New Bills Introduced in Kentucky Could Lead to a Constitutional Crisis
- Jay Riestenberg
Common Cause Kentucky Opposes Calls for an Article V Constitutional Convention
As out-of-state special interest groups try to advance dangerous calls for a new constitutional convention, Common Cause Kentucky is urging the legislature to reject these measures.
“An Article V convention would put everyone’s constitutional rights and civil liberties up for grabs,” said Richard Beliles, chairman of Common Cause Kentucky. “There are no rules governing how a convention would work and nothing to stop a runaway convention. In order to protect our Constitution and our rights guaranteed in it, the Kentucky legislature must reject these measures.”
Kentucky legislators are currently considering two resolutions calling for an Article V convention. HCR 13, filed by Rep. Wells (R-West Liberty) would call for an Article V convention to enact a federal balanced budget amendment. According to a report by the Lexington Herald-Leader, Rep. Jim DeCesare (R-Rockfield) is set to file an Article V resolution aimed at limiting federal powers known as the “Convention of States” initiative.
Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, a convention can be called when two-thirds of the states (34) petition for a convention to enact amendments to the constitution. Conservative and balanced budget amendment advocates claim that 28 states have active applications to call an Article V convention to enact a federal balanced budget amendment, leaving them just six states short of reaching their goal. There are no safeguards or guidelines in the U.S. Constitution that limit a convention to one issue or govern the rules of a convention, which makes the threat of a runaway convention very real. Because there is no way to limit a convention’s focus, any issue could be brought up, including voting rights, privacy rights, the Second Amendment, freedom of speech, Social Security, and the military, among other issues.
Common Cause released a report detailing the groups behind the Article V effort, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the dangers of calling a new constitutional convention, which can be found at www.dangerouspath.org.