The following is an excerpt from an article written by Eva Moore and published on Free-Times.com.
Bill Taylor says his current project is the most important thing he’s ever worked on during his four years as a representative in the South Carolina House.
“This is about saving the union,” says Taylor, a Republican representing Aiken. “The union is supposed to be about the union of states, not the federal government mandating what we do down to the size of our toilet bowls and the light bulbs we use.”
Taylor is the sponsor in the S.C. House of a bill calling for states to come together at a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Sen. Larry Grooms has proposed multiple similar bills in the S.C. Senate. And those bills are getting a serious hearing from a Senate subcommittee assigned to study them.
On a recent February morning, a room at the Gressette Building on the South Carolina State House grounds was packed with people, some wearing buttons that read “Article V Supporter.” They were there to speak for — and against — the pending bills that call for changes to the U.S. Constitution.
As they have been for years, many of these people — primarily older, primarily white — are angry about the national debt. They’re angry about federal taxation and spending. They’re angry about Obamacare. They’re angry about EPA regulations.
And there’s a growing push to do something very specific about it: For states to come together and propose some constitutional amendments limiting the power of the federal government.
Efforts to call a constitutional convention — particularly to pass a balanced budget amendment — have been around for years. But they’ve gained new momentum and some mainstream attention with groups like the Convention of States Project and Balanced Budget Forever.
“It represents a frustration with existing federalism and the growth of the welfare state,” says David Woodard, a Clemson political scientist and Republican consultant, of the effort. “That’s obvious. People are no longer wanting to work through the system.”
The idea is “pretty radical,” Woodard admits. “But demanding times demand big solutions, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.”
It’s not just at the South Carolina State House that the idea is getting some traction. John Kasich, Republican governor of Ohio, was in Columbia Feb. 19 to call for a convention to create a balanced budget amendment. Tom Coburn, former Republican senator from Oklahoma, signed on earlier this month as a senior adviser to the Convention of States Project.
So it’s not just the far right pushing the issue. In fact, some of the most right-wing folks, those who you might think would be big fans of restraining the federal government, are wary of the convention movement. And as it gains momentum, this could represent a new split on the right. It could even trip up — or boost — some of the GOP presidential candidates as they parade through South Carolina over the next year.
This week, Free Times looks at the Article V movement, its colorful opposition, and the prognosis for South Carolina joining the states that have already called for a convention.