INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Senate waded into federal politics Tuesday, passing a resolution authorizing a constitutional convention.
I too fear where we are heading. I fear a domineering federal government that has basically trashed states’ rights, said Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne. We have to do something. I ask you to support this and not be paralyzed by the fear of the unknown.
The measure drew some impassioned debate from those on both sides, and passed 32-18. The only area senator to oppose Senate Joint Resolution 18 was Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange.
Long is pushing the resolution to exercise Indiana’s ability under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to call for a convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution.
His effort calls for a convention specifically confined to the topics of limiting Congress’ power to tax and regulate commerce – the issues involved in the federal health care act.
Though the U.S. Constitution allows for the maneuver, it has never happened. And two-thirds of all state legislatures would have to sign on to make it happen.
Glick spoke against the resolution, saying a constitutional convention could get out of control and start addressing numerous other matters. She said lawmakers need to be deliberative on the matter.
This resolution is probably the most important resolution that you may ever vote on. This is a serious matter, it’s not just a shot in the dark, she said.
If you believe Indiana can control this convention, you should vote yes. If you have a doubt this issue may run away. We need to take that into account. I do not believe we the members of the Senate or the state of Indiana are ready at this time to take this step.
Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, defended the move as permissible under the Constitution but voted against the resolution.
He noted that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t need to be altered – it just needs to be followed.
The Senate also approved two companion bills authored by Long – Senate Bill 224 and Senate Bill 225 – that outline the process for selecting Indiana’s delegates to an Article V amendments convention and to limit the duties and authority such delegates would have.
The move for a constitutional convention comes after Long has been the subject of pressure from state and national conservatives for blocking several bills from his caucus challenging the federal government.
One would have unilaterally deemed the federal health care act unconstitutional – a move Long said was questionable since the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled most of it constitutional.