Discussing the possibility of amending the U.S. Constitution drew approximately 100 legislators from 32 states, according to an Idaho lawmaker who attended the event. He described it as "a great start."
The lawmakers gathered in Virginia at the Mount Vernon estate of President George Washington.
But, he added, a long process still lies ahead before amendments can even be drafted.
"It went very well, it's a great start," said Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian. "The most exciting thing for me is that we have a good plan of action. This is not going to happen quickly, and we're moving forward with full transparency."
Hagedorn was the only member of Idaho's Legislature to attend the gathering.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two paths by which the Constitution can be amended. One is through two-thirds of both chambers of the U.S.
Congress authorizing an amendment, followed by ratification by three-fourths of the states. The other begins at the state level, where two-thirds of all the legislatures ask Congress to call "a convention for proposing amendments."
In the latter scenario, states would send delegates to this convention to propose amendments. Then, three-fourths of the states would have to ratify any amendments approved by the convention, either by a vote of the legislatures or through special ratifying conventions.
As a precursor to a "convention for proposing amendments," Wisconsin state Rep. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, organized the event the weekend of Dec. 7 at Mount Vernon. "I'm very happy with how it turned out," Kapenga told IdahoReporter.com. "We were pleasantly surprised not only with the turnout, but with the discussion that took place. It was all very positive."
Kapenga concurs with Hagedorn, in that he notes that a long, slow process lies ahead. "As a next
, we'll be releasing a resolution very soon," he explained. "We'll do another meeting at the Indiana state Legislature in either the spring or early summer of 2014, and there we will plan a drafting conference."