Dozens of Article V-related Bills
Wend Their Way through State Legislatures
by Stuart MacPhail April 2019
Progress on the Congressional Term Limits Effort –
On March 4 the Arizona House approved HCR2022, the congressional term limits Article V resolution. That bill was sponsored by Rep. Kelly Townsend with 26 bipartisan co-sponsors. It passed on a 32 to 26 vote. That resolution, under bill number SCR1014 with 16 sponsors, passed out of a Senate committee on voice vote, and is now under consideration in the State Senate.
Rep. Townsend said “I am extremely proud of my colleagues for helping pass this bipartisan resolution. It is high time that the people and the States take advantage of Article V of the U.S. Constitution and bring our Congress back under control.”
According to the last nationwide poll on term limits conducted by McLaughlin & Associates (in January 2018), term limits enjoys wide bipartisan support. McLaughlin’s analysis states, “Support for term limits is broad and strong across all political, geographic and demographic groups. An overwhelming 82% of voters approve of a constitutional amendment that will place term limits on members of Congress.”
The US Term Limits bill is also currently under consideration in Georgia(SR237 with 6 sponsors). It was approved by the Senate on March 7 by a vote of 31 to 20… the House version (HR53 with 6 bipartisan sponsors) is pending in the House Rules Committee.
Iowa – SJR11 passed out of a subcommittee on February 12 with a recommendation for passage. It is still pending in the Senate State Government Committee.
Maryland – SJR3 with 2 sponsors was introduced on March 4. It has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee. Companion bill HJR1 with 19 sponsors is pending in the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee.
South Carolina – HJR3125 has 29 sponsors, and related bill HJR3166 has 13 sponsors. Both bills are pending in the House Judiciary Committee.
West Virginia –HCR61 with 3 sponsors was approved by the House on March 8 by a vote of 55 to 42, and has been sent on to the Senate. Related bill HJR14 with 11 sponsors has been pending in the House Judiciary Committee since January 17. The House of Delegates in this state is also considering HJR3, a bill to amend the WV constitution to impose term limits on state legislators.
US Term Limits reports that 13 of the state applications adopted in support of the Convention of States Project efforts include term limits in the subjects to be addressed, and thus count toward their objectives.
Wolf-PAC Campaign Very Active, But Without Results –
The Article V campaign headed by Wolf-PAC typically refers to its Article V applications as pursuing free and fair elections. They have been active in several states, but have not yet seen meaningful traction during this year’s legislative sessions.
Iowa – SJR6 is an Article V application “to restore balance and integrity to our elections”. It was originally in a subcommittee of the Senate State Government Committee, but on March 25 it was reassigned to a new subcommittee.
Missouri – During March SCR8 was reported out of the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions & Ethics Committee.
Nebraska – LR9, an Article V application for “free and fair elections” was heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee during March.
New Mexico – HJR4 had been pending before the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee since January 15, but died when the legislature adjourned during March.
New York – S01763 with 4 sponsors is an Article V application “to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission”. It has been pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee since January 16. A companion bill, A01248, with 31 sponsors has also been pending before the Assembly Election Law Committee since January.
Oregon – HJM4 with 11 sponsors has been sitting in the House Rules Committee since January 14.
South Carolina – S0192 has been sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee since January 8.
Texas – HJR121 with 2 sponsors was filed on March 7 and scheduled for an April 1 hearing.
Virginia – HJR668 with 2 sponsors was left in the House Rules Committee when the legislature adjourned.
Washington – SJM8002 with 4 sponsors was passed out of one committee (reportedly with more than 240 people testifying in favor) to the Rules Committee on February 22. On March 15 it was assigned an “X file” status.
Wyoming – SJ0002 with 7 sponsors was postponed indefinitely before the legislature adjourned.
