022. THIS BILL FAILED IN EARLY VOTING. SEE HOW YOUR LEGISLATORS VOTED HERE: https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2022/HJ0002
A bill has been introduced in the Wyoming Legislature calling for a convention of States to amend the US Constitution under Article V of the Constitution.
The Constitution is not easy to amend: only twenty-seven amendments have been added to the Constitution since it was adopted. Article V spells out a few different ways in which the Constitution can be amended. One method—the one used for every amendment so far—is that Congress proposes an amendment to the states; the states must then decide whether to ratify the amendment. But in order for Congress to propose an amendment, two-thirds of each House of Congress must vote for it. And then three-quarters of the states must ratify the amendment before it is added to the Constitution.
Article V provides a way for the states to bypass Congress in proposing amendments to the Constitution, although it has never been used. When two-thirds of the state legislatures apply for a convention, Congress is constitutionally required to call it.
Article V says that “on the Application of two thirds of the Legislatures of the several States, [Congress] shall call a Convention for proposing amendments.” The convention can propose amendments and Congress has no say in the matter. Those proposed amendments would then be sent to the states for ratification. Three-quarters of the states would have to ratify the amendment for it to become part of the Constitution. Only two things are spelled out to be unchangeable in an Article V Convention: every state must have the same number of Senators, and that until 1808, no amendment could limit the slave trade (thankfully the 13th amendment abolishing slavery in the US was passed by Congress in 1865).
Any proposal for a Convention of States is concerning. While the Wyoming bill states the purpose of the Convention is limited to three issues: impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and limit the terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress. There is no language in the U.S. Constitution to limit a convention to one issue, no guidelines for rules to govern a convention, no rules on who picks the delegates and how they are selected, no guarantee that the American people would be equally represented, and no limits on corporate special interest influence.
- Limit Supreme Court Justices to nine members.
- Prevent the addition of states without the affirmative consent of three quarters of the existing states.
- Require members of Congress to live under the same laws they pass for the rest of us.
- Impose term limits on members of Congress.
- Require a balanced federal budget.
- Impose limits on federal spending and/or taxation.
- Get the federal government out of our healthcare system.
- Get the federal government out of our education system.
- Stop unelected federal bureaucrats from imposing regulations.31
- Set term limits for Supreme Court Justices.
- Set term limits for federal bureaucrats, ending the dominance of the “swamp.”
- Remove the authority of the federal government over state energy policy.
- Force the federal government to honor its commitment to return federal lands to the states.
This is an well-planned ALEC-written bill, sponsored by Representative Dan Laursen (HD 25 Park County) Dan.Laursen@wyoleg.gov.
Today, 34 of the 50 state legislatures would need to apply in order for Congress to call a constitutional convention. So far, 15 Republican-controlled states have passed the model legislation proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Bills have passed at least one legislative chamber in another nine states, and bills have been introduced in 17 more states, including now, Wyoming.
Article V Convention of States Pocket Guide PDF: pocket_guide_digital.pdf download here
Convention of States Action website: https://conventionofstates.com
The Hill. Conservatives prepare new push for constitutional convention, by Reid Wilson. (accessed 2/16/22): https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/584835-conservatives-prepare-new-push-for-constitutional-convention
National Constitution Center. Common Interpretation of Article V. (accessed 2/16/22) https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/article-v/interps/277
Wyoming Legislature. HJ0002 – Convention of states bill detail: https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2022/HJ0002