Read the Proposed Rules for a Convention of States

Convention of States Project recently unveiled its COS Caucus, a group of state legislators from around the country working to draft rules for a future Article Five Convention. 

A copy of those rules as they exist in their first draft form is now available. State legislators can join COS Caucus to collaborate and edit the rules in an online forum. The caucus is currently made up of more than 200 state legislators representing 40 states. 

The most significant aspect of the proposed rules may be Rule 12:

No motion, other than a procedural motion, shall be in order unless germane to both the subject matter specified in the state applications on which Congress called the convention and to the subject matter specified in the convention call.

This rule is important to establish that delegates can only discuss amendments that are germane under the convention call as specified in the state applications.

Rule 4 recognizes the historic precedent of “one state, one vote.” Regardless of population or the number of commissioners a state sends to the convention, each state gets one vote.

Another notable aspect of the document is Rule 5 which states:

Irrespective of how many commissioners a state includes within its delegation, no more than five commissioners from any one state shall be on the floor at the same time.

Rule 24 pertains specifically to the COS Project resolution, establishing committees for each of the three subject matters: fiscal restraints, federal jurisdiction, and term limits.

Under Article Five of the Constitution, the states can call a convention to propose constitutional amendments if two-thirds of the legislatures pass concurrent resolutions.

The document was co-authored by Rob Natelson, a Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute and the nation’s preeminent scholar on the text and history of Article Five.

Since its inception in December 2013, the Assembly of State Legislatures has been working to craft their own set of rules for an Article Five convention but have yet to release a first draft. A representative of ASL said they will be ready to unveil their own rules by their next meeting in November.

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3 thoughts on “Read the Proposed Rules for a Convention of States

  1. They can write a million “rules” but they’re meaningless and they won’t even tell us who these legislators are, citing “privacy.” And when the lay people get involved? It’s just more hoopla by CoS because their little project is stalled and they want to keep the gravy train rolling.

  2. These rules are absolutely meaningless. Even Natelson admits in his ALEC handbook that the delegates can change the rules. This is just smoke and mirrors in an attempt to mollify opponents of an Article V Convention.

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