- Current Article V Activity Across the US –
Actions in Several Other States
- Act 2 – A Whole Different Approach to Using Article V
- A Great New Tool for Following Article V Progress
- An Important A5 Memorandum for Legislators
- Federalism Brings Decision-Making Closer to Voters
- Assistance in Selling the Need for an Article V/BBA
The last four weeks saw a lot of Article V activity within state legislative chambers across the US. That activity resulted in progress for some A5 groups while some of that activity resulted in setbacks.
The most prominent progress was the formal adoption of new Article V applications in three states.
South Dakota and Utah Adopt BBA-focused Article V Applications –
On 2/17 South Dakota became the 25th state to adopt the BBA Task Force resolution (HJR1001) by a vote of 19 to 13. The SD House had earlier approved the joint resolution by a vote of 39 to 31. South Dakota also adopted HB1089, a faithful delegate act, by a vote of 21 to 11. Similar acts are now in place in 6 states (FL, GA, IN, SD, TN and UT). Reportedly 20 other states are currently debating similar bills.
Under the leadership of Senator Curtis Bramble, Senator Wayne Niederhauser and Rep. Kraig Powell…on the afternoon of Friday March 6 the Utah Senate voted 15 to 13 to approve HJR 7, another BBA-focused application, which had been earlier approved by the Utah House… becoming the 26th state making such an application. That leaves just 8 more states needed to activate an Article V convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the US constitution. BBA Task Force web site: http://www.bba4usa.org/
NJ Applies for A5 Convention to Overturn Citizens United Decision –
On 2/23 the New Jersey General Assembly adopted SCR132 by a vote of 44 to 25. The NJ Senate had earlier approved the resolution. It calls for an Article V convention “for the sole, specific and exclusive purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that would limit the corrupting influence of money in our political system”.
The movement, under the name Wolf-PAC and led by its founder Cenk Uygur (host of “The Young Turks” Internet-based radio talk show) has now attracted four states to file similar A5 applications (the other three are Vermont, California and Illinois). They report that they have applications filed in 19 states. Primary thrust of the group is the overturning of the Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court. Web site: http://www.wolf-pac.com/
Other Article V Developments This Past Month –
On 2/17 with a bi-partisan vote of 70 to 20, the North Dakota House approved HCR 3015, another resolution calling for a BBA-focused A5 convention. The House also approved A5 proposals from the Convention of States (CoS) Project, Compact for America (CfA) and Citizen Initiatives (Countermand Amendment). ND Senate action on these measures is expected on or about March 19.
Led by State Rep. Gary Banz, in late February the House Rules Committee in Oklahoma approved HJR1018, a BBA-focused resolution, by a vote of 8 to 2. Then on 3/11 the full OK House voted 53 to 42 to approve the measure. It now goes to the OK Senate for consideration.
Strong A5 campaigns for multiple A5 proposals (BBA, CoS, Wolf-PAC) in Montana and Wyoming (BBA, CoS, Compact for America) all went down to defeat during the past few weeks. Those states saw heavy A5 opposition by John Birch Society lobbyists.
The New Hampshire legislature killed HR3, the Convention of States (CoS) resolution and HR5, the Countermand Amendment (Citizen Initiatives) proposal. This legislature also considered HCR1, a proposal to rescind all previous A5 applications (in 2012 NH adopted a BBA/Article 5 application). On March 3 the NH House Legislative Admin Committee voted 7 to 2 to recommend to the full House to kill the bill. The Wolf-PAC resolution (HCR2) passed the House Committee in New Hampshire but appears to have stalled at the House floor.
In recent weeks the CoS proposal was also considered but lost, killed or was withdrawn in the state legislatures of Utah, Virginia, and Indiana. Likewise the Countermand proposal was considered but lost in Utah. The CfA proposal was tabled in a New Mexico House committee.
The Citizen Initiatives group reports that its Countermand resolutions have been filed (in addition to references above) in AK, NM and UT. In addition to listings above, the Compact for America proposal has passed in the Mississippi Senate, the Arizona House, the Arkansas House, and has been filed in FL, MS, NM, OK, and TX.
The Convention of States Project (in addition to above references) has had its proposal approved in the Arizona House, and has been filed in AR, IN, KA, KY, MA, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NM, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, and WV.
