State of confusion during Article V vote

    image of the U.S. Constitution with the words
    The U.S. Constitution, signed in Philadelphia in 1787. (U.S. Air Force illustration/James Borland)

    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.”


    Melanie Conklin
    Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.