BY: Mike Valerio
On the eve of the 2013 government shutdown, Gov. Bob McDonnell said there was a world of difference between the government in Richmond, and the breakdown of government “across the Potomac Ocean.”
Now, as nearly 2,000 bills begin to take their course through the General Assembly, there’s a movement to reign in the federal government from here in Richmond. It’s a fight against the power struggle on Capitol Hill, one that’s adversely affected businesses and families from Fort Lee to Fredericksburg.
The fight is now taking the form of new calls for a Constitutional Convention, a way to change the U.S. Constitution with states leading the charge.
The buzz in Capitol Square surrounds proposals introduced by four Republicans, Sen. Frank Ruff (R-Clarksville), Del. Steve Landes (R-Verona) Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-Chantilly) and Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge).
The bills set up Virginia to participate in an Article V Convention, a measure the Founding Fathers codified into the Constitution.
In an email Tuesday, Sen. Ruff said he modeled his proposed legislation on a bill that passed with strong bi-partisan support in the Indiana Senate this past summer.
“There are issues that have spun out of control, Ruff writes. “I hope that this is a step toward returning power to the states and the people.”
Ruff’s bill (SB 65) outlines how the General Assembly or a body approved by the G.A. would select delegates to attend the Convention. Lingamfelter’s bill (HJ 9) actually asks Congress to call a convention of the states “to restrain the abuse of power by the federal government.”
The full text of Lingamfelter’s bill can be seen here:
The full text of Ruff’s bill can be seen here:
“[My bill] simply creates a structure to follow should there be a Constitutional Convention,” Ruff writes. “I purposely stayed away from issues because I believe the structure to follow should go first and should be separate from issues that might be controversial.”
Important to note, an Article V convention process has NEVER been successful in American history. But the inertia to change congressional power is growing - with senators and congressmen casting watchful eyes towards Richmond, from across the Potomac Ocean.