[post_thumbnail]Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Boise, favors amending the U.S. Constitution to include a balanced budget provision.

As state legislators from across the country prepare to gather this weekend at President George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon estate, the agenda to be discussed—the possibility of amending the U.S. Constitution—remains a point of interest in the Gem State.

While some members of Idaho’s Legislature have been working toward this goal for several years, others vehemently oppose the idea and express fear of what may result with such an attempt.

“Over the last three legislative sessions I’ve proposed bills regarding both the subject matter for a convention, and procedurally how Idaho would select delegates for a convention,” said Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Boise. Commonly referred to as a constitutional convention, McKenzie’s goal is to involve Idaho in what is more technically known as a “convention for proposing amendments.”

According to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, there are two pathways to amending the U.S. Constitution. One is initiated through the U.S. Congress itself, where two-thirds of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate agree on amendments, followed by ratification of those amendments by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.

The other approach begins at the state level, where the legislatures of two-thirds of the individual states ask Congress to call “a convention for proposing amendments.” In this scenario, states would send delegates to this convention to propose amendments, after which the legislatures of three-fourths of the states would have to ratify any amendments approved by the convention, either by a vote of the legislatures or through special ratifying conventions.

McKenzie believes that there is growing support for such a convention. “I definitely think there’s been a shift in the mindset among the people regarding states’ rights,” he commented. “People are more concerned about the expansive nature of our federal government and the need for the states to put some controls on it.”

But other members of Idaho’s Legislature are vehemently opposed to the idea of an Article V convention.

“I have never been in favor of this,” said Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale. “I am too fearful that it would be a runaway convention. People have tried to assure me that it won’t happen, but they haven’t convinced me.”

For his part, McKenzie’s last legislative effort to involve Idaho in an amendments convention was entitled the No Runaway Convention Act (which can be viewed HERE). He intends to introduce legislation again next year that would specify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would require a balanced federal budget, and also to propose legislation that would require Idaho delegates to only support that amendment proposal. “It’s the federal spending problem that primarily drives me with this,” he told IdahoReporter.com.

Yet Boyle remains opposed to the idea. “I don’t know that there would be amendments proposed at a convention like this, so much as there might be a complete change made to our Constitution,” she said. “I know people mean well, but I’m not willing to risk our Constitution. I’m not sure that people who have the best interests of our freedoms at heart will be those who are appointed to be a delegate to a convention like this.”

Boyle is not alone in her opposition.

Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, told IdahoReporter.com that “there is just no way to control the outcome of a convention. It’s difficult to see that we have sufficient numbers of principled people who would want to preserve our Constitution in the midst of a process like this.”

As a precursor to a convention for proposing amendments, Wisconsin state Rep. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, has undertaken the task of organizing the meeting of state legislators from across the nation for this weekend. “On Dec. 7, we’ll be gathering at Mount Vernon, the home of President George Washington,” he explained, adding his intent for the gathering is to “start a movement of the states that would give voters hope that the government still gets its power from them, and not the other way around.”

John Runft, a private practice attorney in Boise who has actively supported a convention to propose amendments, is pleased about the Mount Vernon gathering. “It’s a good beginning, but they’ve got a long way to go to do it right.” Runft believes that concerns of a “runaway convention” are unfounded, and laments that such concerns have thwarted Idaho’s efforts in the past to engage such a movement.

“Our Legislature had the bills ready to go three years ago, but the far right defeated it,” said Runft. “It’s a shame that our Founding Fathers provided the means to amend our U.S. Constitution, yet some in Idaho and across the country are afraid to utilize those very mechanisms provided by the founders for reigning-in the excesses of the national government.”

Some legislators in Idaho and elsewhere attribute “The Liberty Amendments,” a book from author and constitutional scholar Mark Levin, as providing inspiration for a convention.

Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, told IdahoReporter.com that “people seem to be motivated by the book, but I get plenty of messages in all directions on this issue. Some that favor, and others that oppose the idea of amending the U.S. Constitution.”

Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, will attend at Saturday’s Mount Vernon gathering. Hagedorn is focused on excessive government spending in Washington and desires an amendment to require the federal government to balance its budget.

Like McKenzie, Hagedorn says that he’ll also be introducing proposals for a convention in the 2014 legislative session. “I’ve got the bills drafted and ready to go,” he told IdahoReporter.com.

