- Assembly of State Legislatures Plans to Finalize A5 Rules
- Congressman Introduces A5 Recordkeeping Legislation
- Texas Governor’s Book Tour Promotes Use of Article V
- Texans Add Pro-Article V Plank to State GOP Platform
- The Real Reason JBS Opposes Article V
- Greek Citizens Anguish Over Austerity Measures
- Colorado Briefly Considers US Term Limit Bill
- Delaware Rescinds All Prior Article V Applications
- Massachusetts Democrats Push for Article V Application
- Is a BBA Ahead for Japan?
- Former Dem Consultant Dick Morris Advocates for BBA
Assembly of State Legislatures Will Meet to Finalize A5 Rules –
The Assembly of State Legislatures (ASL) will meet in Philadelphia June 16 and 17 in what the organization describes as “the final phase of the Assembly’s rules writing process” and will attempt to wrap up its work on suggested rules for a future Article V convention of states. The group last met in Salt Lake City in November.
To see the most recent draft of the proposed ASL rules, go to http://theasl.org/, and click on “Read the Draft”.
Congressman Introduces Article V Recordkeeping Legislation –
On May 24 Indiana Congressman Luke Messer introduced bipartisan legislation, the Article V Records Transparency Act (HR 5306). It is designed to ensure states are able to exercise their authority under Article V of the Constitution by restructuring the recordkeeping process of Article V applications.
Messer notes that “since the founding of our country, states have submitted hundreds of convention applications on a variety of topics. Unfortunately, the federal government has never kept track of these applications. And subsequently, not even the National Archives—the chief record keeping agency of the federal government—knows how many applications actually exist.”
“The current recordkeeping process for these Article V state applications is grossly inadequate,” Messer said. “In crafting the Constitution, the Founders intended for the amendment process to be difficult, but not impossible. Without an official count of how many valid state applications exist, it is virtually impossible for the states to effectuate their authority under the Constitution.”
HR 5306, reportedly supported by a broad group of Congressmen on both sides of the aisle, requires the National Archives to find every state application and rescission within two years, and transmit them to Congress. The bill then requires the Chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to post those applications and rescissions on a public website, which would serve as the official database for all Article V records.
While Prof. Rob Natelson, considered by many to be the country’s most renowned Article V scholar, notes that “By necessary implication, Article V requires Congress to tally applications, correlate them by subject matter, keep track of any state legislative rescissions thereof, and store them appropriately. […] However, Congress has never adopted a consistent and workable procedure for receiving or storing those applications and rescissions. This bill fills that gap [in recordkeeping].”
For the full text of HR 5306, click HERE.
Texas Governor’s Book Tour Promotes Use of Article V –
In mid-May Texas Governor Greg Abbott opened a 19-city tour to promote his new book, “Broken But Unbowed: The Fight to Fix a Broken America”. It was released on May 17.
The book details his story of overcoming the challenges of personal adversity and casts a vision of how, as a nation, America can restore the Constitution and address many of the problems the country faces today. He says he uses his story “to describe the ways in which we as a people in this country can address the challenges we face and overcome them and chart an even better pathway for the future of America.”
Several years ago Abbott was severely injured when a huge oak tree crashed down on his back, fracturing vertebrae into his spinal cord, leaving him forever unable to walk. The book weaves together an inspirational personal story about his perseverance after that accident, and a legal argument on why the Constitution needs to be amended to restore the balance of power between the states and what he views as a power-hungry federal government.
In January Abbott issued what he calls the “Texas Plan” in a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The Plan calls for nine amendments to the Constitution through the use of Article V “to restore the balance of power between the states and the United States.”
“We face entrenched constitutional violations that require constitutional solutions,” Abbott says. “My hope is that after reading `Broken But Unbowed,’ Americans will join the fight to restore lawful freedom and fix our country’s foundation.”
“I think most Americans agree we cannot count on the United States Congress to do anything right anymore. The Congress are the ones who have sunk this nation $19 trillion into debt. I believe that we will have enough states who will agree that it is time to rein in an overspending Congress and have a balanced budget amendment so that Congress will not destroy this nation with the debt they have sunk us into.”
