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  • The Act 2 Reforms
  • The Act 2 Reforms

THE AMENDMENT PROCESS

 

In Article V of the Constitution, the founders had the foresight to provide us with two methods for accomplishing constitutional amendments. In the first, Congress initiates the action; and in the second, the states organize a convention to initiate it. In both cases, high bars would protect against highly partisan or impulsively promoted amendments:

  • For Congress to act, voting majorities of two-thirds must be achieved in both the Senate and House.

  • To call a convention of states, two-thirds of the states must agree.

  • In either case, three-fourths of the states must ratify a proposed amendment for it to become effective.

Surveys show that the public holds Congress in low esteem, with approval rates below 20%, which is a strong indicator that our government is failing us. But today Congress has a window of opportunity to regain public trust by initiating action on these significant, constructive reforms.

 

However, that window is closing rapidly as Congress has not shown it has the capacity or the will to take action. As a result, there is a growing sentiment in support of the state convention approach for proposing amendments, and this is now being pursued aggressively by state legislators. In order to save our nation, We the People must give strong support and encouragement to their efforts. 

 

If we fail to act, we may be remembered as the generation

that presided over the death of the American Experiment. 

Fellow Americans, let’s make our democracy work: urge your state and federal elected officials to study, debate, and implement the Act 2 Blueprint for Action.

 

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE AMENDMENTS

 

 

The Act 2 Reform Blueprint includes five constitutional amendments. All five are simple in concept but powerful and transformational in impact. Their simplicity is a thing of beauty and leaves no loopholes to undermine the law; this simplicity will also minimize the unintended consequences that too often accompany new legislation.

 

The five amendments are summarized below. They are fully described in the sections that follow.

1. ​Empower the states to enforce the law against federal officials by creating an organizational unit for this purpose, under state control. In a democracy, the rule of law is essential to restrain overreach by an imperial president and a voracious bureaucracy, but our Constitution says it is the president that shall “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed....” and this has proven to be inadequate. Presidents of both major parties, understandably, have rarely enforced the law against officials in their administrations and most certainly never against their own office. Today, the law is simply not effectively enforced against federal officials, and when an action is taken, it is typically driven by a political agenda, not a search for truth and justice.

 

This new unit would also be a safe haven for those federal departments and agencies that should be protected from political meddling by the president or Congress (such as the IRS), and it would be a place where citizens can seek relief from a predatory federal government.

2. Give Congress the power to block new orders and regulations from the president and the bureaucracies that they believe are unlawful or are properly the subject matter of legislation. This will be a counterpart to the president’s veto power, and will help level the playing field in Washington. It will end the current bias in the system toward unlawful behavior: today’s practice burdens a challenger with the task of proving a new order or regulation as unlawful, but leaves the order in place for perhaps years while the challenge proceeds in the courts.

 

3. Apply term limits to the judiciary and Congress. The increase in life spans over the years have made lifetime appointments of the judiciary inappropriate. Term limits on Congress would limit the power that long- serving individuals can build and introduce fresh thinking into our body politic.

4. Stop budget end runs and introduce fiscal discipline by requiring that all claims on the federal purse must be part of the annual budget exercise, including all expenditures, subsidies, targeted tax benefits, and funding of future obligations. Profligate spending is the Achilles heel of a democracy, and this change would compel a much needed focus on our national capabilities and priorities.

5. Sharply reduce the power of money in Washington by granting voters in each district the right of quiet enjoyment of their federal elections without outside interference. Many feel that money has corrupted our system beyond repair, and this bold stroke would dramatically alter the political landscape and free up our elected officials to do the job we sent them to Washington to do. They would no longer spend inordinate time on fundraising activity, and political campaigns would depend more on old-fashioned, in-depth voter contact and less on massive advertising campaigns with sound bite messages. Voters would have the opportunity to directly take the full measure of each candidate.

 

THE FIVE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #1:

For An

Independent Branch

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #2:

For Executive

 Branch Restraint

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #3:

For Term Limits

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #4:

For Ensuring

Honest Finances

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #5:

For Governing 

Campaign Finance

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #1: FOR AN INDEPENDENT BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT

 

As Described in the Act 2 Application:

(a) creating an independent branch of the United States government responsible to state authorities through which the states can enforce the law against federal officials, protect certain functions from federal political pressures, and discipline federal officials who abuse their trust; 

Annotation Indicating Possible Integration with Other Article V Reform Proposals:

Advocacy Groups with applications supported by this Act 2 reform are COS Project, Americans for Congressional Reform, and The American Amendment.

