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Senate president calling for constitutional convention to protect states’ rights

February 14, 2013

Declaring that states’ rights are being trampled and the 10th Amendment is in shambles, the leader of the Indiana Senate is calling for a “gathering of states” to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, announced his intention to push for states to hold a constitutional convention at a press conference Thursday morning. He wants the states to come together to address placing limits on the commerce clause and on the federal taxing authority.

Tuesday, Feb. 19, before adjournment, Long plans to present the Senate Rules Committee with a joint resolution calling for an Article V Constitutional Convention. He also plans to offer two companion bills. The first bill will clarify how delegates are to be selected for the convention, and the second will place tight controls on the delegates to prevent a runaway convention.

“I think it’s the only way states’ rights can be protected in his country,” Long said, adding this effort is not rooted in conspiracy theories about the federal government wielding too much power. “It is, I think, a thoughtful and constitutionally based approach to how we can protect states’ rights… .”

In explaining that an amendment to the U.S. Constitution can be offered either by the Congress or by the states, Long pointed to James Madison. The founding father, he said, advocated specifically for language to be included in the Constitution that gave states the ability to draft and put forth amendments on their own.

The Senate president said Madison “clearly believes” this was the “single most important tool” states have to control the federal government.

States need to take charge, Long asserted, because Congress is paralyzed and seemingly has no ability to address the debt crisis facing this country.
 
The Indiana legislator is confident his resolution and two bills will pass this session, noting colleagues on both sides of the aisle have expressed concern about federal spending and states’ rights. Then, he said, he wants to spread the idea, like Johnny Appleseed, to other states.

Most recently Long said he has had conversations about this topic with leaders in Tennessee and Texas. Other states have been talking about this and wondering how to push back against Congress to get control particularly of spending.

“This is something that needs to start,” Long said. “We think the ball needs to get started rolling right here so we’ll do it.”

 

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