- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Republican-led Texas Senate voted Tuesday in favor of convening a constitutional convention as Lone Star State lawmakers look to rein in Washington and limit the federal government from “stiff-arming the states.”

Lawmakers advanced a package of bills during 20-11 vote effectively putting Texas on the path to join a growing effort aimed at summoning a Convention of States — a method of altering the U.S. Constitution that hasn’t occurred since the late 18th century.

In order to make changes to the U.S. Constitution, amendments must either be approved by two-thirds of Congress or else introduced at convention and successfully ratified by two-thirds of state legislatures. The GOP now controls the House and Senate in a majority of state legislatures, making the latter route a feasible way of affecting change within Washington with respect to revising laws that ruffle Republicans.

“This convention that we’re trying to call is about rebalancing state authority,” Republican State Sen. Brian Birdwell, an author of two of the three bills, told The Dallas Morning News.

Senate Joint Resolution 2, one of the measures approved Tuesday, would limit the scope in terms of what proponents of the route would want to discuss at a potential Convention of States, restricting discussions to amendments “to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress.”

“For years, we have watched as the executive and judicial branches have usurped more and more power from the states, issuing dictates that become de facto law,” Mr. Birdwell said, Courthouse News reported. “I believe we are at the precipice of history, as George Mason believed, that some day a federal government would no longer have the interests of its states in mind.”

Eight states so far have passed legislation endorsing the idea of a constitutional convention. Thirty-four states in all would have to support the effort before an assembly is convened, and any amendments proposed and approved would ultimately need to be ratified by 38 states.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who made convening a Convention of States an emergency item for the current legislative session, applauded the Senate’s vote.

“Our nation is succumbing to the caprice of man that our Founders fought to escape, and I am encouraged that the Texas Senate has taken the first step in joining other states from across the country in reversing that trend,” Abbott said in a statement on Tuesday.

“For decades, the federal government has grown out of control, increasingly abandoning the Constitution while stiff-arming the states and ignoring its citizens,” Mr. Abbott said. “This isn’t a problem caused by one president and it won’t be solved by one president — it must be fixed by the people themselves.”


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