Republicans in the South Carolina House approved a resolution by a 72-44 vote Wednesday that calls for a national convention to change the US Constitution.
South Carolina is one of 17 states crafting legislation that would, if the Constitution were changed, allow two-thirds of states to repeal a new federal law.
Supporters say they hope it will provide a check on growing federal power over states. House Speaker Rep. Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston) led the effort.
The repeal amendment is a way for us to regain our constitutional right to state sovereignty that overreach in Congress has eroded over the years.
However, Democrats– including Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter(D-Orangeburg) say they see it as a knee-jerk reaction against President Obama’s policies.
All of a sudden, over the last two years, we’re seeing a rash of action on the part of some state legislators where they are suggesting that we need to, somehow, come up with some kind of check and balance that is different.
However, Rep. Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) said the two-thirds requirement means only extremely controversial legislation would ever be repealed by states.
The fact that 38 states have to agree with that– some with Democratic houses and Democratic senators– tells me that these are going to be issues dealt with that are so fundamental to states running government, that they’re going to all coalesce together– Republicans and Democrats.
The resolution now heads to the Senate. However, even if the bill passes both Houses and gets the governor’s signature, it would be meaningless unless 33 other states pass similar legislation. Virginia is the only state to approve it so far.
Four additional states would be necessary to meet the three-fourths requirement to amend the constitution.
Rep. Mike Pitts (R-Greenville) bristled when Democrats questioned Republicans’ timing, saying he has been critical of government expansion for years.
However, Pitts voted against the resolution, warning that a constitutional convention would open a “can of worms,” since the convention could also address amendments beyond this particular bill.
Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg) said the entire resolution was just a waste of time.