Will South Dakota Legislature support convention of states?

Published: Feb. 13, 2018 at 6:49 PM MST
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Could changes be coming to the United States Constitution to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government?

There are some who would like to see that happen by convening what's called a convention of states.

Article Five of the Constitution allows for that convention if two-thirds of the nation's state legislatures call for it.

The issue came before the Senate State Affairs Committee in Pierre this week.

Former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is leading the national drive for the convention and testified in the State Capitol on Monday.

Senate Joint Resolution Three would make South Dakota one of the 34 states needed to make it happen.

Supporters say this is what the writers of the Constitution had in mind.

Opponents say a convention would open up the entire constitution and the power to make changes would lie in the big states.

Rep. David Johnson says, "My biggest concern is about the 2nd Amendment and the Bill of Rights. All of those would be subject to change. California, Florida, Chicago, Texas, every state will have delegates at that convention."

Rep. Lynne DiSanto says, "I believe the intent of our forefathers when they wrote the Constitution, including Article V, was to have a balance of powers that the states can intervene when our national government is not making decisions that are in the best interest of the people."

The resolution passed out of committee and now heads to the Senate floor.

A similar resolution failed last week in Idaho.