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Constitutional Convention

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NEWS
May 8, 2003 | By Mitch Lipka INQUIRER TRENTON BUREAU
The perennial discontent over property taxes and politicians' perennial resistance to assuaging taxpayers' concerns is spurring a push to have voters take responsibility for a solution. An Assembly committee is scheduled to consider today a constitutional convention to deal solely with the property-tax issue. "We're not going to do it ourselves," said Sen. John Adler (D., Camden). "Both parties are too skittish to do it. " If both houses of the legislature approved the measure and the governor signed it, voters would be asked in November whether they favored the constitutional convention.
NEWS
October 29, 1992 | By Henry J. Holcomb, INQUIRER TRENTON BUREAU
The New Jersey General Assembly is scheduled to vote today on a controversial measure that would push the nation a step closer to its first constitutional convention since 1787. If the measure is approved by New Jersey's lower house, it will go to the state Senate, where final passage would leave the long national campaign for a constitutional convention one state shy of victory. New Jersey would become the 33d state to pass a legislative resolution under Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which permits a national constitutional convention if two-thirds of the state legislatures - now 34 - approve the resolution.
NEWS
April 16, 2007
The push in Pennsylvania to hold a constitutional convention, a rare and drastic device for reforming state government, is premature. A state Senate committee has been gathering testimony around the state, including at a hearing in Philadelphia last week, on the possibility of holding a convention with as many as 150 citizen-delegates. These elected delegates would consider amending the state constitution to, for example, cut the size of the legislature, impose term limits on legislators, or to allow "initiative and referendum" ballot questions in Pennsylvania (much like Propositions A through Z for which California has become so notorious)
NEWS
November 5, 1986
Earlier this fall, the New Jersey Assembly Government Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Richard A. Zimmer, held a public hearing on a measure that, if passed, would call for a federal constitutional convention for the purpose of enacting an amendment for a federally balanced budget. This measure will not enhance our nation's fiscal well-being. Indeed, it could damage our country's entire democratic structure. All of us are concerned that the federal deficit has grown out of all proportions.
NEWS
April 10, 2007 | By Jeffrey E. Piccola
Over the last two years, the actions of Pennsylvania's General Assembly, executive branch, and judiciary regarding pay raises and bonuses, to name just a couple of issues, have sparked a public outcry for the reform of state government. The type of institutional change being called for can be accomplished only by revising the Pennsylvania Constitution. There are two ways to change the constitution: an amendment by the General Assembly or a constitutional convention. When Abraham Lincoln spoke to the nation in his first inaugural address in 1861, he said of a pending amendment to the United States Constitution: "To me, the convention mode seems preferable to the amendment process in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only persuading them to take or reject propositions originated by others not especially chosen with a purpose.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 19, 1986 | By Janet Anderson, Special to The Inquirer
Miracle at Philadelphia," which tells the story of the creation of the Constitution, is something of a miracle itself. Instead of dreary glass cases filled with faded paper, this document exhibit exuberantly spills color, light and sound throughout the stately marbled halls of the Second Bank of the United States. From a free-floating sculpture of the flag (with stripes dramatically separated to symbolize the dis-union of the states) to fascinating pillars that display anti-Constitution broadsides and editorials, you are engulfed in the quarrelsome process that gave us a federal government.
NEWS
September 22, 1992 | By Henry J. Holcomb, INQUIRER TRENTON BUREAU
With the long campaign for a national constitutional convention only two states shy of its goal, New Jersey has once again become a major historic battlefield. Those fighting the call for a constitutional convention came to New Jersey yesterday to urge the state to save the nation from what they say would surely be a runaway political affair, lobbied by special interests with awesome power. Cherished freedoms are at stake, several argued. Guns would be taken away, religious beliefs would be imposed and chaos would reign, leaving vital national interests vulnerable to extended legal wrangling at a time of rapid international change, the opponents argued.
