Indiana Senate leader's meeting on U.S. Constitution attracts 34 states

2013-12-06T15:05:00Z 2013-12-06T17:52:25Z Indiana Senate leader's meeting on U.S. Constitution attracts 34 statesBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
December 06, 2013 3:05 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | Participants from at least 34 states will join Indiana Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, at George Washington's Mount Vernon home in Virginia Saturday to discuss the state-led process for amending the U.S. Constitution.

Long is among the leaders of a nationwide effort encouraging state legislatures to ask Congress to call a Convention of the States that would permit states to propose and approve constitutional amendments without congressional interference.

"I'm hopeful that our meeting at Mount Vernon will lay important groundwork for the effort to restore a proper balance between the states and Washington, D.C.," Long said.

"I'm looking forward to meeting with colleagues from around the country to discuss the constitutional path available to states to correct an overreaching federal government."

This initial meeting won't consider potential amendment topics. Instead, it's intended to set up the rules to be followed if and when a constitutional convention is called.

There are two authorized methods for changing the nation's fundamental governing document. The only one that has been used is when two-thirds of Congress proposes an amendment and three-fourths of the states (38 states) ratify it.

However, the Constitution also permits what has come to be known as an "Article V convention," named for its placement in the fifth section of the Constitution.

Under that scenario, two-thirds of state legislatures (34 states) ask Congress to call a Convention of the States for proposing constitutional amendments. If the convention approves an amendment, it then can be ratified by three-fourths of the states and added to the Constitution without congressional approval.

Because an Article V convention has never been called, there are no clear rules on how it would begin, the convention's operating procedures or whether it could be limited in scope.

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