Each year before the start of the new state legislative session, the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce hosts the Legislative Breakfast. The Breakfast is a chance to bring Sioux Falls area state senators and representatives together with business and community leaders. The Chamber leadership sends questions to the various legislators and then each of them has 2 minutes to give the audience an update on the bills that will be presented, debated, and perhaps passed into law in the 2014 session. Two hot topics came up several times: 1) How the state plans to spend the $136 million dollars in one money and 2) How to go about putting together an Article 5 Conventions for proposing amendments to the United States Constitution.
The unexpected 136 million dollar windfall is partly coming from a change in the law concerning unclaimed property. When banks can’t deliver assets to people, South Dakota law gives them a few years to find the owners. After that, financial institutions turn unclaimed money over to the state. The banks used to have 5 years to find the owner, but now only have 3 years.
Even though the US Constitution gives the states the power to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments, it has never been done in the history of the United States. With the increasing frustration surrounding Washington politics, the skyrocketing debt, economic uncertainty, and the seeming inability of Washington to address the problems, a grass roots movement, starting with numerous state legislatures, is garnering support for the idea of an Article 5 Convention. Some think that even if an Article 5 Convention does not happen, just the discussion generated about the Constitution and the limits it placed upon the powers of the federal government makes it a worthwhile pursuit.