On Thursday, May 4, 2017, the Texas legislature passed a resolution calling for a Convention of States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution (SJR2), having a total of 72 co-authors, was passed 217 to 213 as nearly 250 supporters watched from the Gallery.

The resolution comes after the Senate passed its own version on February 28, making the Lone Star State the 11th state to call for a convention as outlined in Article V of the Constitution.

As Legal Insurrection has explained, Article V details two procedures for amending the U.S. Constitution. The first and most familiar way requires that congress write and propose an amendment that is subsequently sent to the 50 states for ratification. The second process for proposing and passing amendments, however, requires that two-thirds of the state legislatures submit applications for a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments. 

As of yet, no amendments have passed via the latter process.

Article V (emphasis added) – The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;

In order to prevent what opponents call a “runaway convention,” each state’s application must specify an amendment subject matter or matters to be address. Should two-thirds of the states submit applications pertaining to the same subject matter, an Article V convention of the states shall be called by the U.S. Congress. The specified topics to be addressed are limited to the following three areas: imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and setting term limits for its officials and for Members of Congress.

In August of last year, legislators from all 50 states held a practice or “dry run” convention of states. Organized by the Convention of States Project, an arm of Citizens for Self-Governance, the simulated convention allowed legislators acting as commissioners or delegates to draft, debate, and vote on hypothetical, proposed amendments. These amendments, if passed in convention, would theoretically be sent on to state legislators for a vote on ratification.

As of Thursday, 11 states have called for an actual convention of the states:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been a vocal supporter of the Convention of States option and last year had declared the resolution’s passing his top priority for the 2017 legislative season. The Governor even went so far as to craft nine amendments himself in what Abbott called the Texas Plan.

Conservative talk show host and ardent Article V supporter Mark Levin said Texas’ passing of the resolution was bigger news than the GOP’s changes to the Affordable Care Act. “You wanna hear the biggest news today, the very biggest news today?” Levin asked his audience Thursday evening. “The Texas House just passed Article V Convention of States resolution. The Senate already passed it. So, Texas is state number 11, state number 11 out of 34 needed.”

“I am telling you, this is going to be an earthquake as we get closer and closer to this,” Levin added.

For more on the Article V process, visit the Convention of States Project.