Summary of the Amendment:

 

Purpose: To render the federal government more effective in implementing constitutionally-determined public policy. 

Governance: The Independent Branch will be governed by a Board consisting of one member chosen by each state legislature, for a term to be determined. The Board may provide for selection of committees, including an executive committee, consisting of fewer than all members.

Funding: The budget of the Independent Branch will be funded by the federal budget and determined by procedures (to be established) designed to reconcile independence with traditional legislative control over appropriations. Setting it as a percentage of the federal budget is one possible approach. If these procedures prove inadequate, the Board may request that the states provide supplementary funding.

Composition: The primary responsibility of the Independent Branch shall be the enforcement of the law against the federal government, so it will have a mini- Justice Department for this purpose. In addition, the Branch will include a) those executive branch groups now charged with monitoring procedures within the government, and b) a few additional groups. Examples of groups that will be part of the Branch are the General Accountability Office, Federal Election Commission, Freedom of Information Act Enforcement Agency, Federal Compensation Agency, Citizen Ombudsman Office, and Office of Government Ethics.

Means of Accomplishing Purpose:  The Independent Branch will develop improved procedures for operation, popular participation, and punishment and cure of abuses for the federal government.

The Independent Branch will essentially be a specialized executive branch. The Constitution requires the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” However, execution of the laws requires execution against the government itself as well as against the citizenry at large. Inherent in the former duty is a conflict of interest that promotes, or at least permits, unacceptable levels of waste and illegality within the government. Establishment of the Independent Branch will resolve most of that conflict of interest by empowering the new Branch with the following functions:

  •  Reviewing rules of each house of Congress for the sole purpose of ensuring adequate free and fair debate.

  • Approving, and perhaps drafting, administrative rules for executive departments and independent agencies.

  • Relocating government groups to parts of the country other than the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Investigating and prosecuting crimes allegedly committed by government officials.

  • Providing an administrative procedure for discipline (including potential removal) of any appointed government official for misconduct in, or neglect of, duties.

  • Periodically auditing and otherwise reviewing government programs to eliminate fraud, waste, and other abuse.

Additional Background Establishing the Need for this Amendment:

 

The Rule of the Law

In a democracy, the rule of law is essential to restrain overreach by an imperial president and a voracious bureaucracy, but our Constitution says it is the president that shall “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed....” This has proven to be inadequate. Presidents of both major parties, understandably, have rarely enforced the law against officials in their administrations and most certainly never against their own office. Today, the law is simply not effectively enforced against federal officials, and when a legal action is taken, it is typically driven by a political agenda, not a search for truth and justice. The states largely avoided that conflict of interest problem: 45 states elect their attorneys general while only five are appointed by governors.

RIGOROUS ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW IS NOT POSSIBLE WITH OUR CURRENT STRUCTURE. FOR THIS PURPOSE, WE NEED AN INDEPENDENT ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT OUTSIDE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED BY THE STATES.

 

Following are some of the other benefits we will realize from this reform.

A Tough Cop on the Beat

When the crime rate rises in a neighborhood, a sure way to check this development is to place more police on the streets in the area. Their presence is a reminder to anyone with criminal intent that the risk/reward ratio has taken a decided tilt against criminal actions, and this will typically result in a reduction in crimes committed. If the new Independent Branch acts quickly and decisively against illegal actions, it will build credibility and will soon have the reputation as “a tough cop on the beat.” Federal officials will no longer be able to take risky actions (such as use a personal email server for government business) with the confidence that their president “has their back.” Instead, they will face a tough cop.

Suprise! It's a Twofer

In addition to its primary function of enforcing the law, the Independent Branch can be a safe haven for federal departments and agencies (such as the IRS) that should be protected from partisan meddling by the president and Congress. Occasionally, this meddling has escalated to actual harassment of citizens. This is

an abuse of government power that must be eliminated if we are to preserve our personal freedoms.

