This post originally appeared on OTYCD in March 2018.
Learn how to get your state to rescind a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention.
A cadre of right-wing folks have been agitating for years to call a new Constitutional Convention (also known as a “Con Con”) with the notion of reshaping the U.S. Constitution. They want to pass a balanced budget amendment, evidently to curtail spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
See OTYCD‘s past post on how to thwart a Constitutional Convention:
A minimum of 34 states are required to call a convention, and anything hatched at the convention would need 38 states to pass.
Set aside the fact that a Constitutional Convention would bring a heap of chaos–the Constitution does not lay out any procedural rules, and Article V, the part of the Constitution that allows conventions, has never been invoked before.
The fact remains that the push for a Constitutional Convention is a right-wing hobby horse, pursued by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other dubious folk.
Working to elect Democratic state legislators helps thwart these plans, as we note in the previous post. But there is another step that should be taken.
A state that assents to a Constitutional Convention is not locked in. It can rescind its resolution agreeing to the Con Con.
Some states have rescinded. In 2017, Nevada, Maryland, and New Mexico all did so.
If your state has passed a resolution calling for a Con Con, you can petition your legislature to rescind it.
A pro-Con Con group, COS Action, tracks its progress with a map. Yellow states have passed the bill in one chamber. Green states have passed the bill outright. Blue states are those where the bill is “active legislation.” White states are inactive–they have not passed Con Con legislation and don’t appear to be targeted for legislation.
See the map by scrolling down to the header ‘So, Are You Making Any Progress?’ and click on the progress map button:
If you don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are, go to the link below and plug in your address and zip code to get their names:
Is your state colored green on the map? Are your state legislative representatives open to sponsoring a bill to rescind a call for a Con Con? If so, ask them to get to work, and check in on them periodically to make sure they’re on it.
If your own state legislators would favor this move, do some research and see if there are other legislators in your state who would support it. Recruit friends in that part of the state and ask them to ask their reps for this.
Is your state colored blue on this map? Call your state legislators, say you oppose calling for a Constitutional Convention, and ask them to fight any state bill that calls for one.
Yellow states are trickier. The COS map indicates that the bill has passed in one state chamber, but does not say which one. In this case, call your state legislators, say you oppose calling for a Constitutional Convention, and say what you know–a pro-convention interest group indicates that one chamber has passed a bill but you’re not sure which one.
Ask for help finding out which state chamber passed the bill. When you have that information, you can take the next step. If the bill passed in the house and is now in the senate, ask your state house rep to prepare a bill to rescind, and ask your state senator to vote no on any state senate counterpart that might be live. If it’s the other way around, act accordingly.
And as stated before, continue to work to elect state-level representatives who aren’t on board with a Con Con. In general, that means voting for Democrats, sane Republicans, and sane Independents.
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Read a November 2017 backgrounder on the Con Con from the CBS website:
Read an August 2017 piece from the Bill Moyers site on the right-wing push for a Con Con, led by ALEC:
Read a May 2017 story from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) website on states that rescinded their calls for a Con Con:
See the language of Nevada’s 2017 state bill rescinding its call for a Con Con: