Idaho state senator continues quest to amend U.S. Constitution

Kenzie
[post_thumbnail]Sen. McKenzie, R-Boise, would like to see a balanced budget amendment added to the U.S. Constitution.

Idaho may soon move a step closer to participating in a national effort to amend the U.S. Constitution.

“Exactly one year ago today (Tuesday) when I was working on this, the national debt was $16.4 trillion,” said Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Boise. “Today, a year later it’s $17.3 trillion. The feds have been busy, and not in a good way.”

McKenzie is trying again during this year’s legislative session to formalize Idaho’s involvement in a national effort to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. His goal is to engage the Gem State in what is sometimes referred to as a constitutional convention, but is more technically and officially known as a “convention for proposing amendments.”

During the last three legislative sessions, he has proposed bills regarding both the subject matter for a convention and, procedurally, how Idaho would select delegates for a convention.

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.”

Some state legislators in Idaho and elsewhere attribute “The Liberty Amendments,” a best-selling book from author, attorney, constitutional scholar and talk show host Mark Levin as providing inspiration for a convention.

McKenzie, also an attorney, said he keeps a copy of Levin’s book on his desk in his Senate office.

Despite the enthusiasm many have for McKenzie’s efforts, others remain skeptical.

“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 legislative effort last year was entitled the No Runaway Convention Act (which can be viewed HERE).

Despite this, Boyle remains unconvinced. “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.

“There is just no way to control the outcome of a convention,” Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, told IdahoReporter.com. “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.”

John Runft, a private practice attorney in Boise and an outspoken advocate for a convention, is pleased with McKenzie’s efforts. “Our Legislature had the bills for this ready to go three years ago, but the far right defeated it. 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.”

McKenzie is in the process of presenting his legislation to the Senate State Affairs Committee. The committee has already agreed to print what is known as a “memorial,” an official request from the state of Idaho to be sent to the U.S. Congress asking the Congress to actually keep track of all state requests for a convention. A memorial must be passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, just like a piece of legislation.

Comments

comments

24 Comments

  1. Hawk

    I agree with Judy Boyle and Monty Pearce. A Constitutional Convention of any flavor would present opportunities for the large number of unprincipled and un Godly advocates in our country to cause irreparable damage which was also a fear of the Founders.

  2. Timothy Bair

    As a precondition to any convention it should preclude any current or former politician or officer of any corporation or activist group from participation as special interests would prevail in usurping the purpose and intent

  3. Mr. Bear

    I say we go for it. Do we have enough principled people for something like this? Do we have people willing to do the right thing, force a fix to our spending problem, reinforce the role of the States, to preserve the dying rights of an apathetic people?

    I’d like to think so, but I say we call the convention and just go for it. Either we DO have the cajones to do the right thing, or we don’t and we just bottom out sooner rather than later.

    Either way… Let’s get this over with!

  4. Lgbpop

    I am far more wooried about our current runaway federal government than I ever could be by a runaway convention.

  5. James R. Tokarski

    Folks, you need to do your homework on the Article V, Convention of States: not a Constitutional Convention. There are great people out there that have studied the Article V idea and feel it is the way to go in our current political stated. A Constitutional Convention is a totally different concept than the Convention of States. We are not trying to change the Constitution, we are attempting the amend the Constitution through the amendment process, which will cut the Congress out of the process making it a grassroots movement, as is the Tea Party movement. Article V allows for this. All the others fears are completely unfounded and fear driven. A runaway convention, using the Article V idea, will not happen, so get beyond this fear and get bold, move forward and lets put some rear fear in those who currently are destroying our country and our great governing document, the U.S. Constitution. Jim.

  6. chuckles cordes

    It could never be a runaway convention . U would need 3/4 of the states 2 ratify 1st . So only amendments that could pass would need at least 38 states 2 ratify them . Term limits and balanced budgets r what we need . Thought about the idea of the people being able 2 impeach . That would take considerable thought about.

