by Lana Shadwick
A Texas House Joint Resolution passed Thursday would, if passed by the Texas State Senate, ask the U.S. Congress to call an Article 5 convention, which would propose Constitutional amendments to impose fiscal restraint on the federal government, reduce its powers and jurisdiction, and limit the terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress.
Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution requires Congress to call a convention to propose constitutional amendments if the legislatures of two-thirds of the states apply.
Amendments adopted at an Article 5 convention would require ratification by three-fourths of the state legislatures.
In 1977, the 65th Texas Legislature submitted HCR Number 31 to the federal government, asking Congress to prepare and submit to the several states an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a federal balanced budget. In the alternative, it asked Congress to call a Constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing a balanced-budget amendment.
The new application would serve as a continuing application, pursuant to Article 5, unless rescinded by a future legislature. The Texas request would stand until at least two-thirds of state legislatures applied for a convention that would impose restraint on the federal government’s spending and jurisdiction, as well as term limits for federal representatives and officials.
If the resolution also passes the Texas State Senate, the Texas Secretary of State will forward copies to the President, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, President of the U.S. Senate, and all members of the Texas delegation to Congress, as well as secretaries of state and presiding officers of other state legislatures.
A request to enter the resolution officially in the Congressional Record would also be made.
Texas House Joint Resolution 77 is authored by Representatives Rick Miller (R-Sugarland), Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston), John Zerwas (R-Richmond), Allen Fletcher (R-Houston), and Dan Huberty (R-Houston).
Rep. Rick Miller told Breitbart Texas, “Courage is a price for liberty. We must not be afraid to use what the Founders gave us in the Constitution in Article V to reign in the Federal Government and restore our Nation to greatness. This is the pathway for the states to exercise their sovereignty.”
Rep. Dwayne Bohac said, “Our Founding Fathers provided for an Article V Convention as a check on the federal government by the states. Let’s remember that it was the states that created the federal government, and they answer to us. It’s time for the states to stand up to runaway spending and limit the jurisdiction of the federal government, and Texas should lead the way.”
42 Texas State House Representatives are named as co-authors of the resolution. One of those co-authors, Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball), told Breitbart Texas, “H.J.R. 77 sends a loud, clear message to Washington, D.C., that out-of-control spending, and not respecting states’ rights will be coming to an end. In Texas, we are required to have a balanced budget – like every family must do – our Feds must do the same.”
Proponents believe that the resolution is a necessary action to impose restraint on a runaway federal government that is no longer responsive to the American people.
Opponents claim that an Article 5 convention has the potential to fundamentally rewrite the federal Constitution, since liberal states would participate in the convention.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is among those opposed to calling a constitutional convention at this time. “A constitutional convention is a horrible idea,” he said in an article published on Convention of the States. “This is not a good century to write a constitution.”
Twenty-two states have passed resolutions supporting a convention to pass a balanced budget amendment, according to the State Government Leadership Foundation. Thirty-four states is the magic number that would authorize the convention. The likelihood that Congress will act increases as more states apply for an Article 5 Convention.
The House Joint Resolution will now proceed to the Senate. If passed by the Senate, it will be sent to the Texas Secretary of State for appropriate action.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2