Virginia mulls ConCon effort to rein in federal powers

Virginia is one of the latest states involved in a new push for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution in a bid to rein in the federal government — part of a nascent campaign on an issue states have been grappling with since at least the 18th century.

National and state GOP leaders are supportive of the idea, saying that a convention of the states is needed to stop an out-of-control federal government, but some conservatives say such a gathering could end up as a free-for-all and risk radically altering the founding document.

Resolutions calling for a convention to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and impose term limits on members of Congress recently advanced out of committees in Virginia’s House and Senate, along with separate resolutions calling specifically for a balanced budget amendment.

Michael Farris, a former GOP nominee for Virginia lieutenant governor, is helping spearhead the push for a convention of the states, a project of the group Citizens for Self-Governance.

The movement is nothing new, but Mr. Farris said he got the idea for a renewed effort after the 2012 election. He said it made sense legally and politically to start fresh rather than try to build on prior disparate efforts that have seen mixed results.

At least 34 states, or two-thirds, must pass applications for a convention and ultimately would need a sign-off from Congress….

Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to propose amendments, but it states that “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, [Congress] shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”

Rather than calling for a specific amendment, this particular movement is calling for a convention of the states to reduce the power and scope of the federal government. The language in Virginia’s proposals specifically call for a convention to pass amendments “that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.”

The Republican-controlled House of Delegates voted down a similar resolution during last year’s session, and the fate of this year’s effort is still very much up in the air.

Three states — Alaska, Georgia and Florida — passed the group’s convention of states application last year, and lawmakers in a dozen states are considering them this year….

By David Sherfinski – The Washington Times –

Parents owe $1million in hospital bills after toddler disfigured by SWAT raid

The parents of a toddler who was left disfigured after being hit with a stun-gun grenade in a botched drug raid while he slept in his crib are speaking out after a grand jury decided not to bring up charges in the heartbreaking case.

Alecia and Bounkham Phonesavanh’s youngest son Bounkham Jr, called ‘Bou Bou’, was just 18-months-old when a SWAT team burst through his bedroom and threw a flash-bang device at his sleeper crib, in the hunt to find a drug-dealing cousin who didn’t even live there.

Now, after several surgeries to address the boy’s serious injuries, the family is left with over $1million in medical bills that the county has refused to pay.

Alecia and Bounkham Phonesavanh’s youngest son Bounkham Jr, called ‘Bou Bou’, was just 18-months-old when a SWAT team burst through his bedroom and threw a flash-bang device at his sleeper crib, in the hunt to find a drug-dealing cousin who didn’t even live there.

Now, after several surgeries to address the boy’s serious injuries, the family is left with over $1million in medical bills that the county has refused to pay.

‘Before this we didn’t owe anybody anything,’ Mrs Phonesavanh recently told ABC News. ‘And now after all this, they have completely financially crippled us.’

And that wasn’t the only tragedy the family experienced last year.

The Phonesavanhs and their four children were only in Georgia because their house in Janesville, Wisconsin burned down that spring, leaving them homeless.

They moved in with Bounkham’s sister in Cornelia, Georgia while looking for a new home back in Wisconsin, all crammed into the garage, converted into a bedroom.

They had just found a new home and were planning to move back to Wisconsin when the SWAT raid happened in the early hours of May 28.

By Ashley Collman – MailOnline –