After only a brief debate, the Texas House finally voted to pass a resolution calling for an Article V Convention of States to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution to rein in the federal government.
After the vote, Texas became the eleventh of 34 states needed to call the convention.
Calling an Article V Convention has been a primary issue for grassroots Texans for a number of years and was made a legislative priority of the Republican Party of Texas last year. Efforts to pass such a measure this session centered on Senate Joint Resolution 2 by State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R–Granbury) which passed the Texas Senate in February.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who had named the issue an “emergency item” for the Texas Legislature to pass this session hailed the Texas House’s approval of the resolution as a victory for limited government.
“Today marks an important step toward restraining a runaway federal government and returning power back to the states and their respective citizens as our Founders intended,” said Abbott in a statement. “The Texas Legislature has heard and responded to the voices of those they represent, and I applaud the efforts of the Texas House to pass this important resolution.”
“A call for a Convention of States reinforces Texas’ status as a champion of limited government and limited freedom,” he added.
Under the terms of SJR 2, the Texas call would be limited to the “purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the Constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress.”
Though a resolution calling for an Article V Convention passed the Texas House last year, it was killed in the Texas Senate by a group of lawmakers including State Sen. Craig Estes (R–Wichita Falls). This session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named the measure a priority of his, as well, and ensured that it moved quickly through the process.
Once arriving in the Texas House, State Rep. Larry Gonzales (R–Round Rock) and other lawmakers inserted a potentially poisonous provision into the bill which could have endangered its chance of passing, but lawmakers stripped Gonzales’ amendment on the House floor before voting to approve the resolution.
Conservative activists should view the House’s vote as a major victory, but that doesn’t mean they should rest on their laurels.
The grassroots army that engaged lawmakers and forced them to pass Convention of States legislation should continue to fight for liberty and limited government. With their help, citizens can hold their elected officials accountable in order to ensure the Lone Star of Texas shines brighter than ever before.