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  1. Needs to be done. Read Mark Levin’s newest book — excellant!

  2. Godspeed and God Bless each and every one of them.

  3. The time is now.
    Emergency constitutional

    It is not to replace our constitution but to back up our original constitution and to add amendment to include abolishment of the federal government per our Declaration of Independence so that we can restore the original intent of our founding fathers. The time us now. We the people have this authority. Demand our states immediately call for a constitutional convention. With reps from each state. I would even go to oversee what they are doing I think many Americans would go. The time has come now.

    Constitutional convention now. With amendment to evict and abolish the current administration for high crimes and treason. Along with congress and the Supreme Court and abolishment of all federal agencies. It is time to start over in this country and get back to basics. Jobs, businesses and the free enterprise system. This federal government is unconstitutional and out of control. And many leaders such as Harry Reid and nancy pelosi and a long list of others should stand trial for high crimes and treason. We’ve had enough.

    Abolish and shut down dc. Send all federal employees home except military to protect our borders and let’s start over. No more big daddy. We’ve had enough of this corrupt illegal mess in DC. End it now states. End it now.

    Once we clean house and set up new government in a new state. There would be another convention to establish term limits, and limit all 3 branches. I would suggest that there be no IRS, no EPA, etc. let the states and their people handle their own issues. We the people would enact a flat tax. Federal government will not be allowed to be involved in healthcare, education or welfare and immigration laws will be controlled by state governors. And suggest a 10 year moratorium on immigration. I would also suggest that states have some form of consumer protection group to stop the price fixing and criminal fraud being exerted by many big corporations in the American public such as excessive bank fees, has pricing, etc. we can do a better job of policing in our own states. Court and abolishment of all federal agencies. It is time to start over in this country and get back to basics. Jobs, businesses and the free enterprise system. This federal government is unconstitutional and out of control.

    We can choose temporary leaders, but we should never allow the massive federal government they we have again. Congress should have never been involved in healthcare, education or welfare. Not their jobs. And it was meant to be a part time job, not a career. We should enact term limits. And no big staff. And we need to exile the United Nations. They have no authority here period. It is over. We would hold elections for office and there would be no pensions, excessive benefits, nothing. The job of government is strictly a servants job, not dictators, not masters of we the people. If you want to get rich go work in private sector. We can never allow the federal government to grow to excess ever again. All we need us military to protect our borders. We need to rebuild our nation now and quit funding other radical nations. It is time to clean house. And no electoral college. Time for one vote per legal American citizen. At this point I would think that we should have a group of men and women as president until we vote in a new leader if the greatest nation to ever exist. I think we have many who would step up to the plate and help restore our nation. Alan west, Romney, dr Carson, tex Cruz, mike lee. We need real Americans.

  4. I understand their concerns a out a runaway convention. When the founders met on the articles of confederation they walked out with a whole new constitution. However, if the states don’t reign in the federal government nobody will. George Mason gave it to us. Not the population of another era, but we the people here and now. He had the foresight even back then to see what is happening today with the voracious appetite of the federal government. It is now up to the people to push back, be heard and hold their state senators to the patriotic task of saving a once constitutional nation. The minds that caused the problem will not be the minds to solve it.

  5. There is already a run away President, Senate and bureaucracy destroying the Constitution. If the Convention delegates are limited in authority there can never be a run away COS. It takes ⅔rds to call for the convention or 34 states and 37 to approve any Amendment. Fears of a run away are unfounded.

  6. The worry about a runaway convention is unfounded for a few reasons
    1) how can any proposed amendments take us in a worse direction than we’re currently headed under obama? We are already in a post constitutional society
    2) any amendment proposed would still have to be ratified by 38 states. Any absurd amendments would undoubtedly be blocked by 13 red states
    3) the fed govt will not fix itself. There is only the states left to save themselves
    4) if nothing is done, nothing will change

  7. To All: go for it! Some how, some way we have to stop this radical president and his minions.

  8. I would say to Ms. Boyle .. why are you worried about risking our Constitution? It has already been subverted for the most part. This movement is necessary to bring it back under control.

  9. Individuals pushing the idea the a convention could turn into a run away convention are either ignorant of the process or have I’ll intentions.

    The convention currently being pursued will have to propose amendments with the express purpose of limiting the power and breadth of the federal government.

