Politics & Government
6:15 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Senator Long calls for a constitutional convention

Senate President Pro Tem David Long said Indiana needs to take the lead in assembling a constitutional convention of the states in an effort to rein in the federal government’s power.   Long’s effort aims to produce an amendment to the Untied States Constitution.

To amend the Constitution in a state-initiated way, two-thirds of state legislatures must agree to convene a constitutional convention, at which the amendment is drafted.  Three-fourths of the states must then approve the amendment for it to be ratified. 

Senate President Pro Tem David Long wants to start that process on an amendment meant to impose limits on the Constitution’s Commerce Clause and federal taxing authority.  Long said limiting those two powers would help prevent the federal government from enacting measures like the Affordable Care Act, which he calls the poster child for federal overreaching.

"This is not some kind of a, you know, conspiracy theorists all gathering together to drive the federal government out of our lives," said Long. "It is, I think, a thoughtful and constitutionally-based approach to how we can protect states’ rights."

But Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane said the proposal is a distraction.

"You know, I think we ought to keep our nose to the grindstone on what people are wanting us to which is to work on ways to create jobs," Lanane said.

Long said he’s spoken with lawmakers in other states, such as Tennessee and Texas, who say they’d follow Indiana’s lead.  Still, he admits the process could take years. 

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