The 320-page book is being sold in bookstores and online HERE.
All of the net proceeds from “Broken but Unbowed” will be donated to Operation Finally Home, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to wounded, ill or injured veterans and widows and their families.
Texans Add Article V-supportive Plank to State GOP Platform –
At the May 13 Texas GOP state convention, delegates approved a plank in the party’s platform calling for the Texas Republican Party to support the use of Article V to propose constitutional amendments. The measure was supported by more than 80% of the 8,000 attendees.
The Texas GOP platform plank reads:
We support the Bill of Rights as written by our Founding Fathers and assert the authority of the 10th amendment. We urge our Texas State Legislators to call for a limited Article V Convention of States for the specific purpose of reducing the power of the federal government, including implementation of term limits. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by 3/4 of the states.
Republican leaders around the country are working to get a similar plank in the GOP platform at the national convention in July.
The Real Reason JBS Opposes Article V –
On May 22, Convention of States (CoS) advocate Rodney Dodsworth posted an excellent piece on the Article V Blog, opining that “Near the core of John Birch Society opposition to an Article V convention of the states is mistrust of the American people.”
He says, “This isn’t to say JBS doesn’t support amending the Constitution – as long as congress proposes the amendments. Shall our nation actually believe congress will purposely divest itself of a corrupt racket in power and money that serves its members so well?”
Read Dodsworth’s entire piece HERE.
Under the title “America, the Founders’ Dream, and the Nightmare of Decline” at American Thinker, on May 24 another CoS supporter, Steve McCann, suggests that “The solution to prevent the United States from continuing to evolve into the latest example of the rise and fall of great nations lies in its founding and an understanding of the foibles of human nature.”
The author, who immigrated from Europe to the United States in 1951, reflects on his own experiences with declining governments and his observations that the provisions of Article V must be used to stop that from happening to the US. He says, “The continent from which I emigrated is in a death spiral.”
He notes: “America is living out the scenario the Founders feared, as they knew whatever framework they created would be viable only as long as the citizenry remained vigilant, informed and a just and moral people. Anticipating that at some point in history what is happening today would occur, these men provided a mechanism within the Constitution to peacefully change course and return power to the people if the American people choose to do so.”
Read McCann’s observations HERE.
Greek Citizens Anguish Over Austerity Measures –
A May 10 report by Helena Smith, writing from Athens for The Guardian, catalogued how difficult life has become for Greek citizens as their government austerity measures attempt to compensate for decades of government over-spending.
Athens shop owner Kostis Nakos was reported as saying, “My income tax has just gone up to 29%, my social security payments have gone up 20%, my pension has been cut by 50 euros; they are taxing coffee, fuel, the internet, tavernas, ferries, everything they can, and then there’s Enfia [the country’s much-loathed property levy]. Now that makes me mad. They said they would take that away!”
The Greek debt-to-GDP was 109% in 2008. Reportedly, the US debt-to-GDP is now 107%. That’s why so many political and civic activists are working hard to use the provisions of Article V to stop the US from becoming the next Greece.
As BBA Task Force Co-Founder Tom Llewellyn (Michigan) says, “The longer a country waits to fix the problem, the more painful and teeth-gnashing the process to correct years of government excesses and the associated reckless spending of corrupt politicians.”
“Fiscal irresponsibility is always ruinous and painful to fix. Racing over the fiscal cliff can be stopped, but history shows us, this will never be corrected by those at the heart of the problem. It has been a mistake to exclusively rely on Congress to do the hard work necessary to correct this matter. A change in direction can only be forced on such a central authority from the states.”
Three different groups are currently working to use the provisions of Article V to instill a balanced budget provision in the US Constitution. They are: the BBA Task Force, Convention of States, and Compact for America. Click on each name to learn more about each effort. The “Texas Plan” (referenced above) has not yet formally kicked off its drive, but it too seeks a BBA.
