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McClain to introduce Convention of States resolution

Published By The Advertiser-Tribune on June 2, 2021
Riordan T. McClain In The News

TIFFIN — State Rep. Riordan McClain said he and state Rep. Craig Riedel will introduce legislation next week designed to "rein in the federal government."

“The size and scope of the federal government have long been unsustainable, and we have waited long enough for Congress to fix itself,” the second-term lawmaker told The Advertiser-Tribune.

McClain, R-Upper Sandusky and Riedel, R-Defiance, will propose a constitutional convention take place where like-minded lawmakers from all 50 states would meet and propose, and potentially adopt, changes to the Bill of Rights.

The legislation complies with Article V of the U.S. Constitution, McClain said.

“The road to this end will be long and arduous, but the task at hand is critical to the sustainability of this great Republic that we share.”

McClain serves district 87, which includes Wyandot, Crawford and Morrow counties, as well as portions of Marion and Seneca counties. In the Ohio House of Representatives, he serves on three committees: infrastructure and rural development, ways and means and transportation and public safety.

This is the sixth piece of legislation that McClain has been a primary sponsor of in 2021. None have moved past the House yet.

It would take two-thirds of all states in the country to call a convention, and three-quarters to ratify any proposed amendments. As of now, 15 states have passed a Convention of States resolution — less than half of the necessary number to call it to order.

According to Convention of States Action (COSA), the convention would allow states to discuss proposed amendments to “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints and place term limits on federal officials.”

“The federal government has over time become more and more concentrated in power and authority over the states, and it's grown to a place where something needs to be done about it,” McClain said.

COSA’s website lists 25 states that are considering a Convention of States resolution or legislation for 2021, including Ohio. The first state to pass a resolution was Georgia in 2014, and the most recent was Mississippi in 2019.

All the states that have passed this legislation so far are majority Republican states, but McClain believes the Ohio resolution will be bipartisan.

"I don’t think this is a red state, blue state issue,” McClain said. “I’ve talked to a number of colleagues on the other side of the aisle who support this as well.”

Article V provides two mechanisms for Constitutional amendments to be proposed — through direct congressional action, or through a call from the states for a convention.

If 34 states have all called for a Convention of States regarding the same subject matter, a convention will be called in Congress in which all 50 states send a delegation. Each state delegation receives one vote on each proposition of the Convention.

During the Convention, proposed amendments would only require 26 states to be accepted, but then must be ratified by at least 38 states.

“I support term limits for office members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives because it holds public officials accountable throughout their political careers,” said Riedel. “This resolution aims to increase the opportunity for competition for new members to bring diverse ideas and experiences to reviewing and amending federal laws while providing a necessary check on the current power of the Legislative Branch.”

Though McClain isn’t sure about the timeline for the passage of the resolution as a whole, he and Riedel plan to spend the rest of this week working with colleagues to put together a strong co-sponsor list. Then, they plan to present the legislation early next week.

“I do think it has a real chance to pass,” McClain said. “We have widespread support in Ohio, and I think we’re at a good place where a large swath of people are open to it.”

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