For years Tea Partiers have been pushing for a Constitutional Convention (AKA Con-Con) for a balanced budget and more.
The Con-Con has passed the Arizona House of Representatives several times, but stalled in the Senate. This year there are four Con-Con bills on the agenda for the Federalism, Property Rights and Public Policy Committee on Tuesday, January 31.
HCR2010 (Townsend) declares that the Arizona Legislature wants a Constitutional Convention. (Concurrent resolution with the Senate.)
HCR2006 (Thorpe) includes a wish list of changes to the Constitution. (Concurrent resolution with the Senate.)
HCR2013 (Mesnard) calls for a Constitutional Convention for a federal balanced budget. (Concurrent resolution with the Senate.)
HB2226 (Mesnard) also calls for a Constitutional Convention for a federal balanced budget and includes details of the balanced budget. (House only bill.)
In previous years, the Con-Con bills were stopped at the door of the Senate by former Senate President Andy Biggs, who resigned the Legislature to run for Congress. Biggs is so opposed to the Con-Con that he wrote a book about it– The Con of the Con-Con.
Here’s an excerpt from Biggs’ book on the Con-Con:
“People ask me why I oppose altering the U.S. Constitution through a process initiated by the States. When time is short I respond with just a couple of questions. ‘Do you believe that the U.S. Constitution is the cause of the problems in America today?’ Most people say no. I then ask why they would tinker with something that isn’t the problem instead of addressing the real issue. Their approach is like overhauling an engine to fix a flat tire.’
The John Birch Society (JBS) is also against the Con-Con because they know the history of the first Con-Con in 1787, which went way beyond the original stated intent and rewrote the Ariticles of Confederation and gave us the current Constitution. From Wikipedia:
“The Constitutional Convention:31 (also known as the Philadelphia Convention,:31 the Federal Convention,:31 or the Grand Convention at Philadelphia) took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although the Convention was intended to revise the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset of many of its proponents, chief among them James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington to preside over the Convention. The result of the Convention was the creation of the United States Constitution, placing the Convention among the most significant events in the history of the United States.”
The John Birch Society knows that if the Con-Con is convened, the Progressives would come to the table with their changes– like a better definition of a “well-regulated militia”, an end to Citizens United (money is speech and corporations are people), elimination of the Electorial College, guaranteed right to vote, and more. JBS is not the only pro-gun group that is against the Con-Con. From the JBS website:
“Stop a Constitutional Convention
“Article V of the Constitution is clear about the two ways to pass amendments. Also clear is what happened in 1787 when the Constitution was written. The convention to amend the Articles of Confederation wrote an entirely new Constitution, which was outside of its scope. Ratification rules were rewritten in order to ensure passage. Are we confident that the Constitution would not be rewritten and ratification rules not thrown out? The John Birch Society stands opposed to calling for a convention, but supports amending the Constitution through Congress. However, the better solution is to obey the Constitution to rein in the federal government, not amend a document that is ignored.”
It’s not often that I agree with Biggs or the John Birch Society, but this is one issue where I do. As Biggs points out, the Constitution is not the source of our country’s problems. Our country is highly divided now. The last thing we need is an epic battle over the Constitution. After all, the Progressives also have a list.
It’s time for finding common ground and focusing on positive change.
If you have an opinion about these and other bills in the Arizona Legislature, please voice your opinion by sending an email or making a phone call to your Senators and Representatives. You can also comment on individual bills that are on a committee agenda through the Request to Speak System and track the process of bills through Bill Tracker.