- Article V Was Prime Topic in DC during First Days of December
- 2015: ‘The Year Article Five Came Alive’ – 9 Groups Are Ready
- National Debt Now Exceeds $18 Trillion
- Ohio Governor John Kasich will Hit the Road Promoting a BBA
- Links to Current Article V Reportage
By Colorado Senator Kevin Lundberg –
Over the first days of December Article V was front and center for several significant meetings in our nation’s Capital. On Dec. 4, as a part of a conference for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), author and radio host Mark Levine gave the keynote speech for the breakfast meeting of state legislators. With several hundred legislators in attendance, Mr. Levine forcefully argued for the necessity of an Article V Convention of the States. See and hear Levine’s 34-minute presentation here.Levine’s presentation was followed by a standing-room-only workshop conducted by the Convention of the States (CoS) leadership.The following day another Article V workshop (also well attended) was held at the ALEC conference by the Compact for America (CfA) organization. On Saturday, Dec. 6, at the same hotel the Balanced Budget Amendment Taskforce (BBATF) held an information session for state legislators and other advocates for Article V. The 40-50 leaders who attended that meeting spent all morning developing strategies to find the final 10 states they need to complete the list of 34 states applying for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment.
On Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 8 and 9, the Assembly of State Legislatures met in Washington DC to discuss and adopt bylaws for the organization, appoint the first co-presidents (MO State Senator Jason Holsman and WI State Representative Chris Kapenga) for the organization, consider reports from subcommittees, and debate other details of the Assembly’s mission to develop suggested rules for an Article V convention. It was reported at the meeting that 29 states were represented by the 75 legislators in attendance.
Click here for a link to view and hear the five-hour C-span video of the Assembly’s day one of the two-day meeting.
2015: The Year Article Five Came Alive
It appears that the 2015 state legislative sessions will see more calls for an Article V convention of states than ever before. All across the country the second option for amending the US Constitution is getting substantial attention.
Reportedly, nine Article V-related groups currently have active efforts underway. Most of them have been working hard behind the scene to hit the ground running on January 1, 2015.
Here is an update on the above referenced Article V efforts (in alphabetic order):
Americans for Congressional Reform –
Their proposed amendments: Term Limits Amendment and Equal Application of the Law Amendment. The Term Limit proposal seeks to limit US House members to 8 consecutive years and US Senators to 12 consecutive years. The Equal Application of the Law proposal reads: “Congress shall make no law applicable to the citizens of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress”.
The group is new, so no states have yet adopted their proposed resolutions.
BBA Task Force –
Their proposed amendment: Balance Budget Amendment (BBA). The BBATF proposal calls for a convention of states that would craft and propose an amendment to the US Constitution that requires the federal government to operate under a balanced budget, and sets other related fiscal constraints on the federal government.
BBATF reports that 24 states have adopted resolutions that can be aggregated toward the 34 needed to activate a BBA-focused convention of states.
Visit http://www.bba4usa.org/ for samples of their proposed Article V resolutions, a sample Delegate Limitation Act and background information, or contact David Biddulph, firstname.lastname@example.org, 386-478-9304.
Citizen Initiatives –
Their proposed amendment: The Countermand Amendment. Their recommended resolution proposes that “State Legislatures in the several States shall have the authority to Countermand and rescind any Congressional statute, Judicial decision, Executive Order, government agency’s regulatory ruling, or any other government mandate imposed on them when in the opinion of 60 percent of State Legislatures the law or ruling adversely affects their States’ interest. When the Countermand threshold has been reached, the law or ruling shall be immediately and automatically nullified and repealed. This Countermand authority shall also apply to existing laws and rulings… .”
The group is new, so no states have yet adopted their proposed resolutions. CI reports that it has legislators in the following 15 states committed to sponsor/file their resolution during the 2015 sessions: AK, AZ, AR, GA, KS, LA, NH, NM, NC, ND, OK, SD, TX, UT and WV.
Visit http://www.countermands.us or http://www.citizeninitiatives.
Compact for America Educational Foundation, Inc. (501c3)
and Compact for America, Inc. (501c4) –
Their proposed Article V-related action: Compact for a Balanced Budget. The Compact for a Balanced Budget is an agreement among the states to advance and ratify a pre-drafted Balanced Budget Amendment. The agreement allows the states to agree upon the amendment to be proposed at the Article V convention it organizes, to settle all questions of process in advance of the convention, and to consolidate the necessary legislation into a single bill. The CfA team developed and vetted the Compact legislation between April 2012 and January 2014, securing approval from ALEC for the Compact as model legislation in December 2012, and endorsements from George Will and Judge Andrew Napolitano in April 2014.
The CfA team did not commence any significant legislative efforts in until part way through the 2014 legislative session. The group reports that its proposal has been adopted in AK and GA.
Visit www.compactforamerica.org or www.compactforamerica-action.
Citizens for Self-Governance: Convention of States Project –
Their proposed amendments: Convention of States (CoS) Project. The CoS application calls for “a convention of the states limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States 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 CoS Project sets out topics for the convention to consider rather than specific amendments. They report, “This allows the convention to consider the problem of federal overreach as a whole and propose a complete package of restraints on the federal government. The Convention itself, subject to instructions issued to it by the states, would decide which particular amendments would accomplish this goal.”
The CoS resolution has already been adopted in AK, FL, and GA. The CoS team reports that one or more legislators in the following 26 states have committed to sponsor and introduce a resolution for the COS application during 2015: AL, AR, AZ, CO, IA, KS, LA, MA, ME, MI, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, and WV.
