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President Joe Biden calls on the nation to 'lower the temperature' on politics; Utah governor calls for unity following Trump assassination attempt; Civil rights groups sound the alarm on Project 2025; New England braces for 'above-normal' hurricane season.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Voting rights groups call constitutional convention efforts a threat to democracy

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Monday, January 22, 2024   

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering a resolution to convene a Convention of States, a process voting rights groups said could put civil liberties at risk.

Congress is required to hold a convention under Article V of the Constitution if two-thirds of state legislatures call for one.

Geoff Foster, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said there are no rules in the Constitution for how to govern a convention and no guarantee, even the First Amendment, would be safe.

"There's great risk and great potential harm to everything already enshrined in our Constitution if we do open up this Pandora's box," Foster cautioned.

Foster pointed out a convention could potentially allow unelected delegates and special-interest groups to enshrine their agenda into a founding document. Supporters argued a convention is needed to rein in federal government spending and give more power back to the states.

Twenty-eight state legislatures have already petitioned Congress for a constitutional convention, with the majority calling for a balanced-budget amendment. Just six more states are needed to trigger the event.

Some states are pushing for term limits. California wants an amendment to ensure local governments can enact stronger gun safety laws.

Foster emphasized the problem is not the issues groups want addressed but rather the process of the convention itself.

"There are very deliberate efforts to undermine institutions of democracy, so this is not the time to test an unprecedented process to make changes," Foster asserted.

The state's Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs recently heard testimony on the Massachusetts resolution aiming to limit the federal government's jurisdiction and spending. Foster added he believes legislators in Massachusetts understand the risks associated with a constitutional convention and the prospects for a constitutional crisis.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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