Heading Logo

Ohio lawmakers push for national constitutional convention

By MARC KOVAC Capital Bureau Chief Published: March 10, 2017 11:40 AM

COLUMBUS -- Lawmakers in the Ohio House and Senate are again pursuing companion resolutions calling for a national constitutional convention to address debt and other issues.

Reps. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) and Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) spoke about the measures this week during an event at the Statehouse and as part of testimony in separate legislative committees.

Hagan and Patmon offered a similar joint resolution last session, and Huffman was primary sponsor of a comparable House resolutions when he served in that chamber.

This session's HJR 2 and SJR 1 would formalize state lawmakers' call for Congress to hold a convention of states, as allowed under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

Such a gathering is needed, Hagan told the Ohio House's Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, to allow needed amendments to the nation's governing document.

[Article continues below]

"Federal laws now impede upon nearly every aspect of our lives," Hagan said. "Very personal aspects such as but not limited to: what kind of light bulbs we can buy, farming practices, school curriculum, school lunches and most recently and egregiously our individual freedoms and rights to choose our own health care and insurance policies."

She added, "The fact is, as a state legislature, we are our nation's last line of defense against an overreaching federal government. It's time for us to exercise our Article V power to more closely reflect the will of the people which we were sent to serve and represent."

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, two-thirds of state legislatures can adopt resolutions to force Congress to call a convention to consider amendments. Delegations would then meet to hash out amendments, which would require ratification by three-fourths of the country (38 states) to take effect.

"Really, a convention of the states is the only way to control the federal government," Huffman said. " Collectively, there's not the will or the incentive really [for Congress to act on its own] The states have to step up and execute on their constitutional prerogative to control the federal government."

Ohio adopted its Article V amendment several years ago, with wording that attempted to focus discussion on a balanced budget amendment. Gov. John Kasich supported the effort and traveled around the country, in advance of his unsuccessful bid for the presidency, urging other states to adopt similar resolutions.

[Article continues below]

HJR 2 and SJR 1 expand on the earlier resolution, allowing term limits for federal officials, including judges, as well as fiscal restraints to be discussed.

Republicans on the House's Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee voiced concerns about the possibility of a "runaway convention," with the resulting changes outside of the scope of what is proposed in the House and Senate resolutions.

Rep. John Becker, a Republican from the Cincinnati area, questioned whether the process would ultimately make a difference or if it would do more harm than good.

"Does amending the Constitution really matter, when it seems like the judiciary is what needs to be changed?" he asked, adding later, "Is there not a danger that we could wind up with a new Constitution with something other than three-quarters of the state to ratify? Are they going to wind up putting in here a right to free food, free housing, free health care, free abortions, free education, maybe change the Second Amendment, take it out or worse Anything can happen in this."

But Hagan said her resolution is written to ensure only the listed subjects are addressed, and she voiced a willingness to pursue additional legislation to ensure Ohio's delegates adhere to lawmakers' intentions.

"We should be scared, if we're going to be scared right now as we look into the current state of affairs of our nation's dialogue," she said. "The perversion has already occurred within our federal government, and the courts have been perverse in their interpretations and they themselves in over 30 accounts have stated that they are the only check upon themselves. So I think our only measure moving forward to ensure that our Constitution is interpreted as [intended] is to move forward with a convention of the states."

Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Contact him at mkovac@recordpub.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

Rate this article

Do you want to leave a comment?   Please Log In or Register to comment.

lahbluebonnet Mar 16, 2017 10:06 PM

Cheering on Ohio because our Founders meant for us to be "eternally vigilant" and to "keep our Republic." As the article said, they also gave us a tool for doing that...Article V of the Constitution which allows We the People to rein in big government by petitioning their state legislators to call a Convention of States to propose amendments that will then go through the typical ratification process with which we are all familiar. Learn more and sign the petition at www.conventionofstates.com

LifeLibHappy Mar 13, 2017 12:37 AM



-- “Has the most dedicated public servants who are in it for the right reasons:” (States +30%)

-- “Educating students and helping them achieve:” (States +28%) —“Offering quality workforce and job training programs:” (States +21%) -- “Spending my tax dollars efficiently and effectively:” (States +16%)

-- “Has the most positive impact on my quality of life:” (States +14%)

-- “Listening to, representing and being accountable to us, the voters:” (States +14%)

-- “Delivering welfare programs for those who need it, while curbing waste and abuse:” (States +10%)

-- “Improving our roads, highways, transit and infrastructure.” (States +9%

-- “Protecting the rights of workers, employees and small business owners:” (States +5%)

-- “Creating new solutions that are more innovative and more focused on the future. (States +4%)

Frank Luntz: Americans Trust Their Own States But Not Washington


We the People know that hope lies in the states. How can the states take back their power? Through a conventionofstates.com.


EHSRon Mar 11, 2017 12:49 PM

I do wish you would get your terminology straight. A Convention of the States for the purpose of amending the Constitution under Article V is not a Constitutional Convention. The former is a provided method under Article V for states to offer amendments. The latter is unconstitutional and goes well beyond the boundaries of the former.

Spider Mar 10, 2017 9:44 PM

At the request of our organization, Single Subject Amendment, H.J.Res. 25 wasintroduced, in the 115th Congress by Congressman Tom Marino,to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prohibit the use of riders by members of Congress. Forty-one state constitutions have a single subject provision,which prohibits bills that address more than one subjectfrom becoming law, but this provision, applicable to Congress, is missing in the U.S. Constitution.

H.J.Res. 25, at http://singlesubjectamendment.com/congressional-joint-resolution, will never pass, however, until Congress isforced to pass it. The only way to force Congress to pass it is to threaten an Article V Convention to propose this amendment. Through our efforts, theFlorida Legislature passed, CS/HM 261, which makes application to convene an Article V Conventionfor the limited purpose of proposing this amendment. Other states will soon follow.A copy of CS/HM 261 can be viewed at: http://singlesubjectamendment.com/florida-house-memorial-261.

A document on our website, at http://singlesubjectamendment.com/issues-regarding-an-article-v-convention-2,addresses the misrepresentations regarding the convening of an Article V Convention and alsodetailsthe urgent need to adda Single Subject Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This document is backed up with citations and links.

Whether Congress proposes this amendment or an Article V Convention proposes this amendment, to be adopted, it must be ratified by 38 states.