BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Bridgewater resident has joined a number of volunteers to advocate for Convention of States to allow citizens to propose constitutional amendments that will, he said, stop the runaway power of the federal government.
Joseph Mele, also a dentist in Bridgewater, said he would often hear patients talk about the federal government, and how the members are stepping across the line, upsetting the balance of power.
But now, Mele said, there is something that can be done.
There is a bill in the Senate and Assembly committees in New Jersey, Mele said, that, if passed, will allow for the state to participate in the Convention of States, which was founded by Citizens for Self Governance. If 34 states pass resolutions for a convention, Congress must call it, as per the United States Constitution.
Mele said four states have already passed the resolutions, and, at the convention, delegates will propose constitutional amendments that must then be ratified by 38 states.
Mele spoke before the Bridgewater Township Council Monday to discuss the Convention of States. He said a minimum of 30,000 petitions can help get the bill out of committees.
“We want this to happen sooner rather than later,” he said.
The first stage is for 34 states to submit an application to call a convention on the same subject, and then the specific language of proposed amendments is determined at the convention and must be approved by 26 delegations. From there, 38 states must ratify each amendment, with both houses in each state agreeing.
Barbara Brock, New Jersey State Director for the Convention of States, also spoke before the council about the convention.
“When the Constitution was first being drafted, only the Congress could amend it, but George Mason said that when the federal government goes beyond its bounds, it needs to go to the people,” she said. “They gave us the ability to do it through the Convention of States.”
Brock said the people need to reign in the federal government as it keeps getting bigger.
In the Convention of States, Brock said, all 50 states can send delegates and they decide on the details of the amendments they are looking to make.
“Then they come back to the states for ratification, 38 states to ratify,” she said. “We as Americans need to fight for our freedom, and it is not unexpected that the federal government would go beyond its bounds.”
“We want to pass amendments to reinforce those boundaries,” she added.
The bill in the committees, Brock said, is being sponsored by Sen. Mike Doherty, and assemblymen John DiMaio and Erik Peterson, all of whom represent Bridgewater in the 23rd district.
“It has to be voted out of committee and through the state to make New Jersey one of the 34 states,” she said.
Mele has been working with Brock to get people around the state signing petitions to get this resolution passed to make New Jersey part of the convention.
There is going to be a new volunteer introduction meeting for those interested in getting involved in the New Jersey Convention of States. It is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. at 79 Main Street, 2nd Floor, in Flemington.
Those interested can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those wanting to sign a petition to get the resolution for the Convention of States approved can find one at conventionofstates.com.