Former South Carolina Senator pushes for Convention of States in Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint was in Charleston Monday, pushing members of the House of Delegates to support a movement calling for a convention of states for amending the U.S. Constitution.

DeMint serves as a senior adviser for the Convention of States Project, a nationwide organization pushing state legislatures to agree to hold a national convention, in which constitutional amendments would be proposed to limit the powers and spending of the federal government.

DeMint, who served in the U.S. Congress between 1999 and 2013 as a Republican, said no matter who is elected to federal office, no one is going to successfully work to give powers to state bodies.

“More and more states are realizing they can do these things a lot better if they are just able to keep the money and do their own programs,” he said. “The idea that the states can come together and reign in the federal government and force them to balance the budget seems like a new idea to a lot of them, but it was one of the central ideas of our founders when they wrote the Constitution.”

Article V of the Constitution states constitutional amendments can be proposed if supported by two-thirds of states in a convention — or 34 states — and ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures or convention bodies — or bodies representing 38 states.

Twelve states have already passed resolutions supporting a convention of states. The West Virginia Senate already passed a resolution supporting a constitution of states.

DeMint said a bill calling for a convention needs 51 sponsors in the House of Delegates before it could head to a floor vote.

“We can get this done and step an example for the rest of the country,” he said.

Supporters of the Convention of States Project include Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.