Would you like to call a convention to rewrite the US Constitution?Not so fast, Senate Kansas says

The Topeka-Kansas Senate has rejected a resolution calling for a Constitutional Assembly to rewrite the country’s Supreme Law, at least for now.

However, the real purpose of the resolution was not to record the state in favor of a rewrite of the Constitution. It was to file a federal proceeding over how many votes would be needed in Congress to do so.

Senate discussed over 3 hours before finally voting to send 21-19 Senate Simultaneous Resolution 1611 Return to the Federal and State Affairs Commission where it came.

The state convention is an idea supported by a national conservative faction calling for a rewrite of the Constitution.

This issue split the majority of the usual monolithic Republicans that dominate the Kansas Senate on controversial issues.

Senate Democrats mainly opposed angry debates among the professed conservatives on the other side of the aisle.

Proponents want to impose additional restrictions on federal authorities, demand a balanced federal budget, and establish federal term limits. And they believe that the discussion can be limited to these three topics.

Opponents argue that such a rally could create its own rules and warn of potential “runaway competitions” with unexpected consequences.

No one knows how it works. The Constitutional Assembly has not been held since the first meeting in 1787, when the current Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation.

Proponents of the Kansas resolution revealed that they did not expect it to pass this year.

In fact, Kansas wasn’t even expected to go to the House of Representatives needed to apply for a formal convened convention.

The real intention was to create a means of challenging the constitutionality of Article 2, Article 13 of the Kansas Constitution.

In that section, a majority of two-thirds of both Houses require that they “apply to Congress to ratify a US Constitutional amendment or convene a treaty to propose a US Constitutional amendment.” ..

Prior to Wednesday’s debate, Senate Chairman Thai Masterson R-Andover said votes in favor of the resolution would fall between 21 required for a simple majority and 27 required for a two-thirds majority. He said it was likely.

He planned to declare that the resolution had been passed if he received 21 votes.

It would almost certainly have triggered a federal proceeding to challenge whether the legislature was bound by Kansas’ constitutional requirements for a two-thirds vote.

The hurdle was inserted into the State Constitution in 1974, with the Legislature amending voters and 68% agreeing, Senator R-Galena, who led the indictment against SCR1611, said in one or more speeches 30 minutes. ..

End Run around Congress

The question is, is the state amendment inconsistent with the federal constitution, or can both coexist?

Article 5 of the US Constitution allows the Constitutional Assembly to be convened at the request of two-thirds of the State Legislature. It is silent about what majority is needed in each state.

Proponents claim that the resolutions have been passed in 28 states, but it’s not clear if all of them count as official applications.

The state convention will end with a parliament that can approve constitutional amendments with two-thirds of the votes.

Like the proposed amendments proposed by Congress, the proposed changes resulting from state treaties must be approved by three-quarters of the states to take effect.

The resolution goes to the Kansas State Capitol State treaty, A Texas-based organization that has been pushing ideas for years.

Hildebrand said he agreed with grassroots supporters when he said, “The federal government is out of control, it’s a disaster.”

But he was critical of the Texas organization — calling him “a traitor to the United States and Kansas” for his opposition to their convention proposal.

Now he said, “We have violated our oath of office and are required to violate the Kansas Constitution.”

Supporters have been armed Legal opinion According to Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who wrote in 2019 that a simple majority would suffice.

He said demanding a Constitutional Assembly was “a federal power conferred on the Kansas Legislature by the Federal Constitution and cannot be constrained by the Kansas people through the text of the Constitution.”

Senator Mike Thompson, R-Shawnee, assembled it as a matter of legislative privilege. He lamented a constitutional amendment dating back to the Woodrow Wilson administration, which robbed the state of legislation.

He was the most severely critical of the Seventeenth Amendment, which established the direct and popular elections for the US Senator.

“Before 1913 … The state was capable of recalling our senators,” Thompson said. “There we appointed those senators, and if they didn’t like what they were doing, our members came to us and said,” Hey, this guy did a terrible job. Remember him, “he was able to say. At that time, the legislature was really in power. “

“We have lost state rights, and if we don’t recognize it, we’re blinder than we are,” he said.

The referral to the committee seemed to be one result no one expected.

Federal and state affairs are one of the few “blessed” committees. In other words, the committee can meet and process the legislation until the last day of the session.

But at the end of Wednesday, it wasn’t clear whether the Commission would try to revive the resolution during the decline of this session, or wait until next year to pick it up again.