Senate resolution calls for constitutional convention
by Jason Lowrey
Jan 26, 2014 | 3553 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Senate Resolution 736 moved out of the rules committee Friday in the Georgia Legislature, putting the state a step closer to calling for a constitutional convention.

The resolution has six sponsors: Majority Whip Cecil Staton (R-Macon) of the 18th District, Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer (R-Duluth) of the 48th District, Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone) of the 16th District, Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) of the 49th District, Judson Hill (R-Marietta) of the 32nd District and Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) of the 51st District.

Both state senators representing Bartow County, Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) and Bruce Thompson (R-White), are among the resolution’s co-signers.

When the rules committee took up the resolution Friday afternoon, Bartow County resident and Bartow County Tea Party founder Gail Englehardt spoke to the assembled senators. However, she said she spoke as a private citizen rather than as a representative of the Tea Party.

“I basically spoke on the fact that, number one, as a grass roots activist and as a citizen, that I was very concerned in that where the direction was going of our federal government and that everyone knows what the situation is with the economy and with the deficit, and that it’s just going on,” she said. “Our Founding Fathers gave us a mechanism to use, which is Article V, a convention of the states. When all three branches of government are not keeping the proper checks and balances on each other and they’re not following the constitution.”

The resolution calls for a constitutional convention to address issues such as the debt limit.

“Whereas, the founders of the Constitution of the United States empowered state legislators to be the guardians of liberty against abuses of power by the federal government,” the resolution reads, “Whereas, the federal government has created a crushing national debt through improper and imprudent spending; and whereas the federal government has invaded the legitimate roles of the state through the manipulative process of federal mandates, most of which are unfunded to a great extent; and whereas the federal government has ceased to live under a proper interpretation of the Constitution of the United States;

“And whereas, it is the solemn duty of the states to protect the liberty of our people, particularly for the generations to come, by proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States through a convention of the states under Article V of the United States Constitution to place clear restraints on these and related abuses of power.”

Under Article V, two-thirds of the states must apply for a convention. Once called, three-fourths of the states must ratify any proposed amendment to the Constitution.

Hufstetler said he believes the Georgia Legislature will pass SR 736. Thompson did not return calls seeking comment.

“I am confident it will pass the Georgia Senate and I believe it that it will also pass in the House when it gets over to them, and hopefully the governor will sign it as well. I think Georgia is going to be one of the 34 states that will sign on to this,” he said.

Englehardt and Hufstetler both noted there was a growing trend of states calling for a constitutional convention.

“It’s in a lot of legislatures right now, but I don’t think it made it completely through the process in any of the states,” Hufstetler said. “So Georgia could very well be the first.”