This is the scariest article that I’ve read in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2014: Wisconsin lawmaker, right-to-work champion leads push on U.S. Constitution
State Representative Chris Kapenga (R – Delafield) was elected the co-president of the Assembly of State Legislatures. Rep. Kapenga helped found this organization in 2013 and they are working toward holding a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. Rep. Kapenga and his cohort are looking to use the second method outlined in the constitution for proposing amendments…a method that has never been used. Here are some details on the how of amending the U.S. Constitution:
The United States Constitution is unusually difficult to amend. As spelled out in Article V, the Constitution can be amended in one of two ways. First, amendment can take place by a vote of two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate followed by a ratification of three-fourths of the various state legislatures (ratification by thirty-eight states would be required to ratify an amendment today). This first method of amendment is the only one used to date. Second, the Constitution might be amended by a Convention called for this purpose by two-thirds of the state legislatures, if the Convention’s proposed amendments are later ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures.
Now Rep. Kapenga realizes that this is a daunting effort:
“The states have never done it before,” Kapenga said.
Kapenga said the challenges are the reason his group is first seeking to set the basic rules and procedures for holding an eventual convention.
Kapenga said past efforts to hold conventions have been hampered in part because there are no rules governing how the conventions would be conducted.
Now Rep. Kapenga’s main motivation, or so he says, is to propose a balanced budget amendment on the federal government similar in form to what currently exists in Wisconsin:
With his amendment push, Kapenga’s long-term goal is to change the U.S. Constitution to require the federal budget to be balanced, as the state budget is.
But even with ‘rules governing how the convention would be conducted’, there is nothing to prevent such a convention from being high jacked by other groups or ideas…and that’s why other state legislators are nervous about such a proposal:
(The difficulty in amending the Constitution is a good thing) say Democrats such as state Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire, who see a constitutional convention as a potentially hazardous and unpredictable exercise for Americans’ rights and way of life. Wachs said such a convention could be hijacked by special interests.
“It’s as dangerous a thought as a person can possibly have,” Wachs said. “We’ve got enough challenges to democracy as I see it.”
But given Rep. Kapenga’s current pet project, the misnamed Right To Work legislation, I would be totally foolish to think it wouldn’t be a top amendment candidate if a convention was actually called into session. Don’t try to tell me, NO WAY, when just two months ago RTW was no where on any agenda of anyone running for the state legislature but now is the hottest ticket in the chambers.