IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
March 19, 1973
Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
Passed the Senate July 9, 1973
To provide procedures for calling constitutional conventions for proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States, on application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, pursuant to article V of the Constitution.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that this Act may be cited as the “Federal Constitutional Convention Procedures Act”.
APPLICATIONS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
SEC. 2. The legislature of a State, in making application to the Congress for a constitutional convention under article V of the Constitution of the United States on and after the enactment of this Act, shall adopt a resolution pursuant to this Act stating, in substance, that the legislature requests the calling of a convention for the purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the Constitution of the United States and stating the nature of the amendment or amendments to be proposed.
SEC. 3. (a) For the purpose of adopting or rescinding a resolution pursuant to section 2 and section 5, the State legislature shall follow the rules of procedure that govern the enactment of a statute by that legislature, but without the need for approval of the legislature’s action by the governor of the State.
(b) Questions concerning the adoption of a State resolution cognizable under this Act shall be determinable by the Congress of the United States and its decisions thereon shall be binding on all others, including State and Federal courts.
TRANSMITTAL OF APPLICATIONS
SEC. 4 (a) Within thirty days after the adoption by the legislature of a State of a resolution to apply for the calling of a constitutional convention, the secretary of sate of the State, or if there be no such officer, the person who is charged by the State law with such function, shall transmit to the Congress of the United States two copies of the application, one addressed to the President of the Senate, and one to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(b) Each copy of the application so made by any State shall contain
(1) the title of the resolution;
(2) the exact text of the resolution signed by the presiding officer of each house of the State legislature; and
(3)The date on which the legislature adopted the resolution; and shall be accompanied by a certificate of the secretary of state of the State, or such other person as is charged by the State law with such function, certifying that the application accurately sets forth the text of the resolution.
(c) Within ten days after receipt of a copy of any such application, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives shall report to the House of which he is the presiding officer, identifying the State making application, the subject of the application, and the number of States then having made application on such subject. The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives shall jointly cause copies of such application to be sent to the presiding officer of each house of the legislature of every other State and to each Member of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States.
EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF APPLICATION
SEC. 5 (a) An application submitted to the Congress by a State, unless sooner rescinded by the State legislature shall remain effective for seven calendar years after the date it is received by the Congress, except that whenever within a period of seven calendar years two-thirds or more of the several States have each submitted an application calling for a constitutional convention on the same subject all such applications shall remain in effect until the Congress has taken action on a concurrent resolution pursuant to section 6, calling for a constitutional convention.
(b) A State may rescind its application calling for a constitutional convention by adopting and transmitting to the Congress a resolution of rescission in conformity with the procedure specified in sections 3 and 4, except that no such rescission shall be effective as to any valid application made for a constitutional convention upon any subject after the date on which two-thirds or more of the State legislatures have valid applications pending before the Congress seeking amendments on the same subjects.
(c) Questions concerning the rescission of a State’s application shall be determined by the Congress of the United States and its decisions shall be binding on all others including State and Federal Courts.
CALLING OF A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
SEC. 6. (a) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives to maintain a record of all applications received by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives from States for the calling of a constitutional convention upon each subject. Whenever applications made by two-thirds or more of the States with respect to the same subject have been received, the Secretary and the Clerk shall so report in writing to the officer to whom those applications were transmitted, and such officer thereupon shall announce on the floor of the House of which he is an officer the substance of such report. It shall be the duty of such House to determine that there are in effect valid applications made by two-thirds of the States with respect to the same subject. If either House of the Congress determines, upon consideration of any such report or of a concurrent resolution agreed to by the other House of the Congress, that there are in effect valid applications made by two-thirds or more of the States for the calling of a constitutional convention upon the same subject, it shall be the duty of that House to agree to a concurrent resolution calling for the convening of a Federal constitutional convention upon that subject. Each such concurrent resolution shall (1) designate the place and time of meeting of the convention, and (2) set forth the nature of the amendment or amendments for the consideration of which the convention is called. A copy of each such concurrent resolution agreed to by both Houses of the Congress shall be transmitted forthwith to the Governor and to the presiding officer of each house of the legislature of each State.
(b)The convention shall be convened not later than one year after adoption of the resolution.
SEC. 7. (a) A convention called under this Act shall be composed of as many delegates from each State as it is entitled to Senators and Representatives in Congress. In each State two delegates shall be elected at large and one delegate shall be elected from each congressional district in the manner provided by State law. Any vacancy occurring in a State delegation shall be filled by appointment of the Governor of each state.
(b) The secretary of state of each State, or, if there be no such officer, the person charged by State law to perform such function shall certify to the Vice President of the United States the name of each delegate elected or appointed by the Governor pursuant to this section.
(c) Delegates shall in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at a session of the convention, and in going to and returning from the same and for any speech or debate in the convention they shall not be questioned in any other place.
(d) Each delegate shall receive compensation for each day of service and shall be compensated for traveling and related expenses. Provision shall be made therefore in the concurrent resolution calling the convention. The convention shall fix the compensation of employees of the convention.
