constitutional amendments

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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Cohen proposes constitutional amendment for popular election of president

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis filed a constitutional amendment Thursday that calls for eliminating the electoral college and allowing for direct election of the president and vice president, reports Michael Collins.

The congressman’s amendment comes as Democrat Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote in last month’s presidential election topped 2.5 million. Clinton lost the electoral college – and the presidency – to Republican Donald Trump.

“For the second time in recent memory, and for the fifth time in our history, we have a President-elect, who lost the popular vote,” said Cohen, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.

“The Electoral College is an antiquated system that was established to prevent citizens from directly electing our nation’s president, yet that notion is antithetical to our understanding of democracy,” Cohen said. “In our country, ‘We the People’ are supposed to determine who represents us in elective office.”

The legislation is unlikely to gain any traction in the Republican-controlled Congress. It would need two-thirds approval in both the House and the Senate and would then have to be ratified by 38 of the 50 states.