The Buzz

Jason Holsman elected president of group that wants a new constitutional convention


A Kansas City state senator last week was elected president of a bipartisan group that’s seeking a second national constitutional convention.

The first took place in 1787 around the time of the country’s founding.

Missouri Sen. Jason Holsman took over the helm of the Assembly of State Legislatures for a two-year term. He’ll share the leadership with Wisconsin state Rep. Chris Kapenga, a Republican.

Holsman said Monday his goal is a new federal campaign-finance law replacing the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. That 2010 decision permitted unlimited corporate and union donations for independent political activity.

Republicans, meantime, are seeking a balanced-budget amendment.

Term limits might be another issue a convention could consider, Holsman said.

But first, the group has to convince 34 states to call for a national constitutional convention, which could be a tough sell. Many lawmakers are worried about what such a convention might produce.

But Holsman said the stiff requirements for passing any amendments via the states means that bills can’t be radical. Some 38 states would have to sign off on any amendment to put it into law.

“Proposals would have to be moderate, bipartisan,” Holsman told The Buzz Monday.

Article five of the Constitution provides for a constitutional convention. In recent years, a growing number of constitutional scholars have urged the states to call for such a convention to deal with issues that Congress hasn’t.