Transparency with Teeth

The new Independent Branch will have power to promote transparency in government. Here is an example: it could revise the process of handling requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act to ensure prompt and full disclosure by the targeted department. It could require that all requests for information under the FOIA be submitted to the Independent Branch; after a review a representative of the Branch accompanied by the requestor would pay an unannounced visit to the targeted department, present the request, discuss the scope of the request, and establish deadlines for production of the material. The Branch would monitor compliance and take punitive action in the event of failure to comply with the negotiated agreement.

Accountability of federal officials is finally within reach.

The Graft Squad

Studies indicate that hundreds of millions of dollars are lost every year to scam artists and criminals that prey on the ineptitude of the federal government. The Independent Branch could greatly reduce those losses by establishing a group of professional investigators to review disbursement procedures and force appropriate changes by offending operational units. Today, Congress has this responsibility, but it has neither the skill set nor the time to devote to the effort. As a result, Congress pays lip service to the need for change, but accomplishes little.

Sayonara to Special Prosecutors 

The public theater of Special Prosecutors would end with the creation of the Independent Branch. Requests for investigation of the actions of federal officials would be routinely handled by the Branch in the normal course of business. The political circus (with amplification by the media) that is the principal product of Special Prosecutors would be ended.

The Perpetual Good News Department

Today, the daily news out of Washington is consistently bad. The Independent Branch, however, would bring a welcome change: it would produce a stream of good news, as it reported on its law enforcement activities and other interactions with the public and federal officials.

By absorbing more and more of the administrative functions now performed (erratically, at best) by Congress, it would free up Congress to concentrate on matters of policy. Sensitive aspects of administration would be the domain of the Independent Branch, and Congress could monitor the activities of the branch and restrain it from ventures into policy, if that became necessary.

The benefits that would accrue to the country from the creation of the Independent Branch are compelling, and seemingly endless. Advancing this amendment should be a top priority of state legislatures.

Additional Background Establishing the Need for this Amendment:

In recent years, the executive branch and agencies have issued new regulations and orders at an alarming rate (recent annual count 80,000), and these are often not within their constitutional authority. The tools available to Congress to challenge them are cumbersome and slow. We must give Congress the power to quickly block new orders and regulations from the president and the bureaucracies that they believe are unlawful or are properly the subject matter of legislation. This will be a counterpart to the president’s veto power, and will help level the playing field in Washington. It will end the current bias in the system toward unlawful behavior: Today’s practice burdens a challenger with the task of proving a new order or regulation as unlawful, but leaves the order in place for perhaps years while the challenge proceeds in the courts.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #2: FOR EXECUTIVE BRANCH RESTRAINT

As Described in the Act 2 Application:

(b) granting Congress additional power to prevent implementation of new federal regulations and executive orders and to review and cancel existing regulations and executive orders;

Annotation Indicating Possible Integration with Other Article V Reform Proposals:

Advocacy Groups with applications supported by this Act 2 reform are COS Project, Americans for Congressional Reform, and The American Amendment.

Summary of the Amendment:

 

Many people believe that the executive branch, under presidents of both parties, has overreached itself in recent years. However, current remedies for overreach—publicity, lawsuits, denials of funding, and impeachment—have not proved adequate to address the problem. We therefore support an amendment providing as follows:

Whenever the President, an agent of the executive branch or of any independent agency of the government of the United States proposes a regulation (or order) governing matters of domestic policy, they shall inform Congress of such proposed regulation at least sixty (60) days prior to its intended effective date. If either the Senate or the House of Representatives adopts a resolution stating that the subject matter of the regulation is properly the subject matter of legislation or is deemed to be unconstitutional, the regulation shall not take effect.

This amendment would provide a direct way of remedying executive overreach. It would be speedier and less expensive than a lawsuit, less clumsy than defunding, and less drastic than impeachment.

 
 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #3: FOR TERM LIMITS

As Described in the Act 2 Application:

(c) imposing term limits on members of Congress and of the judiciary of the United States;

Annotation Indicating Possible Integration with Other Article V Reform Proposals:

Advocacy Groups with applications supported by this Act 2 reform are COS Project, Americans for Congressional Reform, and The American Amendment.

