COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina on Wednesday joined a growing number of states calling for a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law the bill seeking changes to the Constitution after state lawmakers tailored the call for a convention to putting spending checks on the federal government, curbing the federal government’s jurisdiction and power, and setting term limits for Congress.
About 18 other states, mostly Republican-led and concentrated in the South, have passed similar proposals. Congress needs requests from 34 states to convene a convention of the states.
“Some leaders foresee a ‘runaway’ convention which could propose amendments beyond the scope of the call,” McMaster wrote in his signing statement. “Others prefer that we depend on enlightened future electorates. I see it a little differently. I see the ever-increasing size and scope of the federal government as the larger threat.”
In South Carolina, opponents of the legislation, including Democrats and some Republicans, have argued a convention would mean existing amendments, from those protecting free speech and gun rights to those that prohibited slavery, could be at risk.
Supporters have pointed out whatever amendments are suggested by the convention would then have to be passed by three-fourths of the states - 38 legislatures or special conventions.
The only convention called in nearly 250 years of the nation so far, the one that wrote the current Constitution from scratch, was initially proposed just to make changes to the original government charter of the U.S., the Articles of Confederation.
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