Many Americans are concerned about the size and scope of our federal government. For too long, we have stood by as the federal government overstepped its constitutional bounds, and infringed on the rights and freedoms of states and individual citizens – all while racking up U.S. debt to unprecedented highs.
Washington is broken. Unfortunately, Congress seems unable or unwilling to control and reform itself, regardless of which party is in power. It's up to the states to defend the limited government our Founding Fathers envisioned.
Earlier this month, 33 states took up this challenge. More than 100 state legislators from across the country met in Indianapolis for The Assembly of State Legislatures to discuss ways to curb federal overreach.
States have always had a constitutional tool available to them to serve as a check on a runaway federal government: a convention for proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
As outlined in Article V of the U.S. Constitution, a state-led "convention for proposing amendments" will take place whenever two-thirds of the states call for such a convention. Any amendments approved by the convention would then require ratification by three-fourths of the states to be added to the Constitution.
To this point in our nation's history, all constitutional amendments have been proposed by Congress. However, millions of Americans recognize that we are at a moment in the life of our nation unlike any we've experienced before, and there is an urgent need to correct course.
Change is not going to come from Washington; it's got to come from the people and states whose rights are being trampled. This is exactly the environment that calls for the states to exercise their right under Article V to reign in the federal government.
At the recent Assembly of State Legislatures in Indianapolis, state leaders considered rules and procedures that would be employed should a convention of the states occur. A similar meeting was held in December of 2013 at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate in Virginia.
As more and more states get serious about the amendment powers granted to them in Article V of the Constitution, Congress will be on notice. States are prepared to restore a proper balance between state and federal power.
Indiana has demonstrated leadership both fiscally and legislatively in the last few years. I'm proud we are taking the lead once again to protect our federalist government.
It was Founding Father Alexander Hamilton who said, "We may safely rely on the disposition of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority."
It's about time we took his advice.