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Politics

Florida Legislators Propose Article V Convention for Constitutional Amendment on Congressional Term Limits

October 26, 2015 - 12:15pm
Larry Metz and Aaron Bean
Larry Metz and Aaron Bean

An effort in Tallahassee to propose congressional term limits is getting some national play as a political group showcased it on Monday. 

U.S. Term Limits, one of the leading groups in the nation pushing congressional term limits, highlighted proposals to call a constitutional convention under Article V to solely tackle the subject of federal term limits. State Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Jacksonville, and Florida Rep. Larry Metz, R-Groveland, filed memorials on the matter on Thursday. 

The legislation proposes a “convention under Article V of the Constitution of the United States with the sole agenda of proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to set a limit on the number of terms that a person may be elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives and to set a limit on the number of terms that a person may be elected as a member of the United States Senate.”

For the convention to be convened, 34 states must agree to it. If the convention proposes an amendment, 38 states must ratify it for it to be added to the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. Term Limits President Philip Blumel, who is based in Palm Beach, cheered the proposal as “the first big step toward delivering congressional term limits for the American people.”

“Seventy-eight percent of Americans support the Term Limits Convention, including huge majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents,” Blumel said on Monday. “Thanks to Article V of the Constitution, state legislators have a way to make term limits into a reality without needing approval from Congress.”

Back in 1992, almost 77 percent of Floridians backed Amendment 9 which enacted eight year term limits on federal and state officials but, in 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not enact congressional term limits. The same year, despite Republicans taking over the House in 1994 by calling for congressional term limits, U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., attempted to push a proposed amendment though Congress limiting members of the U.S. House and Senate to serving 12 years but it fell far short of the two-thirds needed to pass the chamber. 

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

Comments

To all who believe an Article V Convention to propose amendments to the U. S. Constitution cannot be limited, or regardless, could become a runaway convention, you have been misled. Please take a moment to read a one page document at: http://singlesubjectamendment.com/limited-unlimited-or-runaway-convention.

Yeah like it has worked so well here in Fla that lobbyists control everything.

The convention mode is simply the alternate mode of proposal. Whatever is proposed must gamer the approval of 38 states. Are you really afraid of finding out what 75% of society at large can agree to? Get the facts: foavc.org

Repeal the 16th Amendment.

For your reference. 39 states have requested this amendment in their applications. Repeal of the 16th is one of three issues that has gained sufficient applications on its own merits to cause a convention call. See www.foavc.org.

The late Senator Dempsey Barron always said that to convene a Constitutional Convention would be the most dangerous thing that could be done in Florida because "anything could be taken up"................................such a convention could impose a "personal income tax" in Florida among thousands of other things. Such a Convention is a "very bad idea"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't worry! It is not possible that a national amendment convention explicitly limited to congressional term limits would or could pass a state income tax in Florida.

No matter how paranoid a person is, can they possibly believe that such a proposal would ever be ratified by 38 states?

I am going to mea culpa a bit here. I like and respect Arron Bean a great deal and think that he and Larry Metz have good intentions. But I also think they underestimate - at great risk to our country - those that would use such a Convention for other ends.

Doesn't matter what those "other ends" are... no matter what wacky proposals come out of an amendments convention, they remain just that - proposals - until and unless ratified by 38 states. To put it another way, it would only take one chamber in each of just 13 state legislatures to kill any goofball proposal. The only thing we have to fear... is fear-mongers.

Anyone believing that these self serving, bought pols would limit their "Constitutional Convention" to a minuscule issue should reflect long and hard. These actually bought, low information folks know nothing about the background and history of the creation and evolution of the Constitution - and our country - that they would willingly destroy. Very bad ju ju.

There have been dozens of interstate conventions in America -- all of them stuck to their prescribed agenda.

You are 100% correct, Professor... when 34 states apply to Congress to call for a convention to propose amendments CLEARLY LIMITED BY THE TEXT OF THE APPLICATION TO ONE OR MORE SPECIFIC ISSUES, , it is Congress' ministerial duty to do so. It is then those issues alone to which the convention mandate must be limited. This is not just my opinion, but that of Congress, for Congress itself has set the precedent a number of times - 29, to be exact - by proposing amendments under precisely the same language and authority given to it and the states equally in Article V. It had no difficulty whatsoever in limiting the subject matter, and its repeatedly doing so has never raised any constitutional issues, at least none that prevented Congress from completing the task at hand, and certainly none that forced it to abandon the amendment process altogether.

For the first 100 years or more Congressmen and Senators limited their time in session to get back to their careers as farmers, doctors, lawyers etc. They would serve briefly and return to their chosen pursuits full time. Then something happened, the 16th Amendment giving government the power to tax income. The government has spent money with abandon ever since and the desire to get their share has provided incentive for holding political office a lifetime career. The same holds for judgeships which should be term limited as well.

