Article Five of the Constitution lays out a process whereby the Constitution can be altered. There are two ways to alter the Constitution, one is the process we are familiar with and that is that by of vote two-thirds of each house of Congress, a proposed amendment is passed and then that amendment is ratified by three-fourths of the sates. The other way to alter the constitutions is by having a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures. Anything passed by the Constitutional Convention would then have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
We have never amended the constitution by the second method which is called, "An Article Five Conventions." Those opposed to an article five convention fear that such a convention cannot be limited and could become a "runaway" convention and radically change the structure of our government and curtail our liberties.
On Thursday, Tennessee joined four other states in calling for an Article V convention. Similar legislation is pending in over thirty other states. An Article V convention could become a reality.
I am reposting the following from an email I received from Bobbie Patray of Tennessee Eagle Forum which tell how each member of the State House and Senate voted on the issue and which, I think, does a good job shedding more light on the topic:
CONVENTION OF THE STATES:
SJR 0067 by *Bell
Constitutional Amendments - As introduced, makes application for the calling of an Article V convention under the United States Constitution to consider amendments to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress
STATUS: You may remember the SJR67 passed the State Senate on April 16, last year, 23-5-2:
Senators voting aye were: Yager, Watson, Tracy, Stevens, Roberts, Norris, Niceley, Mr. Speaker Ramsey, McNally, Massey, Ketron, Kelsey, Johnson, Jackson, Hensley, Haile, Gresham, Green, Gardenhire, Crowe, Briggs, Bowling, Bell -- 23. Senators voting no were: Yarbro, Overbey, Kyle, Dickerson, Beavers -- 5. Senators present and not voting were: Harris, Harper -- 2.
On January 26, SJR67 was in the House State Government Committee, where we had expected a tie vote, but the vote was 5-3 and it went out. Representatives voting aye were: Sanderson, Littleton, Lamberth, Hulsey, Durham -- 5. Representatives voting no were: Shaw, Powell, Jernigan -- 3.
On Thursday morning, 4 February, after a lively debate, SJR67 pass the House Floor 59-31-1:
Representatives voting aye were: Zachary, Wirgau, Williams, White M., White D., Van Huss, Travis, Todd, Terry, Swann, Spivey, Sparks, Shepard, Sexton J., Sargent, Rogers, Reedy, Ragan, Powers, Pody, Moody, McManus, McDaniel, McCormick, Matheny, Marsh, Madam Speaker Harwell, Lynn, Lundberg, Lollar, Littleton, Lamberth, Kumar, Kane, Johnson, Hulsey, Howell, Holt, Holsclaw, Hicks, Hazlewood, Hawk, Halford, Gravitt, Goins, Forgety, Farmer, Eldridge, Dunn, Daniel, Coley, Casada, Carter, Calfee, Byrd, Butt, Brooks K., Brooks H., Alexander -- 59.
Representatives voting no were: Womick, Windle, Weaver, Turner, Stewart, Smith, Shaw, Sexton C., Sanderson, Powell, Pitts, Parkinson, Mitchell, Miller, Jones, Jenkins, Hill T., Hill M., Hardaway, Gilmore, Fitzhugh, Favors, Faison, Dunlap, Doss, Cooper, Clemmons, Camper, Beck, Armstrong, Akbari -- 31. Representatives present and not voting were: DeBerry -- 1.
NOTES: For many reasons, Eagle Forum has opposed an Article V Constitutional Convention for over 40 years. We have felt and continue to feel that there are a lot of unanswered questions, since we have never had such a Convention since the US Constitution was written. When I read Article V and see that "CONGRESS....shall call a convention.." and the ratification process is "proposed by Congress", I still have pause!
I truly understand the hearts of those TN legislators who are horrified when they look at what has happened at the Federal level under both Democratic and Republican majorities. I am horrified too! I know that they see this as the perhaps the last chance to 'do something' to impact the overreach and control that the Federal government has exerted. I get that and I understand!!
It is important to know that there are folks at the national level whose desires do not seem to be so honorable.
(How former Justice John Paul Stevens Would Amend the Constitution, Soros in Vermont: Leftist billionaire behind state's call to keep money out of politics.)
This issue in Tennessee has put good friends and colleagues on opposite 'sides', (I really don't like that term, but it is useful here) but both 'sides' care deeply about this country and it's future. Nevertheless, if 34 states do end up passing this 'call' I will hope and pray that the process works out like it has been presented and my respect and my admiration for the state COS supporters has not dimmed and we will move forward TOGETHER!!