November 2014 Newsletter

  • Four Early December DC-Area Events Will Impact Article V Efforts
  • New Group Announces Drive for Two Article V Amendments
  • Republican Whip Calls for a BBA
  • Natelson Addresses Article V Convention Process at Symposium
  • Could a BBA Become a “Debt Brake”?


State Legislators Will Converge on Washington DC December 3 through 12
The American Legislative Counsel (ALEC) will host its winter conference Dec.3 – 5 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington DC.  During the event special Article V-related presentations will be made to state legislators by the Convention of States effort (CoS) and by the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force (BBATF).
Saturday, Dec. 6, from 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM a BBATF-sponsored FREE breakfast briefing will focus on “How a Balanced Budget Amendment Can Save the American Dream”, in Hyatt’s Capitol Hill Room.

Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 8 (noon to 5 PM) and 9 (8:30 AM to 2 PM) the third session of the Assembly of State Legislatures (ASL) will meet at the Navel Heritage Center in Washington DC.  They will be continuing work on their mission of establishing suggested rules and procedures for a future Article V convention.

Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 10 – 12 the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) will meet at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington DC for its Fall Forum.  The NCSL confab does not include any sessions on Article V, but no doubt the event will be attended by state legislators who have just attended the ALEC events (there is a lot of cross-over members) or the Assembly of State Legislatures… and they are likely to chat with their counterparts at NCSL about the importance of employing the powers of Article V.

Contact info for the above groups:  ALEC – 703-373-0933, www.ALEC.org,
CoS – 540-441-7227,www.conventionofstates.com/
BBATF – 386-478-9304, www.bba4usa.org/
ASL – 262-613-5719,www.theassemblyofstatelegislatures.org/
NCSL – 303-364-7700,  www.NCSL.org

The above events are all expected to have positive impacts on state legislators relative to Article V efforts as legislators prepare for their upcoming 2015 sessions.

New Group Announces Drive for Two Article V Amendments
Americans for Congressional Reform (ACR) is a new Texas-based group that has launched a drive for two new Article V amendments… a Term Limits amendment and an “Equal Application of Law” amendment.

The second proposal reads, in part, “Congress shall make no law applicable to the citizens of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress”.  The group is led by Executive Director Bryan Anderson.

Anderson reports that his Board of Directors and Board of Advisors are composed of individuals with “a broad range of experience and knowledge.  Each has held positions at the highest levels of government, business, law and education, including (a) Presidential Adviser, General Counsel of a major state law enforcement agency, Clerk for a Justice of a state Supreme Court and others.”

ACR has a 40-state strategy that will be targeting at least 8 states in the coming year.  Their web site is www.americansforcongressionalreform.org.  Anderson can be reached at: 512-966-4950 or bryan@americansforcongressionalreform.org.

Republican Whip Calls for a BBA
On October 7, shortly after becoming the new Congressional House Majority Leader, California U. S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy posted on YouTube a strong 1-minute 24-second video in support of a balanced federal budget.   He also pointed out “In 1995, Congress nearly passed a constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget. The Balanced Budget Amendment would have forced the federal government to live within its means. This Balanced Budget Amendment failed by one vote. 16 years later, Congress has the chance to get it right.” 

While his thrust is to once again encourage Congress to adopt a meaningful BBA proposal, his message is equally pertinent to BBA-related Article V drives.  See it here.  
Natelson Addresses Article V Convention Process at Michigan Symposium
In late September, Robert G. Natelson, a Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute in Denver, Colorado (he is also a Senior Fellow at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, Arizona), appeared in Lansing, Michigan as part of a panel of elite legal minds discussing Article V of the U.S. Constitution.A 2-part video of his presentation is available here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

Could a BBA Become a “Debt Brake”?
Daniel J. Mitchell, a top expert on fiscal policy issues such as tax reform, and the economic impact of government spending at the Cato Institute (and formerly a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation) posted an important article on his blog about the Swiss “debt brake”.

It is a BBA-like spending cap that, he says, “should be a model for other nations”.  He describes the “debt brake” as what has “helped reduce the burden of government spending in Switzerland at a time when most nations in Europe have been moving in the wrong direction”.

His thought-provoking article can be read here.

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