November 2015 Newsletter

by | Nov 20, 2015 | AVC Newsletter

  • ASL Proposed Article V Rules Partly Completed
  • Natelson Sees Silver Lining in ASL Effort
  • Heartland Issues Policy Brief on the Article V Movement
  • New Article V Book by Judge Brennan Released
  • Wyoming Organizations Announce Support for a BBA
  • US Debt Now Nearing $18.5 Trillion
  • Florida Republican Group Calls for Convention on Term Limits
  • Compact Movement Adds FAQ Page to Its Web Site

ASL Proposed Article V Rules Partly Completed – 
It was about this time two years ago that a group of state legislators met at Mount Vernon, VA, for the stated purpose of developing a set of suggested rules and procedures under which a future Article V convention to propose amendments could operate.

They adopted the name Assembly of State Legislatures, Inc. (ASL) and spent many months just simply getting themselves organized… creating bylaws, formal leadership, and committees.  Since that first meeting of about 100 legislators, they have also met in Indiana, Washington, DC, and Denver (originally announced to be a meeting of the members, but ultimately was only a meeting of the ASL Executive Committee).

All 50 state legislatures were to be members, if their leadership appointed legislator delegates (up to six) to ASL meetings.  Some states have never appointed such delegates.  From the beginning, delegate appointment and leadership selection was on a carefully-crafted partisan basis, in an attempt to make the organization bi-partisan.

Behind the scenes, apparently without the formal assistance of any experts with knowledge of the history behind the kind of colony-led and state-led conventions that formed the basis for the fifth Article in the Constitution of 1787, their leadership began to draft a set of suggested convention rules.  Unfortunately, it tended to be a secretive process.

They called a meeting of their members for November 11-13 in Salt Lake City for the stated purpose of adopting their proposed rules.  Copies of their 18-page proposal were not distributed to members until about October 27.  One of the legislators who was on the ASL Rules Committee reported that “the document the ASL Executive Committee put out does not even come close to the committee’s recommendations.”

In the short time between receipt of the proposal and the Salt Lake meeting, ASL member legislators and other Article V activists began working on alternatives to various provisions in the proposed document.

The Salt Lake meeting drew some 83 legislators from 29 states (some reports vary, but that is the highest number of states recorded during initial voting) on the first day of the meeting.  ASL bylaws specify that a quorum for conducting business is 26 states.

Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser chaired the meeting.  Dozens of amendments to the proposed rules were offered and voted on.  Some observers say it was “like watching sausage being made”.  Most of the proposed partisan provisions were amended-out during that first day.  One important provision that was established by vote on that first day was: “In determining all questions in the convention, all votes shall be taken by state, and each state shall have one vote.

By mid-afternoon of the second day the number of states with delegates present dropped to 26, a minimum quorum for doing business.  By 5 PM other delegates left, causing the meeting to close.  The third day of the meeting was held as “a committee of the whole”, meaning that any decisions made were simply recommendations to a future meeting.  Ultimately the Utah meeting did not adopt a completed set of suggested rules.

ASL leaders indicated that their next meeting is likely to be held in some northeastern state, possibly as late as June 2016.

While the “sausage making” has not yet been completed, one observer stated “The Assembly of State Legislatures meeting in Salt Lake has adjourned after its most productive session.”

What has been adopted so far should put to rest any fears of a “runaway” Article V convention.  For more information on the Assembly, go to:

Natelson Sees Silver Lining in ASL Effort –
Rob Natelson, the widely-recognized expert on all things Article V, posted a new piece on the American Thinker blog after the Assembly of State Legislatures Utah meeting.

Under the title, “The Silver Lining in the Mistakes at the Assembly of State Legislatures” Natelson points out ASL “missteps”… several of which ASL membership has already corrected, some of which are yet to be corrected.  But he goes on to note that, “These missteps happened only in planning sessions, not in the convention itself.

Natelson points out that, “The more important constitutional proposals did not result from compromise between parties with radically different visions.  Significant reform came only after controversial proposals were presented for public consideration, and public consideration led to lopsided support.

Natelson’s entire article can be read HERE.

