Straight Talk From Steve
April 28, 2021
LR 14 is Sen. Steve Halloran’s resolution calling for a convention of the states.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows for states to call for a constitutional convention whenever two-thirds of the state Legislatures file applications with Congress calling for a constitutional convention. LR 14 would serve as Nebraska’s application for a convention of the states. Currently 15 states have filed their applications with Congress, while 23 other states, including Nebraska, have legislation pending this year.
Since I came into the State Legislature five years ago I have received more emails in support of an Article V convention of the states from constituents living in the Panhandle of Nebraska than on any other issue. Hardly a day has passed when I have not heard from someone living in Legislative District 47 in support of this issue. I have received more than 1,000 emails in support of a convention of the states over the years. No other bill or resolution even comes close.
Conversely, the few emails I have received in opposition to an Article V convention of the states tend to come from activists living in other states, who send me prefabricated messages warning me about a runaway convention.
A runaway convention is not possible. The language of LR 14 specifically limits the kind of amendments which could be introduced at an Article V convention of the states. Only three topics could be addressed. The three issues which would come up for debate are fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting the terms of office for members of Congress. That’s it.
The federal government desperately needs to be fiscally restrained. The U.S. national debt as of last Friday stood at $28.2 trillion while the U.S. Gross Domestic Product stood at only $21.6 trillion. That’s a difference of $6.6 trillion! In order to pay this debt down, each contributing U.S. taxpayer would have to give the federal government $224,748 this year. This means that the United States of America is already effectively bankrupt.
When it comes to limiting the powers of the federal government, one needs to look no further than the events of last week. Last week we heard about how Congress wants to expand the U.S. Supreme Court to 13 justices, how Congress wants to end the filibuster in the U.S. Senate, and how Dr. Anthony Fauci believes the day may be coming someday when we can all stop wearing masks. The federal government has become too large and too intrusive.
Finally, limiting the number of terms that members of Congress could serve would help prevent the kind of corruption we so often see in Washington, D.C. By the time a member of Congress has become a career politician, he or she has made the transition from serving the people to doing the government’s bidding. Limiting terms of office would prevent anyone from ever becoming a corrupt career politician in Washington, D.C.
For these reasons I support an Article V convention of the states. This is the third time that Sen. Halloran has introduced this legislation. Each time Sen. Halloran has introduced one of these resolutions, I have co-signed it, supported it, and stood with him at his press conferences. I will continue to support legislation for a convention of the states for as long as I continue to serve in the Nebraska State Legislature.