By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The state Senate is poised to pass a resolution today that would make Wisconsin the 16th state calling for a convention of states to rein in the ever-expanding federal government.
The Republican-controlled Assembly approved the resolution last year, opening the door to final passage in the Republican-controlled Senate before the clock ticks down on an election-year abbreviated legislative session set to gavel out in early March.
“We’ve all seen a federal government that has gone off the rails for some time now. Anything we can do to put limitations on the federal government certainly is long overdue in many of these areas that fall into the Convention of States,” said Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere).
Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to call a Convention of States to propose amendments. It takes 34 states to call the convention and 38 to ratify any amendments that are proposed. Proponents of this effort, led nationally by Convention of States Action, say the resolutions would only allow the states to discuss amendments that, “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints, and place term limits on federal officials.”
Some lawmakers have raised concerns about a “run-away convention” that would open the door to all manner of constitutional amendments, from the right and the left.
Others want to specifically focus on a federal balanced budget amendment. Several states have signed up in support of that Article V convention.
At least eight states, including Wisconsin, have passed Convention of States resolutions (on the three amendments) in one legislative house. Several more have active legislation this year.
Meckler said liberal control of the White House and congress has sparked increasing interest in the movement.
“What we are witnessing is a radical administration that is ruling by executive fiat. The only way to rein that in at the state level is through the Legislature, and the only way to do that at the federal level is through a Convention of States,” Meckler told Empower Wisconsin last year.
Wisconsin has gotten close to marking its name on constitutional history, Jacque said
“I think a lot of people look to Wisconsin (as a leader in the movement). It has been very interesting over the years, we’ve been close to getting over the finish line over the past several legislative sessions,” the senator said.
Today, it appears the finish line is at hand.