Visit www.conventionofstates.com or www.conventionofstates.com/
I Am American –
Their proposed amendment: Fair Tax Amendment (FTA). The citizen-based I Am American group is currently focusing its grassroots efforts on promoting the BBATF amendment. However, it is simultaneously promoting an Article V proposal for “an amendment to the Constitution of the United States which repeals the Sixteenth Amendment thereby abolishing the Income Tax and requires Congress to establish a new uniform system of taxation for the national government which is fair and equitable to all, without prejudice against nor favoritism toward any individual, group or enterprise, which is transparent and clearly understood by the people.”
The group is actively supported by former presidential candidate and syndicated radio talk show host Herman Cain. Ultimately the group plans to promote a Term Limits amendment as well. The group is currently focusing on promoting the BBATF proposal, and has yet to have its new Fair Tax Amendment proposal considered in any state. However they report that they have legislators in the following 5 states who have committed to sponsoring/filing their Fair Tax Amendment resolutions during 2015 legislative sessions: FL, MI, NM, TN, and SC.
Visitwww.IAmAmerican.org for samples of their Article V resolution and background information. For specific questions, contact Loren Enns – 407-937-9950 email@example.com or “Typhoon” Lou Marin – 321-228-2800 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Restoring Freedom.Org –
Their proposed amendment: The National Debt Relief Amendment (NDRA). The NDRA application calls for adoption of a specifically-worded amendment: “An increase in the federal debt requires approval from a majority of the legislatures of the separate States.”
This campaign has been in operation since 2011. Two states have adopted the NDRA resolution: LA and ND
Visithttp://restoringfreedom.org/ for a sample of their Article V resolution and background information. For specific questions, contact the NDRA National Spokesman, former ND State Senator Curtis Olafson – 701-265 2356. Email: email@example.com.
Single Subject Amendment PAC –
Their proposed amendment: Single Subject Amendment. The amendment proposed by this group would provide that every law enacted by Congress shall embrace only one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title.
Although this group is new, their proposal has already been adopted by FL (CS/HM 261 passed the Legislature in 2014).
Visit www.SingleSubjectAmendment.com for a sample of their Article V resolution and background information. For specific questions, contact the founder of this effort, W. S. “Spider” Webb, Jr. Mr. Webb can be reached on his Cell: 850-694-2607. E-mail is: SpiderW@
Wolf PAC –
Their proposed amendment: Free and Fair Elections Amendment. The recommended resolution posted on this group’s web site simply calls for an Article V convention “for proposing amendments” (not limited to any particular topic or subject). However, VT, the first state to respond to the Wolf PAC request reportedly adopted a resolution calling for a convention “for the sole purpose of proposing amendments … that would limit the corrupting influence of money in our electoral process … overturning the Citizens United decision.”
Wolf PAC reports that CA has also adopted Resolution AJR1, a version of their proposed resolution. Its application is “for the sole purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would limit corporate personhood for purposes of campaign finance and political speech and would further declare that money does not constitute speech and may be legislatively limited…”. They also report that a similar resolution has been adopted in IL. Wolf-PAC reports that its proposal is pending in eight other states.
Visit www.wolf-pac.com for a sample of their Article V resolution and background information. For specific questions, contact Mike Monetta – 603-812-8173 – mike@wolf-PAC.com.
The National Debt Now Exceeds $18 Trillion
Earlier this month the national debt surpassed the $18 trillion mark. The debt was at $10.6 trillion in early 2009 but has increased by 70 percent during the past six years.
The federal debt is the sum of two numbers. The first is $12.92 trillion in public debt, which consists of all the outstanding Treasury bills, notes and bonds held by individuals, corporations, foreign governments and others. The second is the $5.08 trillion in so-called “intra-governmental” holdings, special securities held by U.S. government trust funds and special funds – or basically IOUs from the federal government for money that it “borrowed” from Social Security and Medicare.
Ohio Governor John Kasich to Tour Country Promoting a BBA
According to the December 11 edition of The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, Gov. John Kasich “will hit the road to lobby for a federal constitutional amendment to balance the national budget.” His first stop was in Arizona, with more stops in Idaho and Utah. He says he believes Congress lacks the political will to balance the books, so he is supporting the use of Article V to obtain a BBA. Read the full story here and see a video of his 30-minute presentation in Arizona here.
Kasich was also featured in a November 11 Time Magazine article, telling of his intent to campaign for a BBA. Read that piece here.
Links to Current Article V Exposure & Analysis
- Professor Rob Natelson’s most recent article on the problems and solutions related to drafting an effective BBA was published by the American Thinker on 12/1/2014. Read it here. Another Natelson piece, on the history of the Magna Carta, entitled “The Greatest Constitutional Document of All Time” was published by the American Thinker on 12/15/2014. Read it here.
- The 12/11/2014 edition of The Hill carried an in-depth piece called “Can the Debt be Stopped” by Dr. Barry Poulson (professor emeritus in economics at the Univ. of Colo.) and John Merrifeld (professor of economics at the Univ. of Texas/San Antonio). They offer their suggestions for a “debt/deficit brake” for the US federal government. Read it here.
- It includes a number of inaccurate statements, but on 12/11/2014 The Week carried a brief piece reflecting how many state legislatures are now talking about adopting resolutions for an Article V convention of states. Read it here.
- The 12/8/2014 edition of Investor’s Business Daily carried an article by Bryan Anderson (Executive Director for Americans for Congressional Reform [see above]) entitled “States Move Forward with Plan to Alter Constitution” about the Assembly of State Legislatures and the various Article V efforts currently under way. Read it here.