By Austin Hill
As state legislators from across the country prepare to gather this weekend at President George Washington's historic Mount Vernon estate, the agenda to be discussed-the possibility of amending the U.S. Constitution-remains a point of interest in the Gem State.
While some members of Idaho's Legislature have been working toward this goal for several years, others vehemently oppose the idea and express fear of what may result with such an attempt.
"Over the last three legislative sessions I've proposed bills regarding both the subject matter for a convention, and procedurally how Idaho would select delegates for a convention," said Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Boise. Commonly referred to as a constitutional convention, McKenzie's goal is to involve Idaho in what is more technically known as a "convention for proposing amendments."
According to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, there are two pathways to amending the U.S. Constitution. One is initiated through the U.S. Congress itself, where two-thirds of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate agree on amendments, followed by ratification of those amendments by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.
The other approach begins at the state level, where the legislatures of two-thirds of the individual states ask Congress to call "a convention for proposing amendments." In this scenario, states would send delegates to this convention to propose amendments, after which the legislatures of 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.
McKenzie believes that there is growing support for such a convention. "I definitely think there's been a shift in the mindset among the people regarding states' rights," he
. "People are more concerned about the expansive nature of our federal government and the need for the states to put some controls on it."
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