CONVENING THE CONVENTION
SEC. 8. (a) The Vice President of the United States shall convene the constitutional convention. He shall administer the oath of office of the delegates to the convention and shall preside until the delegates elect a presiding officer who shall preside thereafter. Before taking his seat each delegate shall subscribe to an oath by which he shall be committed during the conduct of the convention to refrain from proposing or casting his vote in favor of any proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to any subject which is not named or described in the concurrent resolution of the Congress by which the convention was called. Upon the election of permanent officers of the convention, the names of such officers shall be transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by the elected presiding officer of the convention. Further proceedings of the convention shall be conducted in accordance with such rules, not inconsistent with this Act, as the convention may adopt.
(b) There is hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for the payment of the expenses of the convention.
(c) The Administrator of General Services shall provide such facilities, and the Congress and each executive department and agency shall provide such information and assistance, as the convention may require, upon written request made by the elected presiding officer of the convention.
PROCEDURES OF THE CONVENTION
SEC. 9. (a) In voting on any question before the convention, including the proposal of amendments, each delegate shall have one vote.
(b) The convention shall keep a daily verbatim record of its proceedings and publish the same. The vote of the delegates on any question shall be entered on the record.
(c) The convention shall terminate its proceedings within one year after the date of its first meeting unless the period is extended by the Congress by concurrent resolution.
(d)Within thirty days after the termination of the proceedings of the convention, the presiding officer shall transmit to the Archivist of the United States all records of official proceedings of the convention.
PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENTS
SEC. 10. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a convention called under this Act may propose amendments to the Constitution by a vote of two-thirds of the total number of delegates to the convention.
(b) No convention called under this Act may propose any amendment or amendments of a nature different from that stated in the concurrent resolution calling the convention. Questions arising under this subsection shall be determined solely by the Congress of the United States and its decisions shall be binding on all others, including State and Federal courts.
APPROVAL BY THE CONGRESS AND TRANSMITTAL TO THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION
SEC. 11. (a) The presiding officer of the convention shall, within thirty days after the termination of its proceedings, submit to the Congress the exact text of any amendment or amendments agreed upon by the convention.
(b) (1) Whenever a constitutional convention called under this Act has transmitted to the Congress a proposed amendment to the Constitution, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, acting jointly, shall transmit such amendment to the Administrator of General Services upon the expiration of the first period of ninety days of continuous session of the Congress following the date of receipt of such amendment unless within that period both Houses of the Congress have agreed to (a) a concurrent resolution directing the earlier transmission of such amendment to the Administrator of General Services and specifying in accordance with article V of the Constitution the manner in which such amendment shall be ratified, or (B) a concurrent resolution stating that the Congress disapproves the submission of such proposed amendment to the States because such proposed amendment relates to or includes a subject which differs from or was not included among the subjects named or described in the concurrent resolution of the Congress by which the convention was called, or because the procedures followed by the convention in proposing the amendment were not in substantial conformity with the provisions of this Act. No measure agreed to by the Congress which expresses disapproval of any such proposed amendment for any other reason, or without a statement of any reason, shall relieve the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the obligations imposed upon them by the first sentence of this paragraph.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, (A) the continuity of a session of the Congress shall be broken only by an adjournment of the Congress sine die, and (B) the days on which either House is not in session because of an adjournment of more than three days to a day certain shall be excluded in the computation of the period of ninety days.
(c) Upon receipt of any such proposed amendment to the Constitution, the Administrator shall transmit forthwith to each of the several States a duly certified copy thereof, a copy of any concurrent resolution agreed to by both Houses of the Congress which prescribes the time within which and the manner in which such amendment shall be ratified, and a copy of this Act.
RATIFICATION OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS
SEC. 12. (a) Any amendment proposed by the convention and submitted to the States in accordance with the provisions of this Act shall be valid for all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution of the United States when duly ratified by three-fourths of the States in the manner and within the time specified.
(b) Acts of ratification shall be by convention or by State legislative action as the Congress may direct or as specified in subsection (c) of this section. For the purpose of ratifying proposed amendments transmitted to the States pursuant to this Act the State legislatures shall adopt their own rules of procedure. Any State action ratifying a proposed amendment to the Constitution shall be valid without the assent of the Governor of the State.
(c) Except as otherwise prescribed by concurrent resolution of the Congress, any proposed amendment to the Constitution shall become valid when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of the submission thereof to the States, or within such other period of time as may be prescribed by such proposed amendment.
(d) The secretary of state of the State, or if there be no such officer, the person who is charged by State law with such function, shall transmit a certified copy of the State action ratifying any proposed amendment to the Administrator of General Services.
RESCISSION OF RATIFICATIONS
SEC. 13.(a) Any State may rescind its ratification of a proposed amendment by the same processes by which it ratified the proposed amendment, except that no State may rescind when there are existing valid ratifications of such amendments by three-fourths of the States.
(b) Any State may ratify a proposed amendment even though it previously may have rejected the same proposal.
(c) Questions concerning State ratification or rejection of amendments proposed to the Constitution of the United States, shall be determined solely by the Congress of the United States and its decisions shall be binding on all others, including State and Federal courts.
PROCLAMATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
SEC. 14. The Administrator of General Services, when three-fourths of the several States have ratified a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, shall issue a proclamation that the amendment is a part of the Constitution of the United States.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF AMENDMENTS
SEC. 15. An amendment proposed to the Constitution of the United States shall be effective from the date specified therein or, if no date is specified, then on the date on which the last State necessary to constitute three-fourths of the States of the United States, as provided for in article V, has ratified the same.