Constitutional amendments

Bell pushes transparency in constitutional convention planning

After four days of meetings last week, representatives of 22 states – including Tennessee – have adopted proposed  rules for what would be the first Article V convention in American history, reports the Arizona Republic. Backers of the proposed convention say 27 states have approved resolutions calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced budget and they need seven more to get it underway.

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TNGOP legislators headed to constitutional convention planning session

News release from Senate Republican Caucus

NASHVILLE – The seven Tennessee lawmakers representing the state at a Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention in Phoenix, Arizona next Tuesday have filed a resolution to begin the process of preparing for an Article V convention.

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House votes to praise God for liberty in TN Constitution

The House voted 69-17 Monday evening in favor of adding this sentence to the Tennessee state Constitution:

“We recognize that our liberties do not come from governments, but from Almighty God.”

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House panel flip-flops on God & liberty resolution

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee, which in early March rejected a proposal to include a declaration  that God is the source of all liberty, has changed its mind in April.

The panel on Wednesday revived the measure by Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, (HJR37) and approved it on voice vote. The move came after a motion to reconsider was filed by Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, who voted against the measure on March 1 and for it on the second try.

If the proposal is ultimately approved – a long process that would take years – this language would be added to the Tennessee Constitution:

“We recognize that our liberties do not come from governments, but from almighty God.”

Senate votes (again) for elected attorney general

News release from Senate Republican Caucus

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), March 20, 2017 — A resolution that would allow Tennessee voters to decide if they want to popularly elect the state’s attorney general (AG) was approved 22 to 8 tonight by the State Senate on final consideration. Senate Joint Resolution 57, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), begins the process of amending the State Constitution, which if approved by voters, calls for the AG to be elected beginning with the November 2024 general election.

“Currently, the attorney general is twice removed from those he or she is supposed to represent – the people of Tennessee,” said Senator Beavers. “It is time we let the citizens have more of a say in their government.”

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House kills planned Nashville meeting on U.S. constitutional amendments

With members acknowledging confusion over different groups pushing amendments to the U.S. Constitution through a convention of states, the House State Government Committee has scrapped a Senate-passed bill that called for a July meeting in Nashville to make plans for such a gathering.

Prior to the vote, Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, lamented “the travesty of this situation” with groups sharing the same goal of curbing “federal government overreach” being unable to agree on procedures. He said it appears the movement for a convention of the states is “starting to shatter.”

Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, said the conflict “puts us in a quandry” and the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, said efforts “to get these folks together… haven’t really made much progress.

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House sub sinks constitutional amendment giving God credit for liberty

A proposed amendment to the Tennessee constitution declaring that God is the source of liberty failed on a tie vote in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee Wednesday, reports the Associated Press.

HJR37, sponsored by Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, would have inserted this sentence into the state constitution: “We recognize that our liberties do not come from governments, but from Almighty God.”

Under House rules, a measure must receive a majority of positive votes to advance. The defeat came on a voice vote, according to the legislative website, with three Republican members – Reps. Mike Carter of Ooltewah, Andrew Farmer of Sevierville and Debra Moody of Tiptonville – having themselves recorded as voting yes.

Amending the state constitution is a lengthy process in Tennessee. Proposed changes must pass by a majority in both chambers during one two-year General Assembly, and then pass by at last two-thirds of the vote in the next. To amendment would then go before the voters in the year of the next gubernatorial election.

Senate approves another step toward U.S. constitutional convention

News release from Sen. Brian Kelsey

NASHVILLE — The Senate approved a resolution today calling for a convention of states in Nashville for the purpose of planning a future Article V Convention. The convention would be the first formal meeting of the states since 1861.

Senate Joint Resolution 9, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) provides that the convention of states would be for the limited purposes of 1) planning for, and recommending rules and procedures for an Article V Convention to amend the U.S. Constitution and 2) recommending to Congress the initial date and location in which they would meet.  The legislation is co-sponsored by Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), and Senator John Stevens (R-Huntingdon).

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TN legislators push Nashville as site for organizing a convention of the states

News release from Sen. Brian Kelsey and Rep. Dennis Powers

NASHVILLE – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Representative Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) have filed concurring legislation calling for a convention of states in Nashville for the purpose of adopting a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Senate Joint Resolution 9/HJR0024 provides that the convention of states would be for the limited purposes of 1) planning for, and recommending rules and procedures for an Article V Convention to amend the U.S. Constitution and 2) recommending to Congress the initial date and location in which they would meet.

Article V provides that upon the application of two-thirds of the state legislatures, Congress shall call a convention of the states to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

“It is necessary for the states to plan ahead of time for the convention because there has never been a convention to propose an amendment to the Constitution,” remarked Senator Kelsey. “The Tennessee Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention will create a structure for the Balanced Budget Amendment Convention and will address many of the unanswered questions as to how an amendment convention will function.”

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