PA Clean Sweep Plans Constitutional Convention Exhibition

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PACleanSweep Plans Constitutional Convention Exhibition July 20, 2010

PACleanSweep plans to host a Constitutional Convention Exhibition in early 2011 and is currently seeking volunteer delegates to participate in the exercise. The Exhibition will be presented as a demonstration of how an actual constitutional convention would work in Pennsylvania.

Based on the provisions of the group’s proposed Citizens’ Constitutional Convention Act of 2011, the Exhibition will serve as a preview of what could happen at a real constitutional convention, where citizens of Pennsylvania would debate reforms to the structures of government while protecting individual rights. The event will be timed to occur shortly after the next legislative session begins.

"A lot of people are talking about a convention, but few are focusing on how it would actually work," said PACleanSweep founder Russ Diamond. "This exhibition will give Pennsylvanians some real-world experience in advance of a legitimate convention being authorized to pursue government reform."

The group is seeking citizens from across the state to participate as delegates at the exhibition and hopes to recruit at least three volunteers from each of the state’s fifty senate districts. Citizens at least 25 years of age, who have resided in Pennsylvania for at least four years and their senate district for at least one year, are eligible to participate. Public officials and registered lobbyists are not eligible.

While the Citizens’ Constitutional Convention Act of 2011 allows for proposed changes to all portions of Articles II-XI of the state’s constitution, PACleanSweep will select only a few reform issues to debate due to the limited time allowed by an abbreviated exhibition. Suggestions for debate topics are being solicited from those who volunteer as delegates.

PACleanSweep hopes to demonstrate as many provisions of the Citizens’ Constitutional Convention Act of 2011 as possible during the exhibition. Depending on the reform topics selected for debate, legislators, local officials, judges, retired public servants, experts, and other interested citizens may be invited to provide testimony to the exhibition or its committees.

The Citizens’ Constitutional Convention Act of 2011 provides for funding of an actual convention through the use of current legislative surpluses. Lacking the authority to appropriate such resources, PACleanSweep is asking potential delegates to help fund the Exhibition. As a result, citizen interest will determine the duration and scope of the event.

"PACleanSweep’s mission is to educate the general public and public servants on the topic of a limited citizens’ constitutional convention," Diamond said. "Hosting a public exhibition to demonstrate the process is the best way to do just that."

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Who: PACleanSweep and reform-minded Pennsylvanians

What: A public demonstration of the mechanics of a citizens’ constitutional convention aimed at reforming the institutions of government

When: January or February, 2011

Where: Harrisburg area

Why: To educate the public at large and public servants on how an actual convention would function