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. Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains), Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), Representative Jay Reedy (R-Erin), Representative Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) and Representative Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) will represent Tennessee at the first national convention of the states convened since 1861, when states met to discuss an amendment they hoped would avert a civil war.
The purpose of the upcoming convention in Phoenix is to prepare for an anticipated convention convened under Article V of the U. S. Constitution to propose a balanced budget amendment and to recommend a set of rules under which such a convention would be governed. The resolution submitted to the convention by the Tennessee delegation is the first draft of rules presented for consideration.
"The resolution filed by our delegation will serve as a guide to the discussion to get the ball rolling on rules to govern an Article V convention to balance the federal budget," said Sen. Bell. "Our nation's founders, Mason and Madison, insisted there be a method to amend the Constitution, fearing that at some point in the future the federal government would grow to such a size that they would become deaf to the concerns of the states. This is contained in Article V. Looking at our national debt, which has now reached a $20 trillion, we as a state have a duty and responsibility to try and rein this in."
"I am looking forward to the planning convention and working with other legislators across the country on this important national issue that can be detrimental to our nation's future," said Rep. Powers. "It is an honor to represent the state of Tennessee as a delegate in this capacity."
"In the state legislature, we know our constituents, work hard to represent their interest and protect the dollars they trust us with through state taxes," said Sen. Ketron. "It is our duty to hold Congress to the same standard of diligence and responsibility. We have this opportunity afforded to us by our Founding Fathers and the Constitution to take up the concerns of our constituents when they neglect them."
"As we go into to the first Article V Convention since 1861, it's important that we recognize the historical significance of the convention and the opportunity we as states have been given by the Founding Fathers," said Sen. Niceley. "The Tennessee delegation's resolution is important to setting the rules and laying the groundwork for an orderly and productive convention."
"The massive debt accumulated in Washington poses great harm to our economy and security," added Sen. Green. "I am very pleased that Tennessee is taking the lead in posing the resolution. It will serve as the beginning point for discussions on how an Article V convention can be organized so we can move forward with budget reform."
"The folks in Washington have operated with utter disregard to fiscal responsibility for far too long," said Rep. Reedy. "This planning convention will go a long way toward allowing states to take the lead in order to end government waste and curb our nation's spending habits."
"I am honored to be a delegate to the Convention of States Planning Session in Arizona this month. I am looking forward to meeting again with state legislators who believe that it is time for states to propose amendments to the Constitution," said Rep. Butt. "Congress has failed to propose amendments, and Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to meet and propose amendments. The Founding Fathers realized that the time would come when the federal government would not be willing to restrain itself. It is time for states to fulfill that role afforded to us in the Constitution."