Convention of States Project Picks Up Two More States –
On March 5 with what was described as “a swift vote at a late hour”, the Utah House passed SJR9, the Convention of States Project (CoSP) resolution, with a final vote of 42-32… the second state to do so this legislative session. The Utah Senate had approved the resolution on February 27 on a 16 to 12 vote. That is state number 14 for the three-subject CoSP Article V campaign.
One of the primary sponsors of SJR9, Senator Evan Vickers, was quoted as saying “You listen to both sides and they think the world is going to end if it passes or doesn’t pass,” Vickers said. “I think it’s a tool we need to use to make change in our country.”
Bryan Schott, managing editor at UtahPolicy.com described passage of SJR9 as “the most important piece of legislation passed by the 2019 Legislature.” State Senator Jacob Anderegg said that after voting against previous resolutions calling for a Convention of States, he voted for this year’s resolution because he’s concerned about trends in Washington, DC. “I just feel like if we don’t act now, we may be too late to act in even just a couple years from now. I think we’ve got to do something.”
Then March 27 brought another victory for the CoSP effort when the Mississippi legislature adopted a variation of its proposed Article V application. This application specifically instructs Mississippi delegates to an Article V convention to NOT vote in favor of any term limits proposals.
Mississippi’s SCR596 with 22 sponsors was approved in the Senate on March 21 by a 32 to 17 vote. It had earlier been approved in the House, but went back to the House on March 27 for a 69 to 46 confirmation of its approval.
Hawaii – SCR36 with 6 bipartisan sponsors was introduced on March 5 and referred to two committees.
Iowa – SJR15 has been pending before the Senate State Government Committee since February 19.
Kentucky – SJR102 with 3 sponsors has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. HJR87 is a companion bill that does not include consideration of congressional term limits. It was referred to a House committee on Feb. 11.
Mississippi – SCR596 with 22 sponsors has been sitting in the Senate Rules Committee since February 18. A similar resolution passed the House 76-42 last year, and it died in the Senate without making it out of committee.
Nebraska – LR7 has been languishing in the Legislature Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee since January 14.
New Jersey – SCR28 was introduced in January 2018 and was carried over. It has 8 sponsors. Companion bill ACR73 has 16 sponsors (3 more than last month). Both bills have been sitting in committees since January 9.
South Carolina – SJR112 has 15 sponsors, four added in the last month. This application is subject to a lengthy list of reservations, understandings, and declarations. Similar bill SCR28 has 3 sponsors. Both have been languishing in the Senate Judiciary Committee since early January.
Virginia – HJR685 was not considered before the legislative session ended..
West Virginia – HCR33 with 15 sponsors was rejected in the House by a vote of 40 to 56.
Wyoming – SJ0004 was defeated by a vote of 10 to 20 in the Senate.
BBA Effort Enters Another Year with Minimal Progress –
With 28 states under its belt the BBA Task Force (BBATF) has not seen progress since 2017. This year their bill has been introduced in these states:
South Carolina – S0125 with 5 sponsors is an application for an Article V convention to propose a balanced budget amendment. H3017 with 11 sponsors (two added in the last month) is the House version of the same bill. It is pending before the House Judiciary Committee. Both bills have been pending before their respective Judiciary Committees since January 8.
Washington State – SJM8004 with 11 sponsors has been pending before the State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee since January 16.
CSNDS, in cooperation with the BBATF, reports that this summer they will launch a 10-state campaign to support their ongoing effort to attain the final 6 states needed to call an Article V convention limited to proposing a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution.
Walker reportedly said “If the CBO’s projections hold steady, we’ll see trillion-dollar [debt] interest payments in 5 – 10 years which will account for approximately 25% of federal revenue, yet Congress has proved unable to rein in its spending. Where Washington has failed, the states must step in and lead – using their constitutional authority to solve the problem”.
CSNDS leadership includes such luminaries as Governor Mike Huckabee, Admiral Bill Owens, Comptroller General David M. Walker, US Senator Judd Gregg, Governor George Allen, US Senator Norm Coleman and economist Dr. Barry Poulson.