September 2021 Newsletter

  • Introducing our New Editor

  • Article V Seminars in Montana

  • Article V Update

  • Building Bipartisanship

  • Video Q&A from the Fiscal Responsibility Academy

  • Who Said It?

Introducing our New Editor

The State Legislators’ Article V Caucus Steering Committee is pleased to announce that Vickie Deppe has accepted our invitation to serve as editor of the SLAVC Newsletter, filling the vacancy created by Stu MacPhail’s retirement. Vickie has been an advocate for federalism and other political issues for eight years. She has served as a precinct committeewoman, participated in both partisan and non-partisan women’s organizations, been a panelist at both live and televised events, assisted in political campaigns at every level from local school board to the United States Senate, and completed the Lincoln Series for Excellence in Public Service in 2015.

Vickie led a team of grassroots volunteers in building the largest bipartisan coalition of legislative supporters to-date for an Article V application to-date in a blue state. Her team signed on dozens of cosponsors from each party that included leadership and represented all parts of the state and every demographic. They successfully navigated two “kill” committees and withstood a concerted effort by Common Cause to completely dismantle support for the initiative before she and her husband moved across the country to live closer to their kids.

Vickie explains, “Our team was able to build this coalition by educating Republican and Democrat state legislators alike about how an Article V Convention could empower them to better serve their constituents…because federalism is good for everybody.” In addition to continuing to keep you up-to-date on the latest Article V news, she is looking forward to connecting you with tools to help you talk with your colleagues about Article V…especially across the aisle. It is also our hope that the Caucus Newsletter will help foster a spirit of collaboration between the various Article V organizations. If Republicans and Democrats can do it, the Article V community can, too!

Article V Seminars in Montana

Convention of States Action will host two Article V information sessions featuring special guests Senator Tom McGillvray and Professor Rob Natelson. McGillvray is the sponsor of the CoSP application SJ2 in the Montana Senate. Natelson is considered a leading scholar on the amendment process: his research has been cited by Supreme Court justices including Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito. The following sessions are currently scheduled:

  • Tuesday, September 21 at 7 pm at Jorgenson’s Inn in Helena
  • Thursday, September 23 at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Billings

For further information, contact Tracy Schuster at 406-230-2710 or tracy.schuster@cosaction.com.

Article V Update

With most legislatures adjourned for the summer, there isn’t much activity to report this month. Two states with Article V applications pending remain in session: New Jersey’s SCR 14, a Convention of States Project initiative, has been in the State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee since January 2020. In New York, the Wolf-PAC Free & Fair Elections application (NY S01070) was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee in January. The committee is preparing a report on its investigation of former Governor Andrew Cuomo and has no hearings for the application scheduled at this time.

Building Bipartisanship
by Vickie Deppe

Can anyone look at the images that have come out of Afghanistan with anything but horror? Regardless of one’s foreign policy or political leanings, crisis situations such as these ignite a desire in people to effect change, and can be an opportunity to reach across the aisle to build support for an Article V Convention.

Matt Taibbi is a former contributing editor of Rolling Stone. He continues to contribute material for the print edition, but now publishes on-line through his Substack channel TK News by Matt Taibbi. He recently wrote an article detailing the corruption endemic within the United States’ presence in Afghanistan. No matter where you stand on a US presence in the Middle East, and whether you support Wolf-PAC, Convention of States Project, US Term Limits, or the BBA, there’s a talking point here for you. From the article:

“Contractors made fortunes monstrously overcharging the taxpayer for everything from private security, to dysfunctional or unnecessary construction projects, to social programs that either had no chance for success, or for which metrics for measuring success didn’t exist.”

OpenSecrets.org reports that Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, two companies cited in the article, spent a combined $3.5 million on candidates from both parties in the 2020 federal election cycle alone. This is precisely the sort of influence-buying our friends at USTL and Wolf-PAC are looking to eliminate. BBA advocates are all about putting an end to wasteful government spending; and whether you’d like to see that money returned to taxpayers or funding services in your community, Republican and Democrat state legislators alike can agree that it should not be lining the pockets of big donors or wasted on corruption in faraway lands. Convention of States Project supporters can talk about requiring a formal declaration of war for sustained combat expenditures. Don’t our men and women in uniform and their families deserve that level of unequivocal support if we’re going to send them into harm’s way? They haven’t had it since World War II.

Some years ago, our team was working an art festival in a hipster neighborhood in Chicago. I got to talking with a couple whose politics couldn’t have been more different than mine. But I wasn’t there to talk about my politics; I was there to find out what the members of this community cared about and, where possible, connect it to an Article V Convention. What this couple cared about was the conflict between Israel and Palestine. We discussed limiting Washington to its constitutionally-enumerated powers, and they thought it probable that fewer people would seek federal office if they knew they would be limited to areas like international relations, foreign policy, and monetary policy. And maybe the ones who did would do a better job if their focus was on just those things. They both signed our petition.

Many advocates think they must first convert someone to their political ideology before they’ll be able to convince them to support an Article V Convention, but that’s not true. The key isn’t to make them care about what you care about: it’s finding out what they care about and showing them how an Article V Convention can help them get it.

You can read We Failed Afghanistan, not the Other Way Around here, and learn more about Matt Taibbi and subscribe to TK News here.

Video Q&A from the Fiscal Responsibility Academy

Our last issue provided links to video of the entire Fiscal Responsibility Academy that took place in Salt Lake City in June…all six hours of it! Since then, we’ve organized the footage into brief excerpts (many are about 5 minutes in duration or less), most of which answer specific questions.

Is a Balanced Budget/Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Necessary for a Sustainable Economic Future? The Honorable David Walker, Former US Comptroller General

Can a Balanced Budget/Fiscal Responsibility Amendment be Enforced? Panel Discussion

Would a Balanced Budget/Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Necessarily Result in Higher Taxes?  Panel Discussion

Following four topics presented by Professor Robert Natelson, Senior Fellow at The Independence Institute.

Can Article V be Safely Used to Solve the Federal Debt Crisis? 

What Happens if Congress Refuses to Exercise its Ministerial
Duty to “Call” an Article V Convention?

Are Constitutional Amendments Effective? 

What Legal Protections can be Added by the States to Ensure       Article V Conventions cannot “Run Away?”

What is the History and Significance of the State Convention Mode of Ratification? David Biddulph, Co-founder of the Let Us Vote Foundation 

How Close is the Count for Calling an Article V Convention? Professor Robert Natelson, Senior Fellow at The Independence Institute

What are the Leading Proposals to Guide a Balanced Budget/Fiscal Responsibility Amendment? (4 individual clips as follows)

  • Debt to GDP : The Honorable David Walker, Former U.S. Comptroller General

Who has the power to impose accountability on Congress? Bob Carlstrom, President, AMAC Action

Concluding Remarks and the Significance of the Phoenix Correspondence Commission  Ken Ivory, Moderator/Tom Llewellyn, BBA Planning Convention Commissioner

Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (NM) Discusses Article V and a Balanced Budget Amendment

Who said it?
“ ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat at night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented… It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

“If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds…”

CS Lewis
“On Living in an Atomic Age”
Present Concerns: Essays by CS Lewis
1948

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