South Carolina, Virginia call for convention of states
It's no secret that Americans aren't happy with Washington, D.C., said S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, who is now the primary of new legislation designed to rein in the federal government.
The bill – introduced on Tuesday – calls for an Article V Convention of States – or COS.
“Fortunately, our founders knew the federal government might one day become too large and too powerful and they specifically inserted a mechanism that gives states a lawful and orderly mechanism to restrain a runaway federal government; it's Article V of the Constitution,” Taylor said.
The information came in a Tuesday press release that revealed South Carolina and Virginia are the first two states to call for a convention. Florida is expected to voice its support on Friday.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution was put in place to enforce a checks-and-balances system for the federal and state governments. Taylor said other state legislators have agreed that the federal government is spiraling out of control and that power must be shifted back to the states.
The Article also states that, if two-thirds of the states submit an application to Congress, Congress must then call a Convention of States to propose amendments to the Constitution.
Each state must then send an appointed delegation to the convention, where the states discuss and vote upon amendment proposals.
“Washington will never limit its own power,” Taylor said. “They'll never pass amendments to balance the budget, put term limits on themselves or give the states their rightful Constitutional authority.”
Bob Menges, a Constitutional law professor, is also the state director for the COS Project in South Carolina. Like Taylor, he also feels the convention is necessary.
“When the framers agreed on Sept. 15, 1787, to add a provision in Article V for the states to amend the Constitution, they in effect were telegraphing a message to us in 2013, a message to us showing us the way back inside the fence of the Constitution,” Menges said.
State legislators from several states will be meeting in Washington this weekend to outline the language of the legislation. They will look to gain more support and reconvene again in January to continue working on a product they can pass on to Congress.
Taylor said he is pushing action among both Republicans and Democrats to get the legislation to the next level.
“This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue – this is an American issue and all sides should join together to course-correct a federal government that has way overstepped its bounds,” he added. “The Convention of States is the safest, most legitimate, lawful and most effective means to solve the problems in Washington.”
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.