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Changing the Constitution by state action

Updated on April 17, 2014

A little known or at least little discussion on the power of the states to change our Constitution is covered under article V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

A number of states have started the process in conjunction with this article and is an important step to change the Constitution through the will of the people. The will of the people in terms of the legislation being passed and signed into law along with their regulations have been ignored for too long. The political climate in Washington needs to change and if Washington is not going to change then citizens and their elected officials can take action through this article to make changes happen.

Too many times government has passed laws and imposed regulations which have a negative impact on businesses and the economy at large. Government was created at the beginning of our country to be a support function for the citizens but today it is the people supporting the government. It is true that government needs funds to accomplish their responsibilities but those responsibilities seem to have grown larger than any individual could have imagined. While the funds are needed they are not spending what they have wisely and efficiently. Granted there are times when events happen which cause unplanned increases in costs such as weather events where government needs to support the citizens affected.

The action being taken by several states and it is hoped they will be joined in enough numbers to reach the required participation to change our Constitution. Changes created under article V cannot be overruled by Congress or the courts based on the language in the Constitution. It is not known at this point what proposed change or changes the states will generate. This article gives power back to citizens and their elected officials to make needed changes in the way government operates. Changes can be made to the culture of Congress by electing individuals this election year that will honor the Constitution. Either way it is up to voters to change the culture of Congress this election year or changing the Constitution though actions by state legislatures.

The only problem with the article V process is that appears the Constitution in several cases has been ignored. It is hoped that if changes are made to the Constitution through this article our elected officials will be hesitant to buck this display of public action or face losing their elected position. Article V clearly was placed in the Constitution to give power to the people to make changes in government operations either through the Constitution or replacing elected officials to make a difference. The current dysfunctional environment in Congress must stop and if enough states participate in this process it is hoped that our current elected officials will notice and change their ways. We can only hope that a strong message is sent to Congress through this process that the public has had enough of the status quo. It remains to be seen what changes will occur as a result of this process and our voting decisions this election year. It is going to be a year we may never forget. There will either be a drastic change in the direction of our country or we may continue on the current path. The choice is up to us as citizens and voters. We need to communicate with our state governments to at least consider the option for change under this article process.

The process involved with this article has specific requirements which must be met but it is something which needs to be taken given the current government/political culture. It is time for the citizens of this country through their elected state legislatures to send a strong signal the public has had enough. If the number of participants goes beyond the required minimum it may send a shock wave throughout the political system. States which do not take up such action may also find repercussions during their next election cycle. It is one thing to elect individuals it is quite another to put the fear into individuals elected to state legislatures. The message needs to be a strong one for joining the movement to make changes the public wants in our Constitution and the way government currently operates.


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