Washington is the problem, and the states have a solution.
The Assembly of State Legislatures met today at the Naval Heritage Center to discuss rules for an Article V convention, their third meeting in a year’s time.
“An Article V convention offers us the best opportunity to propose solutions that Congress is either unwilling or unable to offer,” said Sen. Jason Holsman of Missouri, speaking to 75 state legislators representing 29 states.
C-SPAN broadcast the proceedings live on its website where the recording is now posted.
The Assembly of State Legislatures is made up of current state legislators who are working to propose a set of procedural rules for an Article V convention. Under Article V of the constitution, states can call a convention to propose amendments to the constitution once two-thirds (34) of the states file similar resolutions.
“There is a centralization of power that always ends in abuse,” said Rep. Chris Kapenga, a Republican from Wisconsin, who was elected co-President of the assembly. For Kapenga and the rest of the members of the Assembly of State Legislatures, Article V is the last, best way to check the federal government’s overreach.
“Our problems are bigger than the partisanship that has gridlocked in Washington DC,” Sen. Holsman said emphatically to applause.
“To take a load off of the shoulders of that convention, we are putting a structure and a model together,” Rep. Kapenga said. Those rules, once officially proposed, would have to be ratified by the state legislatures who participate in an Article V convention in order to be binding.
“Once the convention’s called, we will have a set of recommendations (the delegates) can adopt or change, but they won’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Rep. Kelly Townsend of Arizona said in an interview with Red Millennial.
Townsend told Red Millennial that the reason there has never been an Article V convention is the problem of the “how.” The Assembly of State Legislatures is seeking to solve that problem.
Rep. Townsend is serving as Chair of the Subcommittee on Communication for the assembly. She is working with other legislators to educate the public, as well as other legislators, about the Article V process.
The Assembly of State Legislatures will meet again Tuesday to discuss a set of bylaws for the organization, as well as rules and procedures for an Article V convention.
Sen. Holsman reiterated the need for non-partisanship: “I consider myself a Progressive Democrat, but the problems are great enough that we must set down our party labels and put on our work boots.” Holsman, a Democrat from Missouri was elected co-President to represent his party in the assembly’s executive leadership.
“There’s a commitment on the part of the organization as a whole to have a representative balance in the leadership,” Rep. Townsend, a Republican, told Red Millennial. “We’re reaching out. This isn’t going to be one-sided.”
“This is really the only limitation we’re going to ever see on the federal government,” said Rep. Brett Hildabrand of Kansas. In an interview with Red Millennial, Rep. Hildabrand noted that The Liberty Amendments, a book by Mark Levin, has brought significant attention to the movement. Levin is a constitutional expert and attorney who served in the Reagan administration. He now has a nationally syndicated radio program.
“Mark Levin’s book has generated a lot of buzz, and my hope is that meetings like this will keep that going,” said Hildabrand. While he emphasized he did not agree with everything in the book, he did say, “There are a lot of the things in The Liberty Amendments that are worth looking at.”
Mark Levin recently spoke to a group of several hundred state legislators, imploring them to “take your power back.” He said that his book is meant to show them “what’s possible” at an Article V convention.
According to Hildabrand, the Assembly of State Legislatures is also working to track Article V resolutions that are passed by state legislatures.
“Congress does not have an accurate record of how many petitions they have received from the states regarding Article V legislation, probably because it’s not in their interests to keep track of something that’s going to limit their power,” he said.
The Assembly of State Legislatures is not aligning itself with any particular Article V organization or movement. However, Rep. Townsend told Red Millennial that she will file the Convention of States Project resolution in the upcoming session for the Arizona House.
The Convention of States Project resolution calls for an Article V convention that would “impose fiscal restraints on the the Federal Government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the Federal Government, and limit the terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress.” Red Millennial has endorsed Convention of States Project and their resolution, because we think it’s the best way the people can take their power back from a runaway federal government.
Convention of States Project’s resolution has been passed by the state legislatures of Alaska, Georgia, and Florida. They see their resolution being proposed in 20 or more states in the coming year.
Townsend’s resolution was passed by the Arizona House last year, but Senate President Andy Biggs refused to allow a vote on the Senate floor due to his fears of a “runaway convention.” Townsend is currently collecting signatures to co-sponsor her bill. Townsend told us in a previous interview that she will continue to fight for this resolution as long as she is a member of the Arizona House.
Rep. Hildabrand acknowledged that there has been some disinformation about Article V that has led to some undue fear.
“There are many patriotic citizens out there who have a fear of a runaway convention,” Hildabrand told us. “In fact before I started really studying this, I had that same fear. Now, I think the Founding Fathers were smart in putting safeguards, giving the state legislatures the power.”