Seventy-five percent of South Carolina's voters are dissatisfied with the federal government and 71 percent are in favor of an Article V Convention of States, according to S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken.
In a statewide poll that included 1,264 voters from various ethnicities, age groups and from every county conducted by True South Communications, Taylor posed two main questions. When asked if South Carolina should join other states in calling for a convention, Taylor said 32 percent were in favor, 32 percent opposed and 36 percent were undecided.
The idea behind Taylor's initiative is that if two-thirds of 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 delegates will discuss and vote upon amendment proposals.
Of those who opposed or were undecided, Taylor asked if they would support a Convention of States if the purpose was to establish term limits for members of Congress and a balanced-budget amendment for the federal government. Fifty-eight percent changed their minds and approved the convention, Taylor said.
“Because the COS initiative is a new concept to many voters, a second question was asked of those who opposed or were undecided in the first question,” Taylor said. “The explanation of specific potential amendments resulted in a majority giving their support.”
Taylor began spearheading the effort to call a Convention of States last month for the “express and sole purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.” South Carolina and Virginia became the first two states to call for a convention. On Dec. 7, more than 100 state legislators from 32 states met in Washington, D.C., to begin the groundwork for filing a Convention of States.
Taylor added, “In only a month since the legislation was pre-filed, it's clear we are on the right path and support will continue to grow as more people understand that our founders intentionally gave us a remedy in Article V of the Constitution.”
S.C. Rep. Bill Clyburn, D-Aiken, said he thinks other legislators have the right to call for a COS; however, he personally disagrees with it.
I think it's fine to exercise whatever powers you have as it relates to government, but I don't believe it will change anything,” Clyburn said. “I believe the best way to change things is to improve the quality of life from state to state.”
State legislators are planning to reconvene this month to continue working on a product they can pass on to Congress.
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.