Heartland Issues Policy Brief on the Article V Movement –
The Heartland Institute headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois, has published a Policy Brief entitled: “The Article V Movement: A Comprehensive Assessment to Date and Suggested Approach for State Legislators and Advocacy Groups Moving Forward”.

The paper, written by attorney David Guldenschch, constitutes a comprehensive overview of the Article V movement… or as the report says, “the most consequential social movement occurring in the United States today”.

Guldenschch’s premise is that there is grassroots support for the various current efforts to bring about one or more amendments to the Constitution, but that there needs to be better coordination between the efforts.

A PDF version of the document is available for downloading and reading HERE.

The Policy Brief is a publication of the Heartland Institute’s Center for Constitutional Reform which was launched earlier this year to support all efforts to restore constitutional order in the United States.

New Article V Book by Judge Brennan Released –
Retired Judge Thomas Brennan, former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court conducted an interview about his recently released book, “The Article V Amendatory Constitutional Convention”.

Brennan was also the founder of the Cooley Law School and a co-founder of the Friends of Article V Convention.  He uses his new book to detail his views on how the provisions of Article V of the Constitution should be used to restore the Republic in the 21st Century.  His 43 minute interview can be heard and seen HERE.

Wyoming Organizations Announce Support for a BBA –
The Wyoming NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses) has issued a letter to Wyoming legislators on behalf of its members that calls for support of a BBA-focused application for an Article V convention.

The letter, signed by Tony Gagliardi, NFIB/Wyoming State Director and Bill McIlvain, former Speaker, Wyoming House of Representatives, points to a guest editorial in the November 4 edition of the Casper (Wyo.) Star Telegraph that outlines why Wyoming businesspeople want their legislature to join the call for a federal balanced budget.

The NFIB/Wyoming web site also contains content encouraging legislators to act on the proposal during their brief 2016 session.

The Star Telegraph editorial can be viewed HERE.

The NFIB/Wyoming web site can be visited HERE.

Meanwhile, the Wyoming Federation of College Republicans has unanimously voted to endorse the Wyoming Balanced Budget Amendment resolution.

US Debt Now Nearing 18.5 Trillion –
The November 4 edition of the Wolf Street blog carries a story entitled: “US Gross National Debt Jumps $340 Billion in One Day”. This blog is affiliated with David Stockman, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981-85) under President Ronald Reagan.

The writer notes that, “The debt ceiling was hit in March, and from that point forward, the Gross National Debt was stuck at about $18.15 trillion, give or take a couple of billion. But the government continued spending the money that Congress had told it to spend, though Congress also told the government not to issue more debt to pay for this spending. If this sort of debt-ceiling fight looks like a Congressional charade to the world outside the Beltway, it’s because it is a charade.

In late October, Congress agreed to raise the debt ceiling.  Immediately thereafter the Treasury then embarked on a flurry of activity, going on a debt-sales binge. “It made the accounting entries – adding $340 billion in one day to the Gross National Debt” (GND), says the writer, “bringing it to the new phenomenal level of $18.492 trillion.”

During fiscal 2015 (including October), the GND rose by $668 billion, up 3.7% over the period, growing nearly twice as fast as GDP, which the report indicates edged up just 1.95% from Q3 2014 to Q3 2015.

To read the entire story, click HERE.

Florida Republicans Call for Convention on Term Limits –
At its board meeting in late October, the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) of Florida unanimously backed a proposal in the Florida Legislature to hold an Article V convention to amend the U.S. Constitution for congressional term limits.

Bob White, Chairman of the group said, “Career politicians in Congress have stopped listening to the people.” He also said, “With a term limits convention we can restore the citizen legislature as our founders intended.”

Florida Sen. Aaron Bean and State Rep. Larry Metz are reportedly pushing a resolution in the Florida legislature to hold an Article V convention focused on congressional term limits.  For more information about RLC click HERE.

Compact Movement Adds FAQ Page to Its Web Site –
Nick Dranias, leader of the Compact for America (CfA) effort has announced that a new Frequently Asked Questions page has been added to the Compact for America website.

The new page consolidates into one location all of CfA’s best online resources related to its “Article V 2.0,” effort.  The new page can be found HERE.

What is America?

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Benjamin Franklin