The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Steve Erdman
47th District 

Straight Talk From Steve: LR14

 

January 26, 2022 | View PDF

Ever since being elected to the State Legislature back in 2016, I have received more emails in support of an Article V convention of the states than on any other single issue by a long shot. The emails I receive in support of a convention of the states out-number those in opposition to it by a margin of about twenty to one. So, there is no question that voters in the Panhandle of Nebraska support LR 14, the resolution which calls for a convention of the states.

Once LR 14 passes in the Legislature, it would serve as Nebraska’s application for a convention of the states under Article V of the United States Constitution. Two-thirds of the states would have to pass similar legislation in order to successfully call for a convention of the states. A convention of the states would allow the fifty states to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. These amendment proposals would then have to be ratified by two-thirds of the states in order to successfully amend the United States Constitution.

Last year LR 14 was voted out of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee but failed to advance beyond the first round of debate on the floor of the Legislature by only two votes. By declaring LR 14 as his priority bill again for 2022, Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings, the introducer of the resolution, was able to bring the resolution back up to the floor for another round of debate and another vote. On January 10th the resolution advanced to Select File by a vote of 32-10; then, ten days later it advanced to Final Reading on a vote of 32-8. So, LR 14 will likely pass the final legislative hurdle sometime later this week.

Successful legislation is needed by 34 states in order to call for a convention of the states. Nebraska will likely become the 16th state to pass this kind of legislation. However, the remaining states would only get five years to pass their legislation before Nebraska’s expires. Sen. Wendy DeBoer of Omaha successfully amended LR 14 last week to include a proviso that the resolution expires on February 1, 2027. This means that LR 14 would only be good for the next five years.

LR 14 puts limits around what could be discussed at a convention of the states. Just like legislation passed by the other 15 states, LR 14 would limit amendment proposals to three topics. Amendment proposals would be limited to imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting the terms of office for officials and members of Congress. Any other topic would be ruled as out of bounds. This is important information to know because many opponents of LR 14 wrongfully believe that a convention of the states could stray away from these three topics. However, LR 14 was very carefully worded so as to avoid a runaway convention.

I believe a convention of the states is very much needed. Federal spending is out of control. According to the U.S. Debt Clock, our national debt is now nearing $30 trillion and this is a debt that our grandchildren and our great grandchildren will likely never pay off.

The federal government has grown too big. Whether we want to talk about federal vaccine mandates or critical race theory being taught in our public schools, there can be no question that the federal government has gained too much power over our states, over our local governments, and even over our individual lives.

Finally, we need term limits in our federal government. The disaster of a man who has become our nation’s 46th president shows why term limits are so important. Biden represented the State of Delaware in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009 without ever passing any kind of meaningful legislation, except for his 1994 “tough on crime” bill, which he later contradicted as president of the United States by directing the Department of Justice to focus their efforts on domestic terrorism, law enforcement, and parents who complain about the teaching of critical race theory. For these reasons and more, I believe an Article V convention of the states is needed in order to restore stability to our federal government.

 

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