“Convention of States” proponents ramp up for South Dakota state legislative session

Activists and grassroot supporters of the right-leaning group say that they will be back in Pierre in 2023.
The "Convention of States" organization says that they intend to return to the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre during the 2023 state legislative session.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 7:39 AM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - The “Convention of States” advocacy group spent over $200 thousand on a number of South Dakota State Senate races in June.

Now, they’ll ask those same senators who they opposed to support their Convention of States resolution.

“The people have a right to have their voices be heard,” explained former presidential candidate and US Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum is now a Senior Advisor for the Convention of States group. “Even by people who say they are conservative but aren’t acting like conservatives. Conservatives support Convention of States, overwhelmingly.”

The goal of Convention of States is to have at least 34 state legislatures pass a resolution calling for an Article V convention under the United States Constitution. If at least 34 states agree to it, then all 50 states would send delegates to a convention with the intent of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution.

So far, 19 states have passed a Convention of States resolution.

While the idea has enjoyed an overwhelming majority of it’s support from Republicans, many others oppose it on the grounds that it could lead to a “runaway convention,” where large Democrat led states like California and New York outnumber smaller red states.

“There is no good argument that says this is dangerous,” Santorum said. “There is nothing dangerous about 50 states coming together and discussing proposed changes to limit the power of the federal government.”

A Convention of States resolution has been brought to the South Dakota State Legislature in some form in every year since 2012. However, it has never managed to pass. Last year, HJR 5001 was three votes away from passing in the South Dakota State Senate after clearing the House. Its the farthest the resolution, which would not require the signature of the Governor, has ever gotten to passing in South Dakota.

Senator David Johnson (R-Rapid City) has been a long time opponent of the idea, earning him the ire of supporters. Convention of States Political Action Committee (PAC) backed Johnson’s opponent in the Republican primary in June.

It is no surprise that the COS Constitutional Convention PAC has returned to Pierre with their customary campaign against the US Constitution,” Johnson said in a statement to Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory. “The people of South Dakota oppose the COS PAC’s aggression, and the legislature has repeatedly honored the sworn duty to protect the Constitution by rejecting this PAC’s established assaults.”

The state legislative session will begin on January 10th.