Texas Lt. Governor Announces Support for Amendment Convention Proposal

Published September 30, 2016

On a prominent talk-radio show, the lieutenant governor of Texas called on his state’s lawmakers to approve a resolution calling for a national constitutional amendment convention.

Joining national talk-radio host Mark Levin in September, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced his support for the Convention of States proposal, which is backed by Citizens for Self-Governance, a nonprofit organization advocating restoration of state and local authority.

After 34 states call for an amendment convention, the gathering would be limited to consideration of amendments requiring the federal government to enact a balanced budget. Currently, 28 states have passed such resolutions.

Restoring Rule of Law

Tom Lindsay, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Tenth Amendment Action, says the only way to rein in an abusive federal government is to reform the government’s framework.

More important than electing this person or that person, we’ve got to restore the structure of American government,” Lindsay said. “It’s been eroded by Supreme Court decisions, by a Congress that has delegated too much of its authority to unaccountable bureaucrats, [and] by a president who only obeys the laws he likes despite Article II, [which] demands that he take care to faithfully execute it. This is the last constitutional resort for restoring the rule of law in this country.”

‘Not a Constitutional Convention’

Lindsay says the U.S. Constitution spells out how the people can change the way government works.

“Article V provides two means of calling conventions to amend the constitution,” Lindsay said. “The first is very simple. It takes a two-thirds vote in Congress to propose an amendment and three-fourths of states to ratify. That’s how all 33 attempted constitutional amendments have been done, of which 27 were successfully ratified. The other method has never been tried before in our history. That’s a convention of states, which is not a constitutional convention, despite what the detractors want to call it.”

‘Critical Announcement’

Kyle Maichle, project manager for constitutional reform issues at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Budget & Tax News, says Patrick’s support for an amendment convention is good for the movement in Texas and nationwide.

Patrick’s endorsement is a critical inducement for the Texas State Legislature,” Maichle said. “The lieutenant governor has significant power as the tie-breaking vote in the legislature. Having him on board will make it easier for the legislature to coalesce around the call for a convention of states.”