Summary of the Amendment:

Our proposal for congressional term limits would impose a lifetime limit, such as 16 years, for service by an individual in Congress. We propose that rather than fixing maximum terms for the House and Senate individually, the amendment provide for a maximum for both chambers combined. For example, a 16-year maximum would allow an individual to serve eight terms in the House of Representatives or five terms in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate or two in the House and two in the Senate. This would be more flexible and give voters more options than many other term limit proposals. When a term limit is reached, the member would finish out his current term before retiring.

We also support limiting each federal judge to a single long term (perhaps 16 years) for any one position. When the framers of the Constitution inserted life terms for judges, life expectancy was much shorter than it is today. The Supreme Court justices appointed in our first decade under the Constitution served for an average of eight years; today, the average is close to 25 years, and many judges remain in their positions for 30 years or more.

A single long term would preserve judicial independence, while reminding judges that they must eventually return to private life. Because most judges are appointed when they are in their 40s or 50s, the single long term would help prevent judges from continuing after old age prevented them from acting effectively. It could also encourage presidents to nominate mature individuals whose judicial views were established and well known.

Additional Background Establishing the Need for this Amendment:

For a more vibrant and effective government, we must apply term limits to the judiciary and Congress. The increase in life spans over the years have made lifetime appointments of the judiciary inappropriate. Term limits on Congress would limit the power that may be built over a long tenure and introduce fresh thinking into our body politic. It will rejuvenate Congress.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #4: FOR ENSURING HONEST FINANCES

As Described in the Act 2 Application:

(d) requiring that the annual budget of the United States include entries for all expenditures, subsidies, tax preferences, pension obligations, and contingent obligations;

Annotation Indicating Possible Integration with Other Article V Reform Proposals:

Advocacy Groups with applications supported by this Act 2 reform are Balanced Budget Amendment, COS Project, Compact for America, Restoring Freedom, and I Am American.

Summary of the Amendment:

Congress bypasses the annual budget process with a variety of financial actions (e.g., pensions, insurance, earmarks, and tax benefits), relieving it of the responsibility of prioritizing all demands on the federal purse. A new, disciplined budget approach is necessary for us to gain control of our financial affairs.

Consequently, we propose an amendment stating that all employee retirement plans of the government of the United States and all insurance-type programs of this government shall be operated on an actuarially sound basis. All future liabilities shall be fully funded in accordance with best accounting practices, similar to those required of private companies. This provision would force Congress to confront retirement and insurance-type programs as part of the annual budget exercise.

 

The amendment shall also require that targeted individual and corporate income tax credits and deductions be reauthorized annually in the federal budget. Targeted credits and deductions are those that benefit only special interests and are not freely available to members of the general public. This will force Congress to review and prioritize these subsidies annually with all federal expenditures, which is the proper forum for evaluating them.

Lastly, the amendment shall require that all federal financial obligations be authorized in the annual budget, without exception.

Additional Background Establishing the Need for this Amendment:

For decades, we have been promising generous future retirement benefits to public employees and operating the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs without regard for the solvency of the country. However, our moment of reckoning is fast approaching: the federal government has accumulated off- budget unfunded liabilities estimated at more than $100 trillion, and we have no hope of having the resources to satisfy these obligations as they come due. Federal officials refuse to acknowledge and resolve this huge financial burden, leaving it to our children and future generations to cope with. This has been called the greatest intergenerational wealth transfer in the history of the world.

Congress uses another trick to grant financial favors to groups without funding them in the budget: it grants subsidies as credits and deductions under the tax code. This allows Congress to dispense favors without prioritizing them with the many other issues competing for federal funding.

Profligate spending is the Achilles heel of a democracy, and we must compel a much needed focus on our national capabilities and priorities. The process of setting priorities is one of the most difficult tasks of government, but it is a key to effective governance. To do it successfully, all requests for benefits from the government must be submitted to the discipline of the annual budget.

For many years there has been a reform movement underway to enact a Balanced Budget Amendment. Act 2 supports this effort, and suggests that our proposed Honest Finances amendment is compatible with a BBA and would likely enhance and improve its implementation.

 
 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #5: FOR GOVERNING CAMPAIGN FINANCE

As Described in the Act 2 Application:

(e) banning or restricting (i) contributions to and expenditures of any campaign for federal office and (iii) contributions to and expenditures from any independent efforts to elect or defeat a candidate for office, if in either case such contributions are made or expenditures incurred by a person or persons principally located outside the boundaries of the district from which that office is elected.

