AJR-77, a resolution calling for an Article V constitutional convention, was passed in the State House last week, February 18. The vote in the house was 60-38. The House is 63 R – 36 D, meaning some Republicans votedagainst this application for a convention.
Wisconsin already has an active convention resolution for the Balanced Budget Amendment, passed in 2017. Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the now the national honorary chairman of the Center for State-led National Debt Solutions, one of the main groups pushing for legislation in states across the country to call an Article V convention on a balanced budget amendment. They have succeeded in passing similar resolutions in 28 states.
However, AJR-77 is legislation backed by the Convention of States effort which is led by conservative activist Mark Meckler. With more expansive and vague language, if passed, this legislation could move Americans closer to the dangerous threat of a constitutional convention.
“Someone said this is about cleaning up the swamp? No, this is the swamp,” said Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison). “You have millionaires and billionaires pushing this on the people. … This could radically alter our federal government, not for the people, but for profit.”
Unfortunately, Representative Taylor is not wrong. There are no rules or guidelines to help keep a convention in check if one were to be called and without these crucial guardrails in place to help protect our civil rights and liberties, the constitution as we know it could come under crossfire from wealthy special interest groups trying to leave their mark on our founding document.
Constitutional rights, democracy, and civil liberty groups in Wisconsin have come out against an Article V convention in Wisconsin, including the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC). WDC has regularly testified against an Article V convention in both forms the legislature has proposed. “This joint resolution is much vaguer and broader, and would open up the door of any Convention of States even faster and wider for a wholesale rewrite of our founding document, thus jeopardizing our fundamental rights,” testified Matt Rothschild, WDC’s executive director.
For this resolution to be fully passed and added to the official count of the Convention of States, it must also pass the senate.
To the constituents of Wisconsin, it is not too late to contact your legislator and speak out against AJR-77. Tell your representative you do not support this dangerous legislation and it is never okay to gamble with your rights.