The entire Guardian article can be read HERE.
Colorado Briefly Considered the US Term Limit Bill –
In early May Colorado Senator Kevin Lundberg and State Rep. Jonathan Singer introduced SJR16-040, the US Term Limits Article V application resolution.
There was no action on the bill prior to the time the Colorado Legislature adjourned for the year on May 11. The sponsors plan to re-introduce the bill in 2017.
For more information about the US Term Limits proposal, click HERE.
Delaware Rescinds All Prior Article V Applications –
Eight Article V applications by the Delaware General Assembly were wiped off the books on May 3 when the Delaware Senate voted 16 to 4 to support House Concurrent Resolution 60 rescinding all prior Article V applications. The House adopted the measure during April by a vote of 25 to 11.
The rescission was the first reversal in the Article V movement in recent years, and primarily impacts the BBA4USA effort which had just reached 29 active applications when Oklahoma adopted its joint BBA/CoS application. There are now 28 active BBA applications.
The eight prior Article V applications by Delaware dated back to the early 1900s. Article V expert Rob Natelson of the Independence Institute says, “This is basically a non-event, and may even be a positive. The Delaware application was an old one that applied only for a BBA with certain specific wording. It probably was not a valid application, and even if it was, it was clearly not aggregable with other applications.”
Massachusetts Democrats Push for Article V Application –
According to the May 6 Eagle-Tribune, the Methuen Massachusetts Democratic City Committee is urging state legislators to pledge support for the WolfPAC-promoted Article V application to overturn the Supreme Court‘s Citizens United decision.
Bill H3127, known as the “We the People Act,” asserts that constitutional rights belong to “human individuals only,” language that directly conflicts with the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC, when the court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that the First Amendment bars limits on campaign contributions by corporations or nonprofit organizations.
Read the Eagle-Tribune article HERE.
Is a BBA Ahead for Japan? –
The May 27 edition of The Japan News carries an article headlined “Amending the Constitution / Lawmakers mull whether to enact fiscal discipline provisions.” It reports that Japanese political leaders are considering the addition of some type of balanced budget or fiscal discipline provision in their constitution.
The story reports that “Members of both the ruling and opposition parties both agreed that a fiscal discipline provision also must be considered in Japan, which has issued deficit-covering bonds to an extent dozens of times greater than Greece.”
The article reported on a May 4 meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two leaders discussed major agenda items such as structural reform and monetary policy. Germany has recorded budget surpluses since 2012, and has issued no new government bonds in 2015. Its ability to avoid borrowing has reinforced its position as the European Union’s economic powerhouse.
The author says Germany’s “excellent fiscal discipline is largely due to its Constitution — the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany. In July 2009, the German government led by a grand coalition passed a constitutional amendment that included a balanced budget clause requiring federal and state governments to balance expenditures with revenues. Other provisions state that bonds may only be issued in times of disaster or emergency and must obtain parliamentary approval.”
Read the entire article HERE.
Former Dem Consultant Dick Morris Advocates for BBA Effort –
In his May 2 “Morris Podcast”, Dick Morris encouraged viewers to support the BBA effort. He said, “There’s an exciting initiative for the balanced budget amendment that is picking up momentum and could well pass.” Morris was a friend and advisor to Bill Clinton during his time as Governor of Arkansas. He became a political adviser to the White House after Clinton was elected president in 1992.
Morris noted, “If we are able to open the door with this, this could be a way to address the imbalance between state and federal power that we now see in our governmental system”.
He described the BBA movement as “a fascinating effort, both because of the importance of a balanced budget with a $20 trillion debt and close to a trillion dollar deficit year after year, and it’s also very important in terms of providing a way for the states to assert power and rein-in the federal government.”
“I think it is worth supporting and getting involved in,” he said. Watch the 4½ minute Morris podcast HERE.
Who said this?
which must ultimately endanger all government”
Concerned about continuing high levels of federal financial obligations, this prominent US leader asked Congress for plans to retire public debt.