End of 2017 Progress Report by David Guldenschuh, publisher of the periodic chart of progress by the various Article V movements, and Secretary of the Phoenix Planning Convention (September 2017):
Fellow Article V Supporters:
Enclosed is your FINAL 2017 edition of The Article V Convention Legislative Progress Report. The legislative sessions have wound down for 2017, during which approximately 180 pieces of Article V legislation were filed in 40 states.
This year will be noted for the continuing advancement of the overall Article V movement in the face of stiff headwinds propelled by the traditional naysayers on both sides of the aisle. Although I hope to prepare and publish a more comprehensive article updating the movement since my last update at the end of 2015,1 here are a few preliminary thoughts on 2017.
The Arizona BBA Planning Convention
The undisputable highlight of the year was the convening of the Arizona BBA Planning Convention of States in Phoenix from September 12-15, 2017. This was the first official national convention of states since 1861. In all, 19 states formally appointed and sent commissioners. Another 5 states sent observers. Despite the concerted efforts of the Arizona legislative leadership to get the left leaning states to attend, the liberal states essentially boycotted leaving the pool of states available to attend at 32. That 24 states sent at least one attendee speaks strongly to its surface success.
When one looks at the actual accomplishments of the convention, the lessons learned about intra-state communications, and the momentum established from this equivalent of a “dress rehearsal,” then its benefit to the overall movement become quite notable. I was honored to represent Georgia in Phoenix and to serve as Convention Secretary. Attached is the Georgia delegation’s report to the Georgia legislature on the Arizona convention. It provides much more detail on the actual work and accomplishments of the convention.
Congratulations and thanks to AZ Rep. Kelly Townsend (the Convention President), House Speaker J.D. Mesnard and the entire Arizona legislature, and to BBA Task Force co-founder Bill Fruth for their hard work in planning hosting this historic gathering. It would be remiss to acknowledge Phoenix without also acknowledging the work of the Assembly of State Legislatures, who for the past four years have met and developed rules that logically led to the calling of the Arizona Convention. It should further be noted that the Williamsburg mock convention of states hosted by the Convention of States Project in 2016 provided a solid foundation upon which the Arizona convention could build. Thank you COSP!
The Rescission Movement
With the issuance of its April 2016 report, “The Dangerous Path,”2 Common Cause declared war on the Article V Movement. It successfully lobbied Delaware to rescind its Article V applications in 2016. With the legislative changes in several states following the Presidential election, the Rescission Movement successfully lobbied New Mexico, Maryland and Nevada to rescind their Article V resolutions in 2017.
To be clear, “The Rescission Movement” is my term. It includes not only Common Cause and its 200-plus “affiliated” liberal groups, but the John Birch Society and Eagle Forum on the right. Despite the overwhelming evidence that no Article V convention could ever propose a rogue amendment that 38 states would ratify, these strange bedfellows continue to offer ever increasing shrill arguments about the end of the world if a convention is called. And Democratic legislators (plus the mystifying NV GOP caucus) apparently listen. Reminds me of the Pied Piper blindly leading the rats and innocent children to a premature drowning and death.
The attacks were obviously aimed at the BBA Task Force efforts which, but for the rescissions, would be on the doorstep to calling a convention. As it is, the “live” count of BBA applications now rests at 28. The good thing coming from all this is that there are no more liberally controlled states within that count; however, the window for reaching 34 is a much more difficult task to accomplish than just a year ago.
As the attached AVC Legislative Progress Report reflects, the were steady gains in 2017 with the passage of eight Article V resolutions this year. That compares to nine which passed in 2016. It should be noted that as the movement advances, passage becomes more difficult.
This past year, the COS Project led the way passing in Arizona, Missouri, North Dakota and Texas. COSP appears primed to pass in North Carolina and Iowa next year with inroads in several other states built during 2017. I am particularly impressed with COSP’s work in Illinois where they have established significant bi-partisan support in the House. It seems clear that bi-partisanship is a mandatory requirement in the future if any group is ever going to reach 34. The COSP resolution has now passed in 12 of the 34 required states.
The BBA Task Force successfully passed its resolution earlier in the year in Arizona and Wyoming. Last week, Wisconsin became the latest state to pass a BBA resolution when the Senate approved it by a 19-14 margin. Passage in Wisconsin is significant as it is the home state of the John Birch Society. Congratulations are in order for Sens. Craig and Kapenga, the entire GOP caucus in Wisconsin, Tim Dake, and BBA man-on-the-ground, Loren Enns. The BBATF counts 28 live applications at this point.
The Compact for America passed in Arizona this year bringing its count to five states. US Term Limits made notable progress this year and will be back targeting 6-10 states in 2018.
On another notable front, 13 states have now passed some version of a Delegate Selection/Limitation Act. Five states (AZ OK TX WI WY) passed these bills in 2017. We expect that the trend will continue, and once 26 states are on board, there will be still another nail in the coffin of the runaway convention argument.
Thanks to all of the groups for your cooperation in making this report better. I continue to promote my theme of everyone working together whenever possible. When one group succeeds, we all do. The opposition has come together to focus their attack on the Article V movement. The various groups within our movement would be well-served to come together formally and discuss how we too can be united as we move forward.
My next report will likely come out around the first of February in 2018. Happy holidays to all. You earned a brief respite.
If I can ever be of assistance to any of you, please don’t hesitate to ask.
David F. Guldenschuh
Editor and Publisher
The Article V Convention Legislative Progress Report
Click on image to enlarge.
Click HERE for pdf.
Report of the Georgia Delegation to the Arizona BBA Planning Convention. Several delegations to the Phoenix Convention submitted formal reports to their state legislatures. This the formal report submitted to the Georgia legislature by the three official delegates from the State of Georgia.