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Trinity Standard - Local News

Copyright 2017 - Polk County Publishing Company

 

Texas approves Convention of States
Trinity Standard -

By Corey Rapp,
Trinity County Conventions of State District Captain

On May 4, 2017 the roller coaster ride to approve the Convention of States (COS) Resolution through the Texas Legislature finally ended. Texas became the eleventh state to apply to the U S Congress for a convention to propose amendments under Article V of the U S Constitution. Currently, there are 31 additional states in the Legislative process of approving the same resolution. To appreciate the roller coaster ride, the following is a narrative account of the twists and turns of the Texas Legislative approval process. At the beginning of the Legislative session, the COS Resolution was submitted to both Chambers of the Texas Legislature, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Depending on whichever Chamber approved the Resolution first, the other Chamber must approve the exact same wording to complete the approval process. The Senate sub-committee was the first to review the Resolution, and upon approval, it was referred to the Senate Chamber for a vote. On February 28, 2017 the Senate passed the COS Resolution after a lengthy floor debate. The Senate Resolution was submitted to the House, and it was conjectured the approval process would be completed quickly since the same Resolution had been approved by the House at the last Legislative session. But to everyone's consternation, House Leader, Joe Straus, would not refer the Resolution to the House sub-committee. After a campaign effort of letters, e-mails and phone calls by COS supporters, the Resolution was finally referred to the House sub-committee. On April 13, 2017 ninetythree COS supporters testified in support of the Resolution, and in the following week the sub-committee approved the Resolution. However, the sub-committee's version included additional language, which threatened the time for Legislative approval. The changed Resolution, if approved by the House, would require the Resolution to go back to the Senate for their confirmation of the additional language. Since the Texas Legislators only meets every other year and only for 180 days, there was literately no time remaining in the Legislative session to accomplish the reapproval. The tactic used by the House sub-committee is known as a "poison pill" which is a way to run out the Legislative clock and defeat a resolution. The COS Texas directors working with the author of the Resolution determined the only recourse was to submit an amendment to the House version restoring it back to the Senate version. This would require two House votes. Prior to the House vote, COS supporters bombarded the 150 House Representatives with messages to Amend and Restore the Resolution. Local radio ads were heard throughout the State, Mark Levin talked about the Texas situation on his national radio show, and COS supporters made numerous trips to Austin to see their House Representatives. On the day of the House vote, the House Chamber Gallery was packed with COS supporters. As the House members sat at their desks, they couldn't help but feel the tension and pressure of the COS supporters in the Gallery. Amending the Resolution would set the stage for a final vote in the approval process allowing Texas to join with other states in calling for a convention. The Restoration amendment was read and approved and the House Gallery became very quiet with anticipation of the final vote. Before the vote was taken, 80 plus co-authors converged on the speaker's podium indicating their support for the Resolution. When the House Leader called for a vote, all eyes watched the lights on the vote tally board. A majority vote in the House is 76 and when the vote was over, there were 94 affirmative lights glowing. The Gallery exploded as the COS supporters, stood and cheered their victory. It was a three and half year ride on the Texas Legislative roller coaster, but the ordeal was worth the effort. Soon Texas along with 33 other states will complete the application process. There will be a convention and the States will address the topics of imposing restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress. Writer's note: As a personal note, I would like to thank Governor Greg Abbott, Robert Nichols (our State Senator), Trent Ashby (our State House Representative) and all those who committed time to write letters, to send e-mails and to call our State leaders on behalf of the COS Resolution. The voices of Trinity County were heard loud and clear in the Texas Legislative Chambers. Thank you all, Corey W. Rapp

 

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