Louisiana Lawmakers Call for National Amendment Convention

Published July 12, 2016

Louisiana lawmakers approved a resolution calling for a national convention to draft and enact a balanced budget amendment and other restraints on the federal government.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 52, filed with the Louisiana secretary of state in June, calls on the U.S. Congress to convene a convention to draft proposed “amendments to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints upon its activities, and limit the terms of office that may be served by its officials and by members of Congress.”

Louisiana is the 28th state to call on Congress for a convention to enact amendments to the Constitution. Article V of the U.S. Constitution requires Congress to convene such a convention if two-thirds of state legislatures (currently 34) authorize it.

‘Killing State Budgets’

Dale Clary, a media liaison for Convention of States, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance, says runaway federal spending is bloating state budgets, and the federal government is contributing to the problem.

“Federal mandates are killing our state budgets,” Clary said. “Medicaid alone is about 30 to 40 percent of many state budgets. Here, in Louisiana, we’re fighting right now in a special session over spending and revenues. We’re spending more than we ever have before, and we can’t touch it, because of the federal mandates.”

‘We’ve Had Enough’

Clary says state lawmakers are stepping up and addressing the country’s problems.

“State legislators see what’s happening to their state budget because of federal mandates, and enough of them have said, ‘We’ve had enough,'” Clary said.

Clary says real reform on the national level won’t happen without action by the states.

“Nobody is going to stop the spending [in Washington, DC],” Clary said. “They’ve proven it. We send good people to Congress all of the time, but once they get up there, spending is something they’re not all that concerned about. An Article V convention is how we make Congress stop doing what they’re doing.”

DC Dysfunction

State Sen. Page Cortez (R-Lafayette), a cosponsor of the resolution, says Washington, DC is broken in many ways.

“I do believe Congress has a lot of problems getting things done,” Cortez said. “The executive branch has issued thousands of executive orders, so agencies are working in the way of lawmakers, almost.

“You also have the judicial branch, where the Supreme Court has taken positions on national issues that are very volatile. In many ways, they have tried to legislate from the bench, so it’s a bigger problem than maybe just Congress and the legislative branch,” Cortez said.

Danedri Herbert ([email protected]) writes from Kansas City, Kansas.