FERGUSON: Constitutional convention gains support in Georgia

February 7, 2014 

Back in September of last year I wrote a column where I suggested that we need to have a federal constitutional convention to generate some new amendments to help reign in the power of our increasingly oppressive federal government. And since the career politicians who haunt Washington, D.C., are unlikely to ever get on board with anything that would end up limiting the perks and privileges they currently enjoy, I further suggested that for this to happen it would take a coalition of state governments joining together to call for such a convention.

At the time I wrote that I considered it to be one of those “it would be nice but realistically could never happen” kind of notions. The option for the states to call for a constitutional convention has always been part of our Constitution, but it has never come close to happening. Still, one should never say never.

So you can just imagine how surprised and delighted I was when I heard that Georgia state Sen. Cecil Staton of Macon had filed a resolution last Friday that would put Georgia on record as calling for a constitutional convention to consider amendments to reign in the federal government’s influence over the states and individual private citizens.

It seems that a number of states are at least discussing this issue right now, and I’m very proud that Georgia is one of them. If this effort does eventually bear fruit (and make no mistake, realistically it is still a longshot it will actually happen), the big question will be what amendments will be proposed, and what amendments would actually have a chance of being approved. Any proposed amendments would have to be approved by three-fourths of our states to become law, so they would need to have very broad appeal to people across the political spectrum to have a chance of passing.

I think the two possibilities at the top of most people’s list are a balanced budget amendment that would put an end to the currently unbounded deficit spending practices that have become a way of life in Washington and term limits for all federal representatives. I think those two would have a lot of popular support and would pass fairly easily.

In my column last year I also suggested that we come up with an amendment that makes it more explicitly clear that our military should not be sent into extended armed conflicts in foreign lands without an official declaration of war from the Congress. That one might be a little more controversial, but I stand behind the suggestion. I am not a fan of our country playing the role of world police and engaging in (largely unsuccessful) nation-building exercises. Another popular idea is some sort of tax reform amendment. I like that idea as well, and it seems like it would work well in concert with a balanced budget requirement.

Something that would implement a simple and straightforward method of taxation that reduces or eliminates the corrupting power of the Internal Revenue Service would be most welcome. As I said, I still consider this to be a longshot, but it will never happen unless someone makes the effort and I am most grateful to Sen. Staton and the senators who joined with him to co-sign the bill for putting Georgia in a prominent position in this movement.

I hope that the bill will pass both chambers in short order. If you have an opinion on this or any other issue facing our state government, I encourage you to call, write or email your representatives and let them know how you feel. You can identify and get contact information for your state representatives at the following website: http://votesmart.org/

Bill Ferguson is a resident of Centerville. Readers can write him at fergcolumn@hotmail.com or visit his blog at nscsense.blogspot.com.

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