Local News

12/23/2013

Legislator wants to amend

By GORDON JACKSON The Brunswick News

WOODBINE -- State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, believes it's time to reel in what he says is an out-of-control U.S. Congress.

Spencer was among 98 state legislators from 32 states who met this month at Mount Vernon, Va., to discuss having states call a constitutional convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. He was one of 10 state representatives and senators from Georgia at the meeting.

The process is authorized by Article V of the Constitution to allow two-thirds of state legislatures to call a convention to propose amendments, which would have to be ratified by three-fourths of states to become effective. It has never happened.

Spencer says the idea is gaining support because legislators in some states are frustrated with the inability of Congress to address issues that have created gridlock, government shutdowns and massive federal debt.

"It was a very serious discussion," he said. "In order to have an Article V convention, you have to have bipartisan support."

Spencer said states could approve amendments that would compel the federal government to have a balanced budget or to place term limits on members of Congress.

"It gives an opportunity for states to exert control over Congress," he said.

Participants at the meeting said it's up to the states to determine if a convention is held and what issues would be discussed, Spencer said.

"Given the political momentum behind the calling of an Article V convention, it seems prudent to define how exactly such a convention should take place," he said.

"We also feel strongly that a bill or bills be drafted, debated and voted upon in the 2014 legislative session to define a process for selecting and governing the conduct of delegates and alternates appointed to an Article V convention, should such a convention take place."

Spencer said attendees left the meeting with a sense of urgency to organize a convention by 2016, at the latest. "This is significant," he said.

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 464-7655.