Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke and the LR35 Roadshow Tour came to Gering Wednesday evening in support of LR35, which is a resolution to petition Congress to call a convention of the States to propose amendments to the Constitution. States are granted this power under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
The reason for calling a convention? According to Ebke, due to a high national debt and the federal government increasing its power over each state, this is a conversation we need to have to get people thinking about how we wish to be governed.
“I think it is important for Nebraska because, obviously, a lot of things that LR35 is proposing, Nebraskans hold near and dear to their heart, in terms of fiscal responsibility, smaller government and that sort of thing,” Ebke said.
Ebke, who represents district 32 in southeast Nebraska, introduced the bill on Jan. 21, 2015, and has gone on a tour across the state, appropriately called LR35 Roadshow Tour, to discuss and answer questions Nebraskans may have.
So far, Ebke has had a lot of support.
“I would say about 90 percent of those who show up are in support of the effort,” Ebke said. “There’s always a few people who have a lot of questions and that’s great. We want to answer those questions and have a conversation about it.”
But to have an Article V Convention isn’t as easy as it may sound. In fact, a convention will only occur after two-thirds of the states (34 states) pass the same application. Once the requisite 34 states have passed the same application, Congress shall call the convention.
The key, and often what prevents a convention from being called, is that the application must be sufficiently similar for each of the 34 or more states. More so, if a convention is called, any proposed amendment would have to be ratified by at least 3/4 of the states.
“The bar is high for making any amendments to our constitution—as I think it should be,” Ebke said in a press release. “But I believe that with a national debt well in excess of $18 trillion dollars, this is a conversation that we ought to have, to at least get people thinking about how we wish to be governed, and what kind of burden we’re willing to leave to future generations.”
For Ebke and her LR35 Roadshow Tour, even if the Article V convention doesn’t get to Congress, the conversation is still worth having.
“My goal is to just have a conversation about this and see what they think about,” Ebke said. “People say we shouldn’t have an Article V convention because we never know what is going to come out of it. And, I would argue, the Constitution stipulates that we can have an Article V convention and that we ought to have it. We’ll just have to see what happens.”
LR35 can be found at http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/104/PDF/Intro/LR35.pdf and additional information, including statement of intent and history of LR35 can be found athttp://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID25451.