With the governor making it central to his 2017 legislative priorities, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he made it clear he supports the national movement of state legislatures to limit the power of the federal government.
Gov. Greg Abbott has made the Convention of States a cornerstone of his 2017 legislative agenda. Activists say there are more than 90,000 supporters of the effort in Texas alone.
Backed nationally by luminaries ranging from Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and Tom Coburn, the “Convention of States” effort would restrict the power of the federal government by states proposing the amendments rather than waiting for Congress to reform itself. The power for the states to amend the Constitution is found in Article V of the founding document, and was explicitly adopted by the framers as a way to circumvent a recalcitrant congress.
According to Article V of the Constitution, an amending convention can be called by two-thirds of the states. Whatever amendments they propose must still be then ratified by three-fourths of the states.
This summer at the Republican Party of Texas’ biennial convention, platform language was added supporting the Article V effort. “We urge the Texas State Legislators to take the lead in calling for an Article V Amending Convention of States, for the specific purpose of reigning in the power of the federal government.”
The state GOP also put the adoption of an Article V Convention of States in the party’s “top five” issues for the legislative session.
In 2015, the Texas House voted for legislation on the last day in which bills could advance from that chamber to the Senate. The measure failed to pass out of the Senate.
Late last week, Texas directors for the Convention of States Project sent an email to their Lone Star State noting the importance of moving the issue through the state senate in 2017.
“We have unfinished business in the Senate. Lt. Gov. Patrick’s support and leadership will be instrumental for our efforts in the coming 85th legislative session,” wrote Paul Hodson and Tamara Colbert. “Article V is the original anti-establishment choice for saving America. A single candidate cannot save America. Only we the people can save the nation—and we have the constitutional authority to do so.”
The email called on Convention of States Project supporters to contact Patrick’s office and urge support.
The lieutenant governor said this week that he has long supported Texas adopting a call for an Article V convention of states to limit the power of the federal government. He noted that his staff has repeatedly expressed his support of the movement, including as recently as last month in a meeting with the Texas grassroots leadership.
The Convention of States movement has come of age in Texas, with the conservative political and legislative leadership committed to passing the legislative call in 2017.