In the past three weeks we’ve reviewed a few objections part-time constitutionalists make, including who controls a convention of states meeting and why the Convention of States Project (COSP) resolution is the solution as big as the problems. This week, we conclude with the vital role volunteers play in passed states.
Every leader in a passed state has heard the question in this article’s title. When the COSP was founded in August 2013, we made several mistakes and we continue to do so today. But hopefully, we don’t make the same mistakes over and over. Remember the mantra: Act. Learn. Adjust.
In our infancy we primarily focused on passing the COS resolution. Following passage, volunteerism dropped off and that's understandable. But, passing our resolution is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end.
So, here’s why it’s so important that volunteers in passed states keep working and how they can stay involved:
1) Established relationships with legislators build an advantage over other groups.
- It’s our duty to engage with and educate legislators about the convention of states process. They are critical to helping us bring bills to a floor vote.
2) Too many people lack knowledge of our Founding Principles, intended government structure, the Constitution, and the Article V convention of states purpose and process.
- Grassroots volunteers must take the lead in education.
- Grassroots volunteers help develop strong advocates for the Constitution and the principles of federalism – advocates who will directly impact our success in curbing federal overreach.
3) We expand our knowledge, influence and reach by working with other groups.
Now, let’s look at Missouri. Missouri is a term limited state. This means roughly one-third of the state legislature turns over every election cycle. When the 102nd Legislative Session convenes next January, approximately 60 new legislators will be sworn in. At last count, 377 candidates had filed to run for 60 seats. That means 377 new contacts and conversations need to be made.
The best time to begin the dialogue with these candidates is now. As they campaign and contact voters, they want to engage. Now’s the time to get to know the candidates and educate them on Article V. Once the session begins, the newly elected officials will be bombarded with information. Established relationships give us an advantage over other lobbying groups.
Now, on to the convention of states meetings. When the Article V convention of states meetings convene, each state must select its representative commissioners. Some states have a selection process; most do not. Missouri is a state currently without a selection process.
Our Commissioner Selection Bill establishes the process the Missouri Legislature will follow to select our delegation. Our House and Senate bills (HB2169 and SB1040) were in front of the legislature this past session to do exactly that. And yet, we did not receive a floor vote in either chamber this session. Why? Because House and Senate leaders didn’t consider it a priority. Grassroots activism makes a difference. It’s our duty now – and going into the next session – to engage our legislators to help us make it to a floor vote in 2023.
The commissioner selection process is critical to the success of an Article V meeting. Having strong advocates for the Constitution and principles of federalism directly impacts the success we’ll have in placing the federal government back in its constitutional box. We want to have a seat at the table. We want to have input on the candidates to be considered as commissioners. Perhaps, even some of our volunteers will be considered and selected as commissioners. Those who are well-versed in the convention of states process will be able to lead and be subject-matter experts at convention.
Additionally, it’s important that the most effective proposals are introduced, considered and passed out of a convention of states meeting. With the current state of our republic, we must take maximum advantage of the first convention of states meeting. We definitely need to have a voice here. Continued engagement with our legislature should afford us an opportunity to draft proposed amendments or, at least allow us significant influence on the solutions considered. Combining this with representation in our state delegation is very important.
Any proposals passed out of an Article V convention of states meeting still must be ratified by at least 38 states before the Constitution is amended. Education is a key part of this process. This is another area where our COS Team can make a difference. Far too few of our fellow citizens are knowledgeable about our Founding Principles, our intended government structure and the Constitution. Our grassroots volunteers need to take the lead in this area. We must address the objections that will be raised and obstacles that we will have to overcome. If we are effective in our educational efforts and control the narrative, we will increase the odds proposals passed out of the Article V meeting will be passed.
Our state teams also are involved in supporting non-COS, pro-liberty legislation or opposing non-COS, anti-Constitutional legislation if the team decides to do so. This is a thoughtful and strategic process state teams work with our national team when considering. There are partnership opportunities with other states to help them pass our resolution through various calls to Action. We will also be active in state and local elections through Get Out the Vote efforts as we have been already. Continuing to educate our fellow citizens, provide solutions to address the challenges we face and expand our influence in state and local government are all areas of involvement.
I hope this provides a clearer picture of how important it is for a Passed State’s team to stay engaged and continue to lead. After all, every state team wants to be a Passed State eventually. A Passed State can provide leadership and encouragement to pass the two-thirds threshold to call the first of many Article V convention of states meetings. Check out https://conventionofstates.com/take_action for areas where you can lead.
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