Melanie Conklin

Bid to Amend Constitution Gets Weird

GOP legislators back constitutional convention and chair mistakes one black lawmaker for another.

By , Wisconsin Examiner - Jan 25th, 2020 04:00 pm
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We The People

We The People

Thursday — when the Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations met to discuss a resolution calling for a convention of the states with the goal of amending the U.S. Constitution — Democratic representatives Chris Taylor and LaKeshia Myers were there to challenge the proposal, which passed out of committee on a party-line vote of 5 – 2.

But not before a rather embarrassing mistake by the committee’s chair, Rep. Tyler Vorpagel (R-Plymouth).

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s executive director Matt Rothschild, who has been vigorously fighting the various measures calling for a convention of the states (also known as an Article V convention), was on hand.

Rothschild listened to Taylor describe the plan as coming from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) saying the measure was written by “out-of-state billionaires” and would open up the entire U.S. Constitution for rewriting. 

Then it was Myers’ turn to speak. As Rothschild details in his blog about the proposal and the meeting, Vorpagel didn’t recognize his colleague

Writes Rothschild:  

“Before he recognized Rep. Myers, Committee Chair Tyler Vorpagel actually didn’t recognize her and called her Rep. [Shelia] Stubbs, the name of the only other black woman in the Assembly.

“Once that embarrassing moment passed and Rep. Myers told him what her name really was, Myers got into the substance, as well.

“This sounds like states’ rights to me,” Myers said, “and that’s a political dog whistle.” She explained that “states’ rights” to her meant “separate water fountains” and “sitting in the back of the bus.” She said this convention of the states could be “detrimental for women and detrimental for people of color.” She added: “I’m not willing to take a chance on rolling back any of the protections for our people.”

“The five Republicans on the committee voted in favor of the proposal. Taylor and Myers opposed it.”

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