NEWS
April 12, 2007 | By Vernon Clark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
At the University of Pennsylvania Law School, two state senators heard testimony yesterday on the convening of a constitutional convention for the reform of state government. State Sens. Jeffrey E. Piccola (R., Dauphin) and Michael Folmer (R., Lebanon) held the third hearing on the topic, listening to the views of three speakers: an area lawyer and author, a Rutgers University law school professor, and the president of the local League of Women Voters. Previous hearings were held in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
NEWS
July 7, 2004 | By Melanie Burney INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
New Jersey has moved a step closer to holding a constitutional convention that could change the state's property-tax system. Gov. McGreevey signed a law yesterday to create a task force that will recommend how to convene the first such gathering in New Jersey in more than three decades. The convention could recommend amendments to the state constitution and statutes on property taxation, which could reduce New Jersey's reliance on property taxes to pay for education and other services.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 17, 2015 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
La Salle University scholar Stuart Leibiger found his way to Washington - the president, not the state - through a series of excursions. As a boy, he immersed himself in Lincoln, visiting presidential sites during a family trip through Illinois. He detoured into Civil War history in high school, met up with Madison and Jefferson while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. Not until he was earning his doctorate at the University of North Carolina in the 1990s did he fully arrive at his destination, immersing himself in the public and private lives of the nation's first president.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 8, 2013 | By David Hiltbrand, INQUIRER TV WRITER
What were our Founders thinking when they gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 for the Constitutional Convention? According to Peter Sagal, who hosts PBS's consistently lively four-part series, Constitution USA (premiering at 9 p.m. Tuesday on WHYY TV12), the distinguished delegates had both short- and long-term goals. "The Founders came to Philadelphia to fix the Articles of Confederation," Sagal says in the first segment, "A More Perfect Union. " "Also, to make sure that 200 years later, this city would enjoy a booming constitutionally themed tourist trade.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 6, 2012 | By Jonathan Lai and INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Kevin Bleyer has rewritten the Constitution of the United States. Bleyer, a writer for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart who has contributed to speeches for President Obama, decided that the Constitution needed revision — and that current politics would never allow another Constitutional Convention. He has laid out his plan in a new book, Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America (Random House, $26). "We need a convention of one. We need Kevin Bleyer to make all the decisions, on behalf of America, because he knows best," the Emmy Award winner said by phone.
NEWS
April 2, 2012 | By Amy Worden, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
HARRISBURG - From the presidential race on down, making government smaller is on the lips of most every candidate for public office. Against that background, Pennsylvania lawmakers on Monday began a historic debate on reducing their own ranks. The state House's consideration of a bill to trim the 203-member chamber by 50 seats marks the first time in 45 years that lawmakers have taken up such a proposal. The 50-member state Senate would not be affected. Because the legislation would amend the state constitution, it would have to be passed in two consecutive two-year sessions of the General Assembly and then approved by voters in a statewide referendum.
NEWS
October 9, 2011 | By Richard Brookhiser
James Madison, our fourth president, is better known as the Father of the Constitution, a title that should be especially familiar to Philadelphians. In Signers' Hall at the National Constitution Center, a bronze Madison stands, all five feet of him, at the right hand of George Washington as he is about to sign the document. But Madison had another child that Americans know well, especially as the presidential election cycle swings toward the Iowa-New Hampshire madhouse: Madison was the Father of Politics.
NEWS
June 30, 2011
A June 19 Currents essay, "Living up to the city's motto," misstated when a celebration of the centennial of the Constitutional Convention occurred. It was 1887. The Inquirer wants its news report to be fair and correct in every respect, and regrets when it is not. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, contact assistant managing editor David Sullivan (215-854-2357) at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101, or e-mail dsullivan@phillynews.com .
NEWS
February 26, 2011
A Washington councilman wants to take his city's fight for representation in Congress out on the Keystone State. Yo, buddy, bad idea. To draw attention to the cause of statehood for his city, Michael A. Brown wants to rename Pennsylvania Avenue. He suggests the catchy "Give DC Full Democracy & Statehood Way" or maybe just "51st State Way. " He's asking Washingtonians for other suggestions in an online poll. Aside from the slippery slope of renaming streets in the nation's capital to suit the special interests of the day, let's recall some reasons that Pennsylvania was given pride of place, a street linking the White House and the Capitol, when the city grid was designed in the 1800s.
NEWS
November 7, 2010 | By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist
I bring good news. Not just for Republicans feeling mighty happy these days, but also for Democrats who sense it's mourning in America. Likely incoming Pennsylvania House Speaker Republican Sam Smith says he wants to reduce the size of our bloated, obscenely expensive legislature. With this suggestion, Smith supplants Phil as my new favorite resident of Punxsutawney, which is American Indian for, I kid not, "land of sandflies. " Hours after Republicans conquered Harrisburg, Smith said, "There's nothing magical about 203 in the House or 50 in the Senate.
NEWS
November 5, 2010 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - In recent years, many have pushed for cutting the size of the Pennsylvania legislature: reformers, think tanks, candidates for office. But now the call for shrinking the 203-member House of Representatives comes from an unlikely source: one of those 203 members. And not just any one - the representative who, come January, is expected to become House speaker. Fresh off his party's victories at the polls, House Minority Leader Sam Smith (R., Jefferson) on Wednesday said he would like to see the chamber's ranks trimmed - for the simple reason that he believed it would make it easier to get things done in the Capitol.
NEWS
August 23, 2010
IF PENNSYLVANIA hopes to get the kind of fundamental political reform it so desperately needs, it needs young people like George Hicks. The 19-year-old college sophomore from the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia is an intern with the statewide nonpartisan grassroots/reform group Democracy Rising Pa. When I ask how long he intends to work there, he says: "Until we get government reform and integrity legislation passed. " I hope the kid has staying power. Between our Legislature's antics, highlighted by members indicted, jailed or under investigation; judicial scandals and messes at the Delaware River Port Authority, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the city's DROP program, reforms will take time - and might well rest with the young.
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