Act 2 – A Whole Different Approach to Using Article V –
Like so many other Americans, retired Colorado business executive Frank Keeney and his wife Carol see that the federal government is in serious disarray. They have taken their observations and created what they call “The Act 2 Blueprint” that seeks to correct “the underlying causes of our government dysfunction.”
Among their multi-point approach is creation of a fourth branch of federal government… what they call The Democracy Branch “a sanctuary where key government functions are shielded from partisan meddling… empowered to discipline the bureaucracy… moving many functions beyond the political reach of the President and Congress… supervised by a panel of state governors, thus rendering it independent of the federal government.”
A Great New Tool for Following Article V Progress –
Georgia attorney David Guldenschuh has been advocating for the use of Article V for many years. In 2014 he was the Legislative Liaison Director for the Convention of States (CoS) Project. In 52 days he was successful in leading the Georgia legislature to be the first state to adopt the CoS resolution for an Article V convention.
Guldenschuh (pronounced “Gulden-Shoe”) was recognized by Atlanta Magazine as one of “Georgia’s Top Lawyers – 2014”. He has carried the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory “AV” rating since 1992 (AV is the Directory’s highest legal and ethical rating… based on a survey of competing lawyers and local judges).
David also works with the BBA Task Force where he currently serves as “Special Counsel”.
In recent weeks Guldenschuh has developed what he calls the “Article V Convention Progress Report”. The chart lists 9 current Article V campaigns and their progress through state legislatures. It is his intent to update the report every Friday. The most recent version of his chart can be found HERE.
An Important Memorandum for Legislators –
Legislators looking for a thoughtful, authoritative single memo that documents why Article V Applications can safely be relied upon will want to see: “Why an Article V Application for a Balanced Budget Amendment is Safe”.
The 3-page memorandum was written by attorney Mike Stern. It was prepared on February 15, 2015 for a state legislator who was concerned about a possible “runaway convention”. It is a concise review of the many reasons such concerns are unmerited, unnecessary, and unneeded.
Stern served as a counsel to Congress for many years, including 8 years as Senior Counsel to the US House of Representatives. Since leaving the Hill, he has written extensively on a variety of legal issues related to Congress and the legislative process, including the Article V process for proposing amendments initiated by the state legislatures.
He points out that the authority granted by the Framers in Article V to propose constitutional amendments was given to the state legislatures to deal with issues Congress will not address… namely those that reduced its own power or to protect the interests of the states versus the federal government.
As he says, “This authority is no greater that Congress’s authority to propose amendments. To the contrary, it is subject to even more checks and balances that make the notion of a ‘runaway convention’” entirely fantastical.”
Read and print Stern’s Memorandum to Legislators HERE.
Also… take a look at “The Compelling Case For A BBA” 4-minute video produced by I Am American in conjunction with Mike Stern. See it HERE.
Federalism Brings Decision-Making Closer to Voters –
It is a few months old now, but a recent CATO Institute public policy analysis on federalism, by John Samples and Emily McClintock Ekins, is worth bringing to the attention of our readers. It is entitled “Public Attitudes toward Federalism – The Public’s Preference for Renewed Federalism”.
The 40-page study points out that while the public tended to support increased centralization of power in Washington in the early to mid-1900s, public opinion about federalism has changed. Voters are now more supportive of decentralized policymaking on many issues.
The article says, “Contemporary federalists argue that moving decision making closer to the voters will be more efficient, pragmatic, and responsive because government officials will be in closer proximity to the voters affected by their decisions”.
Read the study HERE.
Assistance in Selling the Need for an Article V/BBA –
Loren Enns, one of the co-founders of the BBA Task Force, and co-founder of the I Am American group, has written an informative backgrounder to assist South Carolina legislators overcome Article V opposition by groups like the John Birch Society.
He is prepared to write and distribute a variation of that publication to the legislators in any state where an Article V/BBA supportive legislator requests. Just send him your BBA resolution number and particulars of what groups are opposing it in your state. He will customize a version of the document, and get your feedback before he sends it out.
No Compromise – A Time For Choosing
TRUTH has no agenda ~ nor does it NEED one.
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth,
or we will sentence them to take the first step
into a thousand years of darkness.
If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us
we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”
~ Ronald Reagan