The Buzz

December 3, 2013

STATE HOUSE: Bill Taylor wants a 'convention of states' to propose constitutional changes

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

Today is the first day House lawmakers could prefile legislation for the 2014 session, and state Rep. Bill Taylor has in interesting proposal.

The Republican from Aiken has filed legislation that would call for a "convention of the states" to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

From Taylor's news release:

Article V of the Constitution provides that if two-thirds of the states submit an application to Congress, Congress must call a Convention of States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution. Each state sends an appointed delegation to the convention, where the states discuss and vote upon amendment proposals.
A Convention of states can only propose amendments. By itself, it cannot change one word of the Constitution. Each state represented in a convention would have only one vote on any proposed amendments to the United States Constitution. Any amendment coming out of an Article V Convention of States would still require 3/4ths of the states (38) to actually become part of the Constitution. Conversely, it would only take 13 states to thwart any amendment proposal. This is a rigorous process that by design, will take a lot of agreement among a lot of states. The process is identical to the process used for all 27 existing amendments to the Constitution with the notable difference that proposed amendments will come from the states rather than Washington D.C.

Taylor's bill is part of a national campaign organized by the Convention of States Project . South Carolina and Virginia are the first two states to file this legislation, Taylor said.. Scott Lingamfelter, a Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates, is the primary sponsor of the Virginia legislation. Taylor also said "a number of other states will soon follow, including Florida later this week."

Taylor is not the first lawmaker to call for a convention. State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw and the likely Democratic nominee for governor, says S.C. should have a state constitutional convention to write a new state constitution.

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