Convention of States: Ohio lawmakers calling for state to join movement for constitutional assembly

Fifteen states have approved resolutions calling for constitutional convention to curb federal power, with 34 (or two-thirds) needed to convene assembly.

Updated: May 30, 2021 - 10:31pm

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Two Ohio lawmakers plan to introduce a resolution this week calling for a convention of states to address the size of the federal government.

State Reps. Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) and Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) said they plan to introduce the resolution, which would create a convention that could discuss the topics of "limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, term limits for Congress and other government officials, and fiscal restraints for the federal government."

"The size and scope of the federal government have long been unsustainable, and we have waited long enough for Congress to fix itself," McClain said.

Having 34 states — or two-thirds of the 50 states — call for a convention is one of two mechanisms to propose a constitutional amendment. The other is direct action from Congress.

Fifteen other states have passed a similar resolution. Georgia was the first state to pass a resolution to create a convention in March 2016. Since then, Alaska, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Utah and Mississippi have passed a resolution, according to the organization Convention of States Action.

Nine other states — New Mexico, Iowa, South Dakota, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and New Hampshire — have had the resolution pass at least one chamber of their legislatures.

"I support term limits for office members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives because it holds public officials accountable throughout their political careers," Riedel said. "This resolution aims to increase the opportunity for competition for new members to bring diverse ideas and experiences to reviewing and amending federal laws while providing a necessary check on the current power of the Legislative Branch.”

If 34 states pass a resolution, a convention would be called where each of the 50 states sends a delegation and receives one vote.

Proposed constitutional amendments at the convention would require a majority (26) of votes to be accepted. The amendments then would require ratification by 38 states (three-fourths) to be adopted.

"The road to this end will be long and arduous, but the task at hand is critical to the sustainability of this great Republic that we share," McClain said.

Convention of States Action said that 25 states will be considering a resolution in 2021.