  7. Mark A. Edgar

    When rep. Judy Boyle and others of her mindset express fear of a runaway convention or assume there are not enough purist to maintain the constitution I question their reasoning. If these fears are aimed at Conserving our Constitution I ask, how is it being conserved and protected now. Almost weekly we watch abuse in not outright dismantling of the Constitution and selective use of the law. We are already in peril due overreach of government. When will our representatives get some courage, read the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and begin to regard their oath with serious action? I am a lifetime resident of Idaho and can not believe that we are unable to get behind this effort. We should all read Mark Levin’s book “The Liberty Amendments,”. At least he has put a manner of dealing with a runaway government before us for a course of action. I do not see where the congress has accomplished the same.

  8. JohnM

    Y’all need to read , “The Liberty Amendments” by Mark Levin. He has several VERY good suggestions for the specific amendments to help our country be saved from the current Legislative, Judicial and Administrative branches. There’s NOT MUCH TIME! Let’s get started!

  9. corey ficklin

    the people have every right to speak and be heard. especially at the state level where the concentration of power should exist in the first place. Where the power was initially invested. you already have a runaway government. we need a convention.

  10. Morris Devereaux

    I cautiously agree that an Amendments Convention could be held and restricted to the approved, proposed amendments. However, once it’s done and shown to be successful, there is absolutely no reason that the left couldn’t do the exact same thing, overturn whatever this convention passes and the pass the communist manifesto as the law of the land.

  11. George Roth

    I understand the concern that Rep. Boyle and Pierce have, however, it would seem with the Federal Government ignoring the will of the people, I believe that we have no other choice than to proceed with an Amendment Convention. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear of the Feds taking more power from the states. Admittedly, there are those that would love to see the 2nd amendment altered or removed. Since it would have to then be ratified by 38 states as I understand it, I seriously doubt that passage of such a change would ever happen. It is our duty to do all that we can to limit the Federal Governments ability to interfere in every aspect of our daily lives. It is our duty to our children and grandchildren, to do all in our power to return this nation to the principles that the founders intended.

  12. Bill Walker

    It is a convention for proposing amendments, not a convention of the states. The source that should be read is http://www.foavc.org. There you will find the states already have submitted enough applications and you can read them, all 746 from 49 states. Convention of the states has many things wrong but the idea of holding a convention is not one of them.

  13. Steve Disbrow

    So, let me get this straight… Allow Washington (which ONLY works for their own benefit) to suggest Constitutional Amendments, because they have your best interest in mind? The time has come for the State’s to take back their authority from a lawless Central Govt. I would much more trust a Legislator from Idaho than the VERMIN that take up residence in Washington DC any day of the week. Again, these people (Washington) is ONLY interested in helping themselves, not you. Sad but true.

  14. Hawk

    Much thanks to Aubrey B Self and the link to conventionofstates.com for an excellent lesson. I support a COS!

  15. Tony Sorenson

    Senator McKenzie I support your effort to amend the U.S. Constitution. We have issue after issue before us; from A to Z. They are all important but they are smoke and mirrors in the over all scheme of things. The U.S. Constitution is like the Ten Commandments. If we live them we don’t need to fret about all of the issues because they won’t exist. Unfortionatly, the U.S. Constitution needs to be strengthened to protect it and us. I have read The Liberty Ammendments (it sits on my desk also) and enthusiastically believe Mark R. Levin has the answers! My wife and I support your efforts to move forward on a state level! We thank you for stepping forward! We need more patriots like you!

  16. Gary Wiedemann

    Whatever happens at the convention, any amendment would still have to be ratified by three fourths of the states. Idaho would have as much clout as California or New York. The RINOs in Congress have shown us that simply voting Republican doesn’t cut it. Now we need to try something else. This could work.

  17. Steven

    Ths BBA would be a waste of TIME and MONEY. It would do NOTHING to reduce the deficit. Just by its very name it could NOT reduce it.

    I would not trust anyone in this current political environment to work on this anyway. Regardless how safe the PUNDITS say this process is, look what we got from odumbocare!!!!

  18. W. Rusty Barlow

    BBA is a bad idea. The Constitution is not broke. It is no need of repair or amendment. Congress at this very moment can balance the budget with a simple majority vote. Just remember, the enemies of freedom also know how to use the amending process to achieve their goals.
    Nothing beats an informed electorate.

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