    Second, the delegates will be bound by law. Various states have already written any vote or action outside the intent of the state legislature will be subject to a felony.

    Third, even if a number of delegates decide on an amendment that fits into the “runaway convention” category it still must be passed by 3/4 of the state legislatures. So, let’s say for example that an amendment is proposed to declare heath care a right. It first must meet the strict guidelines of the convention I. E. to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. Second, it would have to receive the the proper amount of votes via the state delegations to be pushed to the state legislatures for ratification. Then 3/4 of state legislatures would have to pass the amendment.

    In other words a runaway convention is highly improbable. The alternate not. The federal government will continue to rewrite the Constitution or ignore it out right with its myriad of agencies, bureaucracies, and departments. It will continue to spend this nation into fiscal collapse. And with all that being said there are still some “conservative” state legislatures that do not support the process. Unbelievable.

  10. Judy Boyle and Monty Pearce need to read Levin’s book. Perhaps then they will find the courage to take this needed step in reining in the runaway power of the leviathan that is our out of control Federal Government. Mrs. Boyle, Mr. Pearce, please read The Liberty Amendments, by Mark Levin.

  11. I’m not sure that the risk of a “runaway convention” presents a worse hazard than the reality of a runaway federal government.

  12. The BUDGET MUST be balance and Gov’t SPENDING reduced. The current Constitution MUST BE ENFORCED-in Real Time. Balance of power needs to move from centralized federal govt to state govt. voting of a ‘minimum of 60% for’ would ensure that more people are FOR an item proposed ; hopefully uniting people rather than dividing them. God our Creator is available for consultation.

  13. Mark Levin needs to be asked to speak to these assemblies and assauge thier fears about runaway conventions to those who obviously don’t understand the process, and haven’t read the book, or the Constitution.

  14. What those opposed can’t seem to grasp is that there are several steps along the way. Several hurdles to overcome before anything proposed at a convention, including a complete rewrite can become the law of the land.

    1) Amendments have to be debated and agreed upon.
    2) They then have to pass a vote of 2/3rds of the delegates
    3) Ratification requires 3/4 of the states to become an amendment.

    These are very large hurdles and to argue the entire constitution could be rewritten and passed is specious at best. Nowhere is there any evidence that more then 75% of the people support a socialist state but one can find poll after poll where 70%+ think the federal government is too big, spends too much money, takes too much power, strangles our liberty and plunders too much of our property/money. Anyone opposing an Article V convention must like the power game the way it is and is only interested in serving themselves not the American people.

  15. First, it’s not a Constitutional Convention. It’s a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. Second, it is to PROPOSE amendments. It would be hard to have any kind of runaway when 38 states have to agree to approve the proposed amendment after it comes out of the convention. Third, the state legislatures can be pretty specific in what their delegates can do while they are there. If they don’t follow orders, they can be pulled back and in some cases charged with a felony. You can find more at the Convention of States website. Right now, we have a runaway Congress and a despotic chief executive.

  16. There have been 746 applications by 40 of the States calling for an Article V Convention. Just prior to this legislative session a member of my group, Dan Marks, together with Bill Walker of Friends of the Article V Convention FOAVC.org, submitted a document to both Houses of Congress calling for a tabulation of the applications and presenting the legal and Constitutional arguments for why the conditions of Article V have already been satisfied. That document was researched and validated by the Parliamentarians of both Houses and entered into Congressional record. The issue is now before the Judiciary Committees of both Houses. The simple meaning of all this is that Congress in now, at this moment, under obligation per Article V of the Constitution, to tabulate the States applications and issue the Call to Convention.

    There is no such possibility for a ‘runaway convention’ and those that suggest this are either misinformed or disingenuous. The simple logic of the Constitutional process for ratification negates the notion of a ‘runaway convention’. The Convention has no authority or capability to actually amend the Constitution.. that can only be done by ratification by 38 States. The purpose of the Convention is to debate amendment proposals and to promote those by simple majority vote to the States for ratification. Therefore there is no such thing possible as a ‘runaway convention’. What’s more, at present the State legislatures are divided in their control between Republicans and democrats with 24 controlled by Republicans, 19 by Democrats and the rest are split. The requirement for 38 States to ratify any amendment means that only those with broad consensus will achieve ratification. Therefore, neither party has any advantage in promoting a partisan agenda by amendment.

