The Missouri state legislature approved a resolution calling on Congress to draft new constitutional limitations 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 members of Congress.”
Senate Concurrent Resolution 4, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City), was signed by Missouri House Speaker Rep. Todd Richardson (R- Poplar Bluff) and state Sen. Ron Richard (R-Joplin), the Senate president pro tem, on May 22, making the resolution official.
The resolution is based on model legislation proposed by the Convention of States (COS), a project of Citizens for Self-Governance, a nonprofit organization advocating restoration of state and local authority.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution establishes methods for proposing and enacting amendments.
After 34 states call for an amendments convention, the gathering of commissioners selected by state lawmakers is limited to consideration of amendments requiring the federal government to enact the proposal specified by the call.
At present, 29 states have passed resolutions calling for a convention to draft a balanced budget amendment, and 12 have approved the COS resolution.
Stepping Up, Taking Charge
Kehoe says state legislators must do what lawmakers in Washington, DC are unable or unwilling to do: fix a broken federal government.
“There are many good men and women in Congress, of that there can be no doubt,” Kehoe said. “However, as a whole the Congress has not shown the inclination to act in a manner that adequately and effectively restrains the growth and authority of the federal government.”
Constitutionally restraining the federal government’s size and scope benefits everyone, including the people of Missouri, Kehoe says.
“My constituents want government to establish a framework that allows individuals and the free market to make their own decisions,” Kehoe said. “The bigger government gets, and the more expansive its role, the more it intrudes into the lives of my constituents, ultimately elbowing out individual achievement and the free market.”
Calling for Discussion
Keith Carmichael, Missouri state director for the Convention of States, says an amendment convention is a “discussion among the states.”
“If you understand the ratification process, you’re not afraid to have any discussion among the states, and you’re not afraid of a runaway convention,” Carmichael said. “Early on in the Constitutional Convention, George Mason said this process should be easy, regular, and constitutional. He’s talking about states getting together and having the conversation. What he described is basically a board meeting.”