The Idaho Legislature has found yet another way to waste its time stoking right-wing fantasies.
Rep. Lynn Luker (R-Boise) introduced a bill to the State Affairs Committee on Monday that establishes the protocol for selecting and seating delegates of an Article V constitutional amendments convention.
1. What is an Article V convention?
It’s an assembly of the states that drafts and amends the Constitution. Two-thirds of the states must call for one, but to actually change the constitution, any amendment must be approved by three-fourths of the states.
2. When was the last Article V convention?
There have been calls for a convention since, but it’s never happened…and for good reason.
There is no structure for such a convention. One of the biggest arguments against a convention is that it would degenerate into a political mosh pit. Called a “runaway convention” the discord could be humorous at best or dangerous at worst.
3. Who would want such a thing?
The right-wing of this country is pushing for a convention because they feel their agenda isn’t getting serious attention through the established form of government. They believe an Article V convention will restore a “Constitution in exile,” while acting like a conservative panacea for all the nation’s problems. One of movement’s biggest advocates is right-wing A.M. talk radio host Mark Levin.
But not all conservatives are on board. In fact, some are very aware of the dangers of such a convention. Here’s commentary from the conservative website The Daily Signal.
“Serious scholars will undoubtedly continue to debate the historical record and speculate about the possibility of an amendments convention under Article V. But the argument that, as a matter of course, we should spend considerable time, money and effort right now to design, plan and implement a convention—despite the unknowns and risks involved—is both imprudent and potentially dangerous.”
4. What does this have to do with Idaho?
Nothing really, other than it allows politicians to pander to very conservative voters. Luker has been known to engage is this behavior in the past. He’s the state legislator who introduced the “religious freedom” bill last year – the one that would have legalized discrimination on the basis of religion.
5. What’s John Kasich’s role in this?
Last month Ohio Gov. John Kasich visited Idaho to promote an Article V convention to Idaho State Legislators. Interestingly, he was also pushing Medicaid expansion.
While his efforts to save the state millions of dollars appear to have fallen on deaf ears, it seems Rep. Luker has embraced the notion that an Article V convention is in Idaho’s future.
His bill cleared its print hearing 12-3.