I totally agree.. especially Judges...

lets do it, its a step in the right direction on fixing a broken system

Once ELECTED, these people ALL see what a "Sweet Deal" it is to become an Elected Official,and the GREED set in; they by far and large don't want to really give up their 'easy work' jobs with fantastic benefits. They fall in love with the concept of becoming "PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS", and reject anything less. When the Constitution was framed, THESE good men never even considered that LAZINESS and GREED would soon become so popular. A very sad situation.

The Term Article V Convention is a term conjured up to suggest a special way to change the Constitution to achieve a specific purpose when in fact there is no authority to restrict what a Convention will propose. Article V is the article of the Constitution that specifies how the Constitution can be modified with two options, one being for a sufficient number of states to request Congress to call a Convention, and which if done properly, Congress must do. But nowhere does it specify the subjects that can be discussed or the limitation on them or as to how many delegates each state could send, or the makeup of those delegates as to men, women, minorities, Illegal Aliens, etc., or exactly who would appoint them, the Governor or the Legislature. The hypothesis that the convention can be limited is just that, a hypothesis and a very dangerous one because as we can see from history, the last time one was called an entire new document was created, which is exactly what the bad guys want, a new Constitution. It is very foolish to think that progressive delegates would not propose Constitutional Changes that would remove or change already stated God Given Rights such as those listed in the 1st and 2nd Amendments and severely restrict our freedoms and liberties. Disputes over the governing of the convention would arise and as it is with regard to the federal Law (the Constitution), the Supreme Court would have the final say. Now doesn't that make you feel comfortable? This is really a very bad idea.

More fear-mongering... here are the facts: When 34 states apply to Congress to call for a convention to propose amendments CLEARLY LIMITED BY THE TEXT OF THE APPLICATION TO ONE OR MORE SPECIFIC ISSUES, it is Congress' ministerial duty to do so. It is then those issues alone to which the convention mandate must be limited. This is not just my opinion, but that of Congress, for Congress itself has set the precedent a number of times - 29, to be exact - by proposing amendments under precisely the same language and authority given to it and the states equally in Article V. It had no difficulty whatsoever in limiting the subject matter, and its repeatedly doing so has never raised any constitutional issues, at least none that prevented Congress from completing the task at hand, and certainly none that forced it to abandon the amendment process altogether.

Dave, that is an erroneous reading of Article V. An example is the Balanced budget Amendment now making its way through the states --27 states have approved it so far and none has added any other issues to it, nor could they. We've seen that argument before coming from the John Birch Society and even that group supported the idea with the Liberty Amendment. Not to worry, US Term Limits has studied the Article V route for passing the desperately needed reform of term limits which is supported by over 70% of voters. | http://www.termlimits.org |

In sum, you would deny the Sovereign People their right to frame the limits of their government. In so many words, you reject our Declaration of Independence. We are in our horrid mess, standing at the precipice of hard tyranny precisely because we have been insufficiently covetous of liberty, and haven't met in convention often enough to secure freedom. An Article V convention and subsequent ratification by the states process stand above the purview of any court, for taken together they constitute the will of the sovereign, We The People.

Nonsense. Progressive scare tactics.

There were several sessions of Congress (I believe from 1977 to--for sure--1991) that U.S. Senator Orin Hatch of Utah introduced bills in Washington, D.C. that would answer all of the lingering questions about how such a Convention would function procedurally--including whether such Convention could be limited to just one subject. His last offering was "S. 214" which he introduced on January 15, 1991 in the long-ago 102nd Congress. Why Hatch has not touched this proposed legislation since 1991 is anybody's guess. I wrote him a letter in 2014 (mailed certified) to ask him to re-introduce the legislation and, of course, never got any reply and, of course, the legislation has not re-appeared on Capitol Hill.

Greg: Sen. Hatch is in his 7th term in the US Senate --A poster boy for term limits!

Dave, you need to improve your research. 48 of the 55 delegates to the Philadelphia Convention did have full authority from their respective states to write a new Constitution; the suggestion they didn't is based on a false premise that convention authority came from Congress in those days. Also, you're conveniently leaving out that any amendment the convention produces needs to be ratified by 38 states. 38 states would never ratify anything radical. As a funny twist, Congress today fits every fearful description you have of a "runaway convention." It can propose amendments on any subject in the world, yet, it doesn't. Why? Because there would be political repercussions and it could never pass muster with 38 states. So, we already have the sinister, anti-constitutional body you describe and it's called Congress. Please don't confuse the problem with the solution.

Well stated. Thank you.

I say no retirement lottery prize for them, and they go into the same healthcare as the people they "SERVE!!"

Will they get their salaries for life - whether they are serving or not?

Yes, it IS about time but, unfortunately, greed is so much more stronger than doing what's the true right thing to do!

About time! But it never happen.

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