S.D. lawmakers push for U.S. constitutional amendment

S.D. lawmakers push for U.S. constitutional amendment

By David Montgomery – Via Argusleader –

South Dakota lawmakers this year are expected to battle over the state’s policies on crime, health care and taxes. But one of the fiercest fights could reach well beyond the state’s borders: the U.S. Constitution.

A growing number of lawmakers are signing on to a movement to call a new federal constitutional convention, for the goal of bypassing Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment and perhaps other reforms.

Although the energy for the convention comes mostly from conservatives, some Democratic leaders have voted for it, and some of the fiercest opposition also comes from conservatives.

At a legislative breakfast Thursday hosted by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, five of the 16 legislators speaking brought up the convention, and most of those named it as a top priority this legislative session.

“What I’m hoping to be working on this year is a bill, a resolution actually, that’s going to call for a convention of the states, that will propose amendments to limit the federal government’s power,” said Rep. Isaac Latterell, R-Tea. “I’m hoping to rein in their power so it will be within the scope of the Constitution as it was intended, and give us more local control so we can decide things for ourselves here as a state and as a community.”

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, two-thirds of the states — 34 states, today — can call for a convention to revise the Constitution. Any amendments produced have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states, or 38 today.

There never has been a convention held under Article V, though several efforts came close. All 27 amendments to the Constitution were initiated by Congress.

Years ago, the South Dakota Legislature called for a constitutional convention to pass a balanced budget amendment and several other reforms. But all those calls were rescinded in 2010. A new resolution last year calling for a constitutional convention was killed in committee. Other states also have taken steps toward calling for a constitutional convention, inspired in part by conservative author and radio host Mark Levin.

The biggest argument against a new constitutional convention is the fear of a “runaway convention” — one that makes changes beyond the limited goals intended by those calling it.

That’s in many ways a callback to the original 1787 constitutional convention, which was called to amend the Articles of Confederation and ended up writing an entirely new governing document.

“I’ve always been of the mindset that we approach that cautiously,” said Sen. Tim Rave, R-Baltic, and the Senate majority leader. “It could be runaway. Those things that could happen that are unanticipated.”

To guard against that, Sioux Falls Republican Rep. Manny Steele will bring a bill that would force South Dakota’s delegates to a constitutional convention to swear an oath not to approve any unauthorized amendments. Any delegate who voted to even consider such an unauthorized amendment would be “immediately recalled.”

His attempt to pass such a bill last year failed in the House. He’s vowing to try again this year.

Rep. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, voted against Steele’s bill last year, but said Thursday that he’s “leaning towards supporting it,” and the call for a convention, this year.

Rep. Marc Feinstein, D-Sioux Falls, called the constitutional convention “a noble idea” that he’s open to supporting. But Feinstein said he doesn’t “really see it as something that will nationally gain a lot of traction.”

Multiple lawmakers, however, said they sensed momentum growing in South Dakota for the plan —whether it amounts to a majority or not.

“It’s on more people’s radar, and it’s probably fair to say it’s got more support than it’s had in the past,” Rave said.

Steele was more enthusiastic.

“(Support) has jumped in leaps and bounds from last year,” he said.


H/T: Mark Levin


  1. Reblogged this on Brittius.com and commented:
    Many things to be considered. Limitations of power. Limitations of elected term of office. Balanced budget. Payroll/salary ratio for elected officials and staff. Mark Levin, would be the “Go-To Guy”, and would have better insight, and for that reason, I would expect to somehow see Levin or others that might be helpful, come under political harassment of some sort.

  2. At this point , to run away from where our government has slithered too would be a GOOD thing .

  3. The COS idea is worthy of discussion and may be one way that we can rescue power from the Federal government that they have usurped from the states and the people. The idea speaks to the 10th Amendment. Check it out at: http://conventionofstates.com/ There is a nice handbook (PDF) that they offer as a download. It is just one man’s opinion, but I believe that Americans must use every power and protection they have to stop the unchecked Federal Government from its surge toward tyranny. Convention of States, No Confidence vote, fierce activism…. and prayer. Put that first. Let’s start a Revivalution.

  4. Good job QueenofLiberty!! I know there are other lawmakers from other states looking at the idea. I would love to know how many! We’ll never hear it in the State-Controlled Media or Fox for that matter….

  5. Char in ND says:

    This is great news from my neighbors to the South. I sent a copy of this article and expressed my support for this movement to my State Representative. We need to get something going here in North Dakota, I think my representative can be the guy to get the ball rolling here.

    Thanks for the post and the link, Alexis!

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