- State Legislators Getting Fired Up About a Convention of States
- Ohio Became 20th State Applying for a Convention to Amend
- 2014 To Be Banner Year for Article V Applications
Progress Is Afoot...
The last few months of 2013 have been good for proponents of the use of Article V to re-establish a balance in American federalism.
More and more state legislator organizations and state legislators have recognized the wisdom of using Article V. The Mark Levin book and proposals have stirred growing legislative and grassroots support for state-initiated constitutional amendments.
Then the December 7 Mount Vernon Assembly of nearly 100 state legislators from 32 states started the ball rolling toward establishing protocols for a near future convention of states to formally consider constitutional amendments.
The Ralph Benko article in the December 9 edition of Forbes magazine is probably the best report on the Mount Vernon Assembly. Read it at:http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2013/12/09/the-big-political-story-of-2016-will-not-be-about-who-replaces-obama/. A follow-up Assembly is planned for the spring of 2014.
20 States Now Have Active Applications...
During November Ohio became the 20th state to adopt an application that can be aggregated toward the needed 34 states to trigger a convention of the states. These applications call for consideration of an amendment requiring the federal government to operate under a balanced budget.
The Ohio measure was approved in the Senate by a vote of 28 in favor to 3 opposed. The 28 included 7 of the 10 Democrat Senators. In the House the resolution passed by a vote of 63 to 30, again with strong bipartisan support.
Ohio Governor John Kasich said, "I think this is a simple clarion call for America to start getting its books in order, its house in order, and gain economic strength and let America really begin to take off in this century." Kasich went on to say, "Because you know what's holding us back? Debt, the threat of taxes, uncertainty..."
Ohio leaders issued a brief but powerful video on why they support a call for a convention of the states:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WemGRaVCBlg&feature=c4-overview&list=UUS6yG-bLRA9C8ayoPhE-HjQ.
Assuming the 34 state threshold is reached, the convention is held, a proposed amendment is offered to the states, and it is adopted... there is little doubt that the states will then use the Article V process to take other steps toward balancing the powers of states relative to the federal government, as the constitution contemplates.
2014 To Be Banner Year for Article V Applications...
Already state legislators across the US, in states that have yet to apply for a convention, are gearing up to introduce and pass resolutions applying for a convention of states.
In Idaho, Senator Marv Hagedorn (email@example.com, 208-867-5643) is leading the charge. In South Carolina, Senator Tom Young (TomYoung@scsenate.gov, 803- 649-0000) will be leading the effort.
In South Dakota Rep Hal Wick (firstname.lastname@example.org, 605-332-1360)will introduce his BBA resolution the first week of January... and his colleague Rep Manny Steele (email@example.com, 605-335-7036) will simultaneously introduce a Faithful Delegate Act. The I Am American team (see below) is headed to South Dakota January 5-6th to educate and mobilize grassroots folks in support of both bills.
These are just four of the several state legislators who plan to introduce resolutions for a state-led amendments convention in the weeks ahead. In each case these legislators welcome legislators from other states to contact them with support and help in their efforts.
Support Building at Grassroots Level...
Meanwhile, I Am American (http://iamamerican.info/), a grassroots organization supporting legislative efforts to bring about a convention of states has been active in a number of states. They are credited with building the needed citizen support in Ohio that led to that state's recent application, and in several other states.
Over the next couple months they will be working at the grassroots level to supportlegislators in the following states: SD, ID, SC, OK, TN, FL, LA, and AZ. They can be reached by e-mail at:info@iAmAmerican.orgÂ
Did You Know?
* That the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, hold that historical practice is a guide to interpreting Article V? (That's why so much Article V research focuses on historical practice.)
* That the 21st amendment (repealing Prohibition) was the only amendment for which Congress specified ratification by state conventions rather than legislatures?
* That despite warnings about how the convention process could be messy, in fact it worked well?
By Prof. Rob Natelson
Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence
Independence Institute & Montana Policy Institute