For Immediate Release
Sept. 8, 2016
House Majority Communications Coordinator
Utah House of Representatives
Rep. Merrill F. Nelson Selected to Attend Historic Event in Colonial Williamsburg
Simulated Article V Convention Process
SALT LAKE CITY – Citizens for Self-Governance, selected Rep. Merrill F. Nelson to represent Utah at the historic Convention of States (COS) in Colonial Williamsburg on September 22-23. This first-ever simulated Convention of States will serve as the unveiling of the proposed process that would add constitutional amendments. Participants will craft, debate and consider amendment proposals to the U.S. Constitution limiting federal power and restore the proper balance of federalism during this two-day mock convention.
Previously, the Assembly of State Legislatures, comprised of currently serving state lawmakers of both political parties from across the country, have been working to establish the rules of procedure needed to hold a state-led convention should one be called by the states in the future. Last November, over 80 legislators, representing 29 states met in House Chambers at the Utah State Capitol to continue working on establishing rules and guidelines.
Rep. Nelson is enthusiastic about attending the Williamsburg event.
“As a state legislator, one of the most persistent problems I see is over-reach by the federal government encroaching into matters within state sovereignty. For example, forced closure of our power plants, regulation of our ground water, imposing endangered species protections, restricting the use of public lands, mandatory school testing and access to opposite-gender restrooms and locker rooms,” said Rep. Nelson. “Federal court decisions have usurped state authority over marriage and family law, health care and employment.”
“The federal government has expanded its authority far beyond its delegated powers in the Constitution and has imposed a $19 trillion debt on our children and grandchildren. We have talked for years about ‘pushing back against the federal government,’ and now it’s time to actually do something meaningful,” said Rep. Nelson. “Our Founders provided a remedy in Article V of the Constitution, foreseeing the day when states would have to rein in the federal government. Now is the time to use that remedy—we have no other choice if we are to preserve our ‘government by the people.’”
Article V gives states the power to call a Convention of States, a meeting of representatives from state legislatures, to propose amendments to the Constitution, which can be used to stop misuses of federal power. The states then debate and vote on the suggested amendments. All 50 states review any amendment that makes it out of a convention, for ratification three-fourths need to support it. However, in the history of the country, an Article V convention has never been held.