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National Group Set to Discuss U.S. Constitution in Indianapolis

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

More than a hundred legislators from around the country will gather in Indianapolis this week to lay the foundation for a future constitutional convention.  Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long says the gathering comes as state lawmakers grow increasingly concerned about what they see as overreach by the federal government.

Article Five of the U-S Constitution provides for the creation of a constitutional convention called by two-thirds of the states.  Fort Wayne Republican Senator David Long says the so-called Mount Vernon Assembly that will take place in Indianapolis beginning Thursday is meant to begin developing rules and procedures that would govern such a convention.  Long says state lawmakers from 33 states are gathering because of what he calls the erosion of states’ rights, emphasized in recent court rulings.

“And then the Obamacare decision really brought home the fact that the 10th amendment is pretty much dead,” Long said. “If you call it a tax, the federal government can pretty much do anything they want.”

But Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says the event is just a carnival show meant to pander to the far-right wing of the Republican Party.

“I think it’s political theatre – and by the way, it might be interesting to watch; theatre can be very entertaining,” Pelath said. “But let’s not forget it is entertainment, it’s not far-reaching and serious solution-making.”

Long says the gathering is a bipartisan one and emphasizes that no specific proposed constitutional amendments will be discussed.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.