Amendment Convention Bill on Kentucky Legislature’s To-Do List

Published January 10, 2018

A bill that would call on Congress to organize a national convention to draft an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ready for consideration in the Kentucky Legislature.

BR 285, prefiled by state Rep. Regina Huff (R-Williamsburg) before the session began in January 2018, would enter Kentucky into a convention of states, for the purpose of proposing a constitutional amendment.

The convention would be assigned to draft an amendment to “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office,” according to the bill.

The bill is based on model language proposed by the Convention of States Project, a program organized by Citizens for Self-Governance.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution establishes methods for proposing and enacting amendments, including a state-led process. After 34 states call for an amendment convention, commissioners meet to draft an amendment or amendments enacting the proposal specified in the call. Three-quarters of the states must ratify the proposed amendment for it to take effect.

Currently, 12 states have passed bills consistent with the Convention of States draft legislation.

Restoring States’ Power

Huff says more power belongs with state lawmakers and the people electing them.

“It is my belief that you can’t blanket the nation with one-size-fits-all government,” Huff said. “Therefore, I feel, without question, government would serve us better by designating power back to the states and the people, where it belongs.”

Huff says it’s time for state legislators to use the amendment proposal process to restrain the federal government’s power.

“The abuse of power has plagued us for far too long,” Huff said. “We have unelected bureaucrats in Washington making decisions that impact all of us. It is my belief that we must take ownership of our future if we hope to prosper. Our Founding Fathers provided us a path for times such as these.”

No Hope for DC Change

Ken Clark, a regional director with the Convention of States Project, says real change can’t come from inside the DC system.

“If you pay attention to what is happening in Washington, DC, you come to realize that it does not matter who you elect,” Clark said. “We currently have a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican president. They are doing some tinkering, and they are prolonging the inevitable, but at the end of day, they are not fixing anything.

“The system in Washington, DC is broken,” Clark said. “They are never going to balance their own budget. They are never going to rein in their own power. It will not happen.”

Fixing What Feds Broke

Clark says state elected officials have the authority and responsibility to restore the balance of power between the states and the national government.

“The states created the federal government,” Clark said. “The states are the federal government’s master. Only the states have the power, the constitutionally granted power, to rein in the federal government. ‘We the people,’ acting through our state legislatures, can rein in the federal government. That is the only way it is going to happen.”