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Q1 in Review — The Grassroots in Action

Published in Blog on April 02, 2024 by Jakob Fay

History is unfolding before our eyes, folks!

In the past, I have encouraged COS state content writers with the humbling reminder that we are, quite literally, writing history. Future historians will look back and study our words to learn about how the grassroots propelled us to the first-ever Article V convention. Therefore, it is crucial that we, for posterity’s sake, carefully document every detail about our legislative action in the states.

This year, unfortunately, despite countless thousands of hours of advocacy, we have not yet completely passed the COS resolution in any state (a state must pass the resolution through both the House and Senate in order to qualify). However, that does not mean we have not made any progress.

2024 kicked off with the exciting announcement that 11 states — Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington — had filed the COS resolution by January 4. New Jersey followed shortly thereafter. Kentucky, South Dakota, and Rhode Island joined the list by January 15. After a few more weeks, that number had grown to 20.

“In the coming weeks and months, we're going full throttle,” expressed Mark Meckler. “The grassroots have dedicated months of effort to lead up to this moment, and now that it’s here, you can expect them to push ahead full-speed.”

“This is what true grassroots activism looks like,” he added.

That same month, COS conducted groundbreaking polling in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of Article V, which revealed that majorities from every party, including 55% of Democrats, 79% of Republicans, and 74% of Independents, back our efforts to impose restraints on federal spending, power, and terms of office. Moreover, an impressive 69% of Republicans, 70% of Democrats, and 77% of Independents said they would consider crossing party lines to vote for a candidate who supports Convention of States. Such bipartisan support set the tone for much of the rest of the grassroots advocacy.

In Massachusetts, a traditionally blue state, for instance, COS supporters flocked to the capitol in Boston on January 16 to testify in favor of Article V in front of the General Court's Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. Their commitment to the cause and impressive performance earned fawning accolades from Massachusetts State Representative Steven G. Xiarhos, who remarked the following morning, “Yesterday was one of the GREATEST days of my career. You people CRUSHED it like no one has ever done! I was BEAMING inside!”

But Xiarhos wasn’t the only legislator who felt the heat of the grassroots passion and zeal.

Also in January, we launched our 2024 “Surge” event season, beginning with Tennessee, where supporters spoke to Tennessee lawmakers, thanking them for passing the COS resolution in 2016. This event was followed by several more like it in states such as Delaware, Washington, Colorado, and Virginia — all in less than a week.

“I left Cuba because of Communism,” recounted a proponent in Delaware, “and I want to make sure our country doesn't fall into that.”

In Hawaii, another reliably blue state, activists proudly displaying their island's iconic Shaka sign eagerly prepared for a month-long Capitol Surge Season.

State Director Mark Kenneth White described the scene: “Ten intrepid members [that number grew by week two] of the Convention of States Hawaii team braved insane parking problems, long security lines, and threatening bad weather to launch the team’s 9th annual legislative session in which COSHI team action will be prominent for the next [six] weeks.”

Over the ensuing 42 days, team members adeptly employed innovative tactics aimed at influencing state lawmakers on a weekly basis.

“We just need to push and push,” said Hawaii District Captain Jim Ray. “We need this thing done.”

Having established a formidable foundation in January, Convention of States anticipated that the grassroots movement was primed for a February of unprecedented success. True to form, the grassroots did not disappoint.

Within the first full week of February, three states held separate hearings on the Convention of States application — and all on the same day! On February 6, former U.S. Senator and COS Senior Advisor Rick Santorum spearheaded a powerful testimony in the Iowa House State Government Committee. Drawing from familiar left-wing rhetoric, his opponents depicted the Convention of States grassroots movement as a threat to the Constitution — a notion which Santorum swiftly rebuffed. Moreover, he criticized detractors for offering no alternative solutions to the crises plaguing the federal government, branding their stance as mere fearmongering.

“Fear is not a solution,” blazoned the Senator. “And all I hear are no solutions and a lot of fear."

“There’s no solution except the one that’s in the Constitution,” he added. “And people are afraid. People are afraid to try what the Founders put in. They say wonderful words about the Founders and how great they were — except this.”

