CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Lawmakers in Raleigh are pushing legislation that would add North Carolina to a list of potential participants in a Convention of States. Their efforts are part of a nationwide movement to address concerns about the size and scope of the federal government.
North Carolina’s application for a Convention of States, House Joint Resolution 235, was just filed in the North Carolina House. Almost the same bill went to the house last session. It passed but failed to get out in the Senate at that time. Though, some legislators think it has a real chance this year.
A Convention of States is a constitutional provision written in Article V of the United States Constitution. It says if 34 states agree to do so, they can hold a convention to propose amendments to the constitution.
“If that were to happen, then all 50 states could send delegates to consider different amendments to the Constitution. And then, once those amendments are submitted to the convention, the convention would nominate a chair, and they would actually vote on those amendments,” N.C. Rep. Jon Hardister said.
The Guilford County Republican is one of the sponsors of HJR 235, along with Lincoln County Republican Jason Saine.
Hardister said once the amendments are voted on and passed by the convention, they must go to all fifty states for ratification. It would require 38 states to ratify the amendments to make the constitution changes.
“If states can get together, decide on something that would have to be wildly popular, obviously, for it to pass that many state delegations, then we can move forward with it,” Saine said.
If North Carolina passes HJR 235, it would be the 20th state to join the list for the convention of states. Many lawmakers who support the resolution believe the federal government has overstepped its bounds recently. They want to address issues they feel Congress needs to catch up on.
“One of them is term limits. The second one is fiscal restraint. You know, it could result in a balanced budget, for instance, amendment. It could result in some way they get the budget done. Now, we don’t prescribe exactly how it has to read. We just prescribe the areas that they need to work in,” Hager said.
Mike Hager is the former Speaker of the North Carolina House and has advocated for N.C. to join the list for the Convention of States for years now.
During the last session, the bill gained support from two Democrats and 58 Republicans, but Saine doesn’t think it’s a partisan issue.
“Balancing your checkbook, it should never be a partisan issue,” Saine said. “It’s about being fiscally responsible. That’s not a republican issue. That’s not a Democrat issue. So I do think we’ll see more bipartisan support.”
HJR 235 was filed on Wednesday and has yet to go through any committees.