Senator Laura Ebke -- sponsor of the Convention of States application in Nebraska -- will be holding Article V town halls throughout Nebraska over the coming weeks. The following excerpt is from a press release her office sent out last week.
“It’s important to remember”, said Ebke, “that in order to even trigger the call for convention, 34 (2/3) of the states must make an application sufficiently similar to the one that we’re proposing. And if a convention is called, any proposed amendments would have to be ratified by at least 38 (3/4) of the states. The bar is high for making any amendments to our constitution—as I think it should be. But I believe that with a national debt well in excess of $18 trillion dollars, this is a conversation that we ought to have, to at least get people thinking about how we wish to be governed, and what kind of burden we’re willing to leave to future generations.”
Ebke began her series of town halls in July. She initially just went where she was invited by groups in some communities, but has since started seeking out places around the state. When she goes into another legislative district, she informs the senator of that district that she’ll be there, and invites that senator to come to a gathering of their own constituents. According to Senator Ebke:
“I’ve had the opportunity so far to visit with groups in Stanton, Norfolk and Papillion. In August and September, we’ve got plans to visit David City, O’Neill, North Platte, Ogallala, Alliance and Columbus, and new stops are being planned daily. Nebraskans can contact my office for details on visits to their area, or to arrange a town hall in their own community. [...] So far, the response has been very positive. I believe people want to address the usurpation of powers by our federal government, and an Article V convention is a way for them to do that.”
An Article V Convention application is not unheard of nationwide, or in Nebraska, even though no Article V Convention has (to date) received enough applications to be called. Ebke points out that there are some very good reasons for Nebraska to have this conversation—even though Nebraska’s application would only be 1 of the 34 needed for the convention to be called:
“Even though we can’t be sure that a convention will be held, I think it’s to Nebraska’s advantage to talk about this now. If 34 states make the decision to ask for a call, we want to have given this some thought so that we can have a meaningful place at the table.
Something that many people aren’t aware of—and I wasn’t aware of until I started doing a little bit of research—is that Nebraska has made several Article V applications in the last 50 years. There were 2 applications made in 1965—one dealing with an apportionment amendment, and the other proposing an amendment that would require states to allocate electoral votes based on some proportionality; and then there were two in the mid 70’s—one was a pro-life amendment proposal; the other was a balanced budget amendment proposal.
I look forward to traveling around the state in the coming months, talking with my fellow Nebraskans who are interested in learning more about an Article V convention, and seeing where this goes. [The Convention of States resolution] made it out of committee last year, and is on General File, so this is a great time for citizens to learn more, and pass their thoughts on to their own state senators.”