MADISON – Today, the Republican Assembly members on the Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations passed Assembly Joint Resolution 77 out of committee. This resolution calls for an Article V Constitutional Convention to expansively amend the federal constitution to “impose fiscal restraint,” and “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. . .” The broad scope of such a Convention could fundamentally change the entire function of the federal government, including limiting Congressional power to address civil rights, protect voting rights, and enact environmental protections, among almost any other issue.
Rep. Taylor was present at the 2013 American Legislative Exchange Council when the campaign to gut the federal constitution was rolled out by the Convention of States, founded by Tea Party co-founder Mark Meckler. Assembly Joint Resolution 77 is an almost verbatim copy of a “Model” resolution handed out to legislators at that meeting where they were urged to act to save the country. Meckler even advocated getting rid of the U.S. Supreme Court through an amendment process.
Democratic members of the Committee, Representatives Chris Taylor and LaKeshia Myers, issued the following statements:
“AJR 77 is being pushed by big-moneyed, out-of-state corporate special interests that want to have free reign to pollute our environment and exploit working people to maximize corporate profit. Legal scholars on both the left and the right have warned of the dangers of reopening our constitution in such a broad, unlimited way. No one can say for certain where the powers of a Constitutional Convention would end, as one has not occurred since 1787 when George Washington presided. Such an effort could substantially curtail Congressional power to address our climate change crisis, protect consumer and civil rights laws, and enact gun safety measures. AJR 77 must be defeated in Wisconsin.”
Representative Myers said, “At the crux of my opposition to AJR 77 are two words, ‘state’s rights’. While some hear the term state’s rights and think of autonomy, small government, and the ability of the state to govern themselves as they deem necessary, I do not. The term ‘state’s rights’ immediately strikes a chord of fear and concern. These concerns are legitimate, especially for people of color. The Constitution provides us with a solid government structure. It has served our democracy well for the last two hundred thirty-two years. While each era has brought its particular set of challenges, we have been able to conquer them with our unique system of checks and balances. Advocating for a Convention of States with no guarantee of its agenda or process would be a dereliction of my duty as a member of the Wisconsin legislature. As our country has grown, so have our ideals and inclusivity. It is irresponsible to advocate for a convention that could possibly move our country backward and thwart the progress we’ve made thus far.”