In two years, a national movement for a constitutional convention of states will be a hot issue “over and above the presidential election,” the effort’s Georgia state director predicted.
“To me and to us, this is liberty or death,” said Jacqueline S. Peterson,at a South Hall Republican Club meeting on Monday night at the Hall County Library System’s Spout Springs branch in Flowery Branch.
“And if there’s some kind of chance we can take (the country) back, by God, then we’re going to do it.”
She and her husband, John Clark, district captain for Convention of States, talked about the push under Article V of the U.S. Constitution allowing states to meet and propose amendments to the Constitution.
According to the group, 34 state legislatures must pass a bill known as an “application” calling for the convention.
Separate bills have passed the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate. Now, House and Senate leaders must come together to decide which version they want to use, the group’s website states.
“Once that’s done, we’ll be the first state” to pass the application, Peterson said. “We’re in a race with Alaska and Alabama.”
The national group’s goal is for 14 or 15 states to pass the application this year, then the remaining states to pass it in 2015. The convention would be held in 2016.
“As long as there is one state, one vote, the (congressional) apportionment and the Electoral College don’t matter,” Peterson said. “So, California, as many electoral votes as they have, still get one vote at the convention.”
Once the convention is called, delegates — or commissioners, as they would be called — from each state would propose, discuss and vote on constitutional amendments. Approved amendments would go back to the states for ratification.
For an amendment to become part of the Constitution, it must be ratified by 38 states.
Three key areas are being considered for amendments: fiscal “restraint” by the federal government, such as a balanced budget; changing or “reining in” the power and jurisdiction of federal officials; and term limits on elected and appointed officials, such as Supreme Court justices.
Ed Asbridge, the club’s president, said the endeavor just taking place could end up having a “side benefit” in that it might motivate members of Congress “to work on some of the things they should be working on.”
Peterson quickly agreed.
“I think Washington, D.C., is going to freak out when we get to the 34 number,” she said. “That’s going to deliver a message that’s never been heard before.”