Today the Alabama Senate passed a resolution calling for an Article V Convention of States, making it the fourth state to apply for a convention of this kind.
The resolution, which was adopted by a voice vote, calls for a convention“for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and limit the terms of office for officials of the federal government.”
The resolution was previously passed by the Alabama House last month. After passage in the Senate, it was sent back to the House for an amendment to fix a language error. That measure passed 92-7.
Alabama State Rep. Ken Johnson was the primary sponsor of this legislation. In regards to the resolution, Johnson said, “Our founding fathers provided us with the ability to change the U.S. Constitution when circumstances require, and now is the time to utilize that great gift they gave us.”
Convention of States Project, launched late in 2013, has been the primary proponent of this resolution and already has an extensive network in all 50 states with more than 100,000 citizen volunteers.
Terry Richmond, the Legislative Liaison for the Alabama team, released a statement saying, “The dedication, vision, and prayers of every volunteer in the state, along with the hard work and commitment of our sponsors and their staff, is what made this victory possible. The people of Alabama should hold their heads high – they’ve implemented the Founders tool to fight federal overreach, and we’re one step closer to turning a Convention of States into a reality.”
Mark Meckler, Co-Founder of Convention of States Project, said, “We’d also like to thank every Alabama legislator who sponsored, co-sponsored, or voted in favor of our resolution. They passed HJR 112 by overwhelming majorities, sending a clear message to D.C. that the American people are tired of overreach and reckless spending.”
Check out our video interview with the co-founders of Convention of States Project at CPAC 2015.
Many state legislators view an Article V convention as a necessary step to restoring federalism in America.
Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, states can call a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution if two-thirds of the states (34) pass similar applications. Alabama is the first state to pass this resolution in 2015. Georgia, Florida, and Alaska ratified this resolution last year, and at least 25 states will consider the Convention of States Project resolution this year.
Other legislative chambers that have passed this resolution include the Houses in Arizona, North Dakota, New Mexico, Iowa, Arkansas, and Louisiana, as well as the Senates in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Tennessee. The opposite legislative chambers of these states will still need to approve the measure for their applications to become valid. A governor’s signature is not needed.
Alabama’s team put together an informative video on the Article V process.
The convention of states movement received a significant boost when Mark Levin released his bestselling book The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic. Levin, an eight-year veteran of the Reagan administration, outlines a blueprint for an Article V convention that would restore power to state and local governments.
Levin recently spoke before several hundred state legislators, telling them they had a constitutional obligation to use Article V and reclaim their power.
According to James Madison’s notes, Col. George Mason, one of Virginia’s delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, was one of the leading advocates for this provision, arguing it was necessary for the states to have recourse “if the Government should become oppressive.”
In Federalist 85 Alexander Hamilton writes extensively about Article V, stating flatly: “We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.”
Likewise, in a letter, James Madison wrote: “Should the provisions of the Constitution…be found not to secure the government and rights of the states, against usurpation and abuses on the part of the United States, the final resort within the purview of the Constitution, lies in an amendment of the Constitution, according to a process applicable by the states.”
Other historical proponents of an Article V convention include President Eisenhower, in support of Congressional term limits, President Reagan, in support of a balanced budget amendment, and Milton Friedman.