Wake lawmaker proposes constitutional convention

Posted June 3, 2014

Rep. Jim Fulghum, R-Wake

— A bill filed in the state House would weigh the option of calling an unprecedented convention of the states to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Despite the bill’s drastic response to what sponsor Rep. Jim Fulghum, R-Wake, decried as a “dysfunctional” Congress and a crushing national debt, he said lawmakers are taking a cautious approach by calling for a study on the issue.

“There’s a good deal of interest in whether or not this is feasible,” Fulghum said. “We did not want to run a bill that directly committed one way or the other.”

He said the bill has gained support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are interested in exploring the option of a convention, which can be called by two-thirds of the states using a little-known provision in Article V of the Constitution.

“Studying this is a good idea, and I think that, once that’s done, we’ll have a report back to the session in 2015,” Fulghum said.

Several states have applied to call a constitutional convention at various points in the past, including Florida, Alaska, Georgia and Michigan, but some have since rescinded their requests. Even so, growing discontent between states and the federal government has resulted in the passage of a flurry of similar bills across the nation.

If Congress appoints a convention, any proposed amendments must gain the approval of three-fourths of the states, which Fulghum called “a pretty big hurdle.”

Still, he said, the federal government’s high-stakes gridlock and ingrained partisanship make the convention an option worth considering.

“The danger for our economy is just so profoundly great,” he said. “The best way to do it is to have Congress get together and do their job. Obviously, that’s not happening.”

Excessive federal spending and congressional term limits are issues that could eventually spur constitutional change, he said.

“I think people need to educate themselves about the necessity of being a good citizen,” he said. “It’s your responsibility as a citizen to try and figure out how to change things for the better.”


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  • Bubba Jim Jun 9, 2014
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    Article 5 of the Constitution, which says constitutional amendments may be proposed in two ways—either by two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress or by a convention called by two-thirds of the state legislatures. Whichever way an amendment is proposed, however, it cannot become part of the Constitution unless it is ratified by three-quarters of the states. You cant just start changing stuff on the fly!!

  • Viewer Jun 4, 2014

    Be careful what you ask for. This would just be the opportunity to adjust the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th amendments etc as currently written to be more in line with a more authoritarian form of federal government. I'll pass on this idea.

  • juliomercado Jun 4, 2014

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    Yes, many of us do WANT exactly that. We have a Chief Executive that has been in office 6 years and has yet to sign a REAL budget. We have an administration that warned the end of the world if we didn't increase the debt which caused a not so massive shut down. We have an administration that has opened the borders to millions of illegal invaders and did so without congress. We have an administration that just this week exchanged 5 known terrorists that are bent on the destruction of our nation for a deserter. We have a supreme court that did not have the courage to protect the constitution so it rewrote the ACA to make it constitutional. Yes, we NEED a convention of the states. We NEED to reign in this run away federal government. The debt grows in leaps and bounds by the SECOND.

  • dennis8 Jun 4, 2014

    End gerrymandering, end the separate but equal cafeteria, gym, bar, ect at the Capitol, require states to pay their own representatives and the people must vote on any pay increase. Things would change very quickly then.

  • sinenomine Jun 4, 2014

    A new constitutional convention could change the whole structure of the American government, just like the first one did in the 1780s. There would be no way to rein it in. A two house congress, an independent judiciary, a chief executive separate from the other branches of government - all of that and more, including the Bill of Rights, could potentially be on the table. Do you really want that?

  • Christopher Rose Jun 4, 2014
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    we are self governing. A small vocal minority just think they are smarter than the majority of voters and know whats best for everybody. Our system of government is designed EXACTLY to control the instability and dictatorial tendencies of these types of people.

  • casadelrichman Jun 4, 2014

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    Could not disagree more. our elected officials in Washington will NEVER vote to give back the power to the states. This is precisely why our founders put this in the Constitution. If action does not come from state legislatures then where?

  • casadelrichman Jun 4, 2014

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    This sort of apathy is exactly what prevents us from redirecting the unsustainable course our national government is on.
    If we don't find SOME way to stop, it will end our founders dreams of self governance.

  • Jackson Smith Jun 4, 2014
    user avatar

    Jim, be careful what you wish for. If one is held, I believe the people will be fed up with the GOP majority and this might yield more than you want. I have supported you in the past but I think I may be done with that.

  • Greg Boop Jun 4, 2014
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    Federal level elections can take care of this problem. You get to vote every 2 years for congressional representatives, every 6 years for senators, and every four years for the president. The real problem is the bottomless money driving politics in the U.S. - which can easily be changed by federal law.

    It is completely outside the purview and job responsibilities of a state general assembly representative to be proposing a constitutional convention to add amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The state assembly has much more pertinent issues to focus on than this nonsense which is just for political show & tell.