January 2015 Newsletter

by | Jan 30, 2015 | AVC Newsletter

  • New Article V Information Web Site Launched
  • Two Endorsements Emerge for Compact for America Plan
  • Texas Legislator Ignores His Party’s Article V Naysayers
  • New U. S. House Rule Aimed at Helping Article V Drives 
  • 2015 – Becoming  the Year Article V Came Alive – Progress Reports from Article V groups
  • Can a Modern Day Nationwide Convention of States Really Happen?

New Article V Info Web Site –
The Denver-based Independence Institute (II) has opened a new web site dedicated to current information about Article V and efforts to use that provision in the U.S. Constitution.  It can be found on the new II site is a brief new paper by Constitutional Scholar Rob Natelson explaining the Article V Convention approach to Constitutional Amendments.  It is designed to be downloaded as an ideal 2-page, single sheet handout to be read by Article V newbies.  The site also includes links to many other important Article V-related documents.Forbes Article Endorses Compact for America Plan –
The December 16, 2014 edition of Forbes carried a piece by Columnist George Leef endorsing the Compact for America approach to the use of Article V “to fix the national debt”.

He says, “Look for a lot of action in state legislatures (during 2015) as advocates of restraining federal debt argue for joining the Compact, while interest groups that know a slowing of government spending would hurt them try to derail it with ‘the sky is falling’ claims.”

He concludes by saying, “The Compact for a Balanced Budget seems to be the best chance we have for avoiding default and disastrous inflation.”  Read his whole piece here.

During the first week of January retired Army Lt. Colonel (and former Congressman) Allen West also announced his endorsement of the Compact for America plan.  He said, “I join in supporting and endorsing the Compact for a Balanced Budget as a viable approach to rein in excessive and unprioritized federal government spending that threatens the legacy of liberty we pass on to subsequent generations of Americans.”

Texas Rep. Workman Resists GOP Committee –
According to the 12/23/14 edition of New Republic, worry-warts on the Texas GOP State Executive Committee approved a resolution calling for Republican Texas legislators to oppose the use of Article V conventions.  Click here to read the article.

In the face of that, on January 8, Texas Representative Paul Workman (a Republican), speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 13th annual Policy Orientation, announced his support to the calling for an Article V Convention of States for the purpose of adding a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Rep. Workman said he will file a Joint Resolution in the upcoming legislative session to reaffirm Texas’s 1977 application, and to make clear that Texans expect the federal government to live within its means.

“The State of Texas has a longstanding constitutional balanced budget requirement,” said Rep. Workman. “Living within our means has allowed the Texas economy to flourish and become the envy of the nation.  There is no reason the federal government cannot do the same thing.”

Meanwhile, The Convention of States folks report that Workman is also assisting them to get the CoS resolution introduced in the Texas legislature.

New U. S. House Rule Likely to Aid Article V Drives –
In the opening days of the new session of Congress, U. S. Rep. Steve Stivers’ (R-OH) proposed an amendment to the House Rules dealing with Article V applications.  The amendment passed by a vote on the House Floor.  It is not a continuing House Rule, but rather a Rule that applies during the current 2-year session of Congress.

Stivers’ rule change will help support the various nation-wide Article V efforts by creating a system for the U.S. House of Representatives to track, document and count the number of incoming Article V Constitutional Convention petitions from state legislatures.  Read the new Rule here.

Specifically, the rule creates a process for the intake of the petitions through the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and gives the Clerk’s Office the responsibility of making the petitions electronically available and organized by state of origin and year of receipt… and possibly by subject.  The new rule is intended to allow Congress, as well as the American people, to better track the progress of specific Article V efforts.  Prior to Stivers’ rule update, no formal process for cataloging the petitions existed.

“I am pleased my colleagues supported my addition to the House Rules this week,” Stivers said. “I believe a Balanced Budget Amendment is the only way to stop out-of-control government spending.  I hope the passage of this rule will put us one step closer to fiscal responsibility and the inclusion of the BBA in the United States Constitution.”

Stivers’ home state, Ohio, is one of 24 states that have already sent Congress their petition requesting a limited constitutional convention on the BBA.  Stivers is a strong supporter of Governor John Kasich’s (R-OH) efforts to encourage additional states to call for a limited constitutional convention on the Balanced Budget Amendment.

Reportedly, over the next few weeks Governor Kasich will be traveling to Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and other states to talk with legislators, urging them to support resolutions in their states calling for a BBA-focused Article V convention.

2015 – Becoming  the Year Article V Came Alive
Progress Reports from Article V groups –
What follows is a summary of progress by various Article V groups in the early days of the 2015 state legislative sessions:

The Balanced Budget Task Force ( reports that its resolution has already been filed in the following states –
Rep. Matthew Monforton is the primary sponsor of HJ4 which was filed on January 7 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
South Carolina:
Concurrent Resolution S. 30 was pre-filed by Senator Larry Grooms, and has been assigned to the Committee on Judiciary,
HJ 499, sponsored by Delegates LeMunyon, Morris, Ramadan, Albo, Anderson, Cole, Fowler, Greason, Head, Kilgore, Peace, Robinson, Stolle and Whitt has been filed with the Virginia legislature.
Rep. Tyler Lindholm is the prime sponsor of HJ4.  Rep Dan Laursen is another House sponsor.  In the Senate, Senators Ogden Driskill and Larry Hicks are the sponsors.  Reportedly, a companion DLA bill will also be introduced in Wyoming

Citizens for Self Governance reports that its Convention of States (CoS) ( resolution has already been filed in these states –
Rep. Dale Crafts has filed the CoS resolution in the House (bill number not available).
HCR5 was filed in the House by prime sponsor Mike Moon.
New Hampshire:
Rep. Dan Itse has filed the CoS resolution in the House (bill number not available).
South Carolina:
H3177 was filed in the House by prime sponsor Rep. Bill Taylor, and S198 was filed in the Senate by prime sponsor Senator Larry Grooms.
HJ497 has been filed in the House by prime sponsor Rep. Scott Lingamfelter, and Senator Ryan McDougle will be the prime sponsor in the Senate.

CoS has also announced that former Georgia State Representative Delvis Dutton has joined its staff as Regional Director for legislative affairs in southern states (as far west as Arizona).

The Citizen Initiatives group (proposers of the Countermand Amendment conducts a weekly Internet radio program where various invited guests (often state legislators) discuss Article V and the group’s proposed amendment.

The show runs on Tuesdays 9 to 10 PM (EST) and Fridays 8 to 9 PM (EST) on  They report an estimated 100,000 listeners.

Can a Modern Day Nationwide Convention of States Really Happen?
Some naysayers are convinced that it will not be possible to overcome the obstacles involved in bringing together an Article V convention to propose amendments.

When doubts arise, consider these words by Edgar Guest, a Poet Laureate from Detroit, Michigan:

It Couldn’t Be Done
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
     But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
     Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
     on his face.  If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
     That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
     At least no one ever has done it”,
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
     And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
     Without any doubting or quiddity,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
     That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
     There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
     The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
     Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
     That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.