    It is our opinion that Congress will not act on the compulsion to tabulate the votes and issue the call to Convention. The simple act of issuing the Call to Convention would mean a paradigm shift in the nature of our Government with the People being made aware that they have such power to reform the Federal Government. The debate has been raging for years over the issue because the applications have been coming in from the States for over 100 years. The Federal Government and those who are in control of Congress do not want to acknowledge the power of The People.

    If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further you may call me at 703-638-4724.

    Thank you,
    Michael Hutton

  17. “I have never been in favor of this,” said Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale. “I am too fearful that it would be a runaway convention. People have tried to assure me that it won’t happen, but they haven’t convinced me.” For goodness sake, Judy, do some homework before making such a foolish comment! Read Levin’s The Liberty Amendments for a start, then reconsider your position.

  18. Boyle and Pierce clearly have not done their homework. They owe it to their constituents to do so.

    Newsflash! That constitution that they claim to be worried about protecting is already in shreds. Article V holds the answer to restoring liberty.

    For excellent history and background, I would suggest “The Liberty Amendments, Restoring the American Republic” by Mark Levin.

  19. It is very clear that Pierce and Boyle are conservative but constitutionally illiterate. They claim they fear that the constitution would be “changed”, but clearly are ignorant of the fact that it has already been ripped apart and that Article V gives “we the people” the way to restore it without having an armed revolution.

  20. The problem is that Article Five of the Constitution does not establish any procedures for such a convention. This was the reason James Madison opposed the convention method at the original 1787 constitutional convention. The solution is to amend Article Five itself to allow the States to initiate and enact constitutional amendments without having to go through the untried, uncertain and archaic mechanism of a convention. See http://www.amendmentamendment.com

  21. Since learning about The Liberty Amendments from Levin I now have hope that we may be able to save our Constitution and America. I see no reason for anyone to fear a Convention, only hope for those Amendments that can take back the powers stolen by the Feds.

  22. Congratulations on your December 4 Idaho Reporter story, “Amending U.S. Constitution has the attention of some in Idaho” gaining national attention for 4 minutes on the Mark Levin radio show. The audio remarks (12/5 – 51 min. to 55 min.) of your story can been download from Mark’s website.
    Thank you Rep. Curt McKenzie and Marv Hagedorn for supporting this important effort. Would appreciate the Idaho Reporter follow up story on outcome of Mr. Hagedorn attendance to Dec. 7 Mt. Vernon Assembly.
    As for the so called runaway convention fears expressed by Rep Judy Boyle and Monty Pearce: Time to wake up to the fact we are already living in a post constitutional environment with a runaway congress, supreme court, executive branch and federal government. A Convention of States is likely our last best hope to restore our constitutional republic.

    Sincerely, George Solverson
    Boise, ID

  23. Please lead the way Idaho! America is hemorrhaging and needs you now.

  24. Rather than amendment the Constitution, let’s all get Congress to obey the Constitution as it is. The Constitution isn’t our problem, a Congress and president that don’t comply with our Constitution is the problem. That stems from an electorate that is largely ignorant of the Constitution and what therefore is Constitutional or unconstitutional. This Article V convention is the wrong remedy to our problems.

  25. I don’t understand Rep. Boyle’s and Pearce’s objections to a convention. They mention “change to the constitution” and “preserve the constitution.” Don’t they realize that the constitution is now basically “worthless” under the current regime in Washington. The states HAVE to do something. The POTUS has total power. Only the states can control the Federal government’s usurpation and expansion of power. I support a balanced budget amendment. Almost 17 trillion dollar debt is absurd.

  26. In my opinion, the 2nd Amendment is the strongest impediment to gov’t power. My biggest fear is that a Con-Con might weaken the 2nd Amendment. If it did, It could start armed rebellion in the USA. The Revolutionary War was started when the British tried gun control.

  27. I support Article V of the Constitution and think that Idaho should join the other states that have Joined. Obama is dangerously using his office to expand his powers by by-passing Congress and taking away states powers. He said he had a phone and a pen and he is using them Fast and Furiously. Isn’t this against the law and a reason for impeachment? It’s a runaway administration we have today and it’s time to stop them now.

  28. McKenzie represents Nampa, not Boise.

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