A mere few hours later, COS co-founder Michael Farris joined the award-winning Ohio team for over three hours of highly praised grassroots testimony before the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee. “Any team that wants to do a perfect job on their testimony needs to watch this team,” marveled Mark Meckler. “It was as good as I’ve ever seen.”

“The Convention of States effort is not merely a political maneuver,” mused Mark Pukita, one of many Ohioan supporters who testified. “It is a clarion call for the revival of the American dream. It seeks to create a fertile ground for entrepreneurs to thrive, unencumbered by excessive regulation, and to guarantee that the personal freedoms our forebears fought for remain intact.” By supporting this cause, we champion a future where innovation, prosperity, and freedom are the hallmarks of our nation.”

Later that night, the grassroots capped the historic day with a hearing in the Rhode Island House Committee on State Government. Regional Director Haley Shaw called it “a big day for the RI Team.” The meeting followed an extensive outreach campaign, which impacted hundreds of supporters in the region with news about the hearing.

These hearings were followed by several monumental victories. The next day, the Iowa House State Government Committee passed the Convention of States application, advancing the resolution to the full House for debate. On February 14, the Idaho Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee became the first in Idaho history to pass a COS application. Additionally, in a breakthrough vote, the application passed through a Democrat-majority committee in Massachusetts, the first blue state in the union to pass a COS resolution out of committee.

“The MA COS team takes the committee hearing seriously,” said Regional Director Haley Shaw. “They practiced every week on Sundays starting early September...that practice paid off with polished and professional testimony.”

“The team has worked very hard,” agreed Regional Director Deanna Becket about her team in Idaho. “Just their testimony alone, they've been practicing for three weeks. It’s just great to see the professionalism, the training that we gave them, and where they’re going forward.”

In addition to several more COS hearings and Surge Day events, the grassroots also dipped their toes into “F3” — Federalism, Freedom, and Fundamental Rights — issues, driving progress on hot-button topics such as gender reassignment and parental rights. In South Carolina, for example, the grassroots backed House Bill 4624, which, according to Legislative Liaison Chris Poyatt, would “stop any medical, surgical, or pharmaceutical intervention for sexual transitioning for a child.” In Tennessee, the team advocated for Senate Bill 2749, which codified the fundamental rights of parents to direct and control their children's upbringing. Additionally, several states backed election integrity and “34 Ready” legislation, while the New Hampshire team helped stave off a bill that would have rescinded its Article V resolution.

Another major victory arrived on March 19 as the Hawaii team witnessed nearly a decade’s worth of work culminate in success when the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs passed the resolution.

“We’ve been working toward this tremendous milestone for nine years,” State Director Mark White reminisced. “Once our resolutions were filed, our team shifted to testimony preparation and rehearsal,” he added, “while at the same time Western Region volunteers helped with CivicClick emails and TelePatriot campaigns to really put grassroots pressure on committee members who were uncommitted to voting ‘yes' for COS.”

Altogether, these actions account for only a fraction of the work that the grassroots have dedicated to COS over the past three months. Time fails me to tell of all the many state capitol Surge Days in states such as Washington, Indiana, Minnesota, Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, and many more, or the states that celebrated landmark anniversaries, including Florida and Georgia, or those that still have active legislation. Suffice it to say that our trained political operatives have been busy. And we couldn’t be prouder.

Unfortunately, we have short memories, and it would prove impossible to remember all that the grassroots have done even over these past three months. But never forget: Q1 of 2024 has been one for the books, and we are many steps closer to calling the first-ever Article V convention because of it.

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Almost everyone knows that our federal government is on a dangerous course. The unsustainable debt combined with crushing regulations on states and businesses is a recipe for disaster.

What is less known is that the Founders gave state legislatures the power to act as a final check on abuses of power by Washington, DC. Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the state legislatures to call a convention to proposing needed amendments to the Constitution. This process does not require the consent of the federal government in Washington DC.

I support Convention of States; a national movement to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution, restricted to proposing amendments that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit its power and jurisdiction, and impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress.

I want our state to be one of the necessary 34 states to pass a resolution calling for this kind of an Article V convention. You can find a copy of the model resolution and the Article V Pocket Guide (which explains the process and answers many questions) here:

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