Annotation Indicating Possible Integration with Other Article V Reform Proposals:

Advocacy Groups with applications supported by this Act 2 reform is Wolf-PAC.

Summary of the Amendment:

When the voters in a federal election district are selecting a person to hold federal office, they must assess whether each candidate can capably represent their interests in Washington. However, outside groups often intrude by promoting a candidate to advance their own interests, which may not coincide with the interests of the voters of the district.

 

Voters should be entitled to quiet enjoyment of their election without interference from outside parties, whether those parties are businesses, trade unions, political parties, other organizations, or individuals not resident in the district. Accordingly, we favor an amendment prohibiting the following actions by individuals not resident in the candidate’s district or by organizations regardless of their location:

  • Financial contributions to the candidate.

  • Expenditure of funds for the benefit of the candidate.

  • Other actions promoting a candidacy, including attacks against the candidate's adversary.

The amendment will require that campaign contributions be made directly from a citizen’s personal assets to a candidate’s campaign fund. This will not preclude supplementary public financing on a fair basis from the federal treasury, should Congress determine that private funding is inadequate for a productive election campaign. All funds spent for the benefit of a candidate must come from that candidate’s campaign fund.

Additional Background Establishing the Need for this Amendment: Our final amendment deals with the perplexing problem of the tsunami of money that washes over the country during every federal election. It is widely recognized that this money corrupts the institutions of the republic, but attempts over the years to control it have failed both as a practical matter and as a matter of law. Act 2 solves this problem by identifying a right of voters to the quiet enjoyment of their election without outside interference. It is a simple solution that is profound in impact.

Elections: Linchpin of the Republic

The five amendments proposed by the Act 2 Reform Blueprint were designed to be non-partisan: Their appeal cuts across the political spectrum. This includes the election campaign reform amendment which would require a donor to a federal election campaign to be a resident of the relevant district.

However, some libertarians and other political activists oppose any restrictions on campaign contributions. The Supreme Court has inserted some of their views in its constitutional jurisprudence by voiding some (but not all) laws restricting campaign finance. The Act 2 campaign finance reform amendment would correct this jurisprudence.

In his book The Libertarian Mind – a Manifesto for Freedom, David Boaz, Executive Vice President of The Cato Institute (a libertarian think tank) wrote on page 77:

In the libertarian view, we have an infinite number of rights contained in one natural right. That fundamental human right is the right to live your life as you choose so long as you do not infringe on the equal rights of others. (emphasis added)

 

We believe election campaign contributions from outside a district do in fact “infringe on the equal rights” of those who live there. Under the current system wealthy outsiders—individuals and groups often connected with Washington D.C. lobbyists—can flood a state or local area with political advertising in an attempt to influence the election in ways that will enhance their power. The sheer volume of noise from outside the district can drown out the voices of those who live there, making it difficult for the voters to properly assess the candidates.

 

An election campaign is a contest to determine which candidate enters into a contract to serve the voters of the district. By that contract, the voters give a proxy to the elected official and he or she agrees to use best efforts to represent them—not outside special interests.

Honest representation of local constituents is a linchpin of the republic. Nothing should be allowed to corrupt it.

The Act 2 amendment will codify and protect this right of voters.

Money Buys Power

In addition to the legal foundation set forth above, there are other practical reasons that support the amendment to govern election campaign finances. A few of these are suggested below.

The power of money in our elections has grave consequences. Two of the most pernicious are:

 

  • For candidates, it places a high premium on the ability to raise money rather than on the skills that would produce good governance after the election.

  • The prospect of spending so much time raising money discourages many capable people from seeking public office. 

We have created a natural selection process for candidates that works against our objective of good government. 

 

In addition, the sheer volume of campaign funds coming from outside sources may drive up the cost of political advertising, making it difficult for a candidate to purchase enough ad exposure to wage a competitive campaign. If this occurs, it will impair the communications between the candidate and the voters in the election district.

Further, because of the pervasive influence of money on elections, our federal officials must spend an inordinate amount of time raising funds for their next election in order to wage a competitive campaign. In his recent book, By the People, Charles Murray reports that one of the major parties recommends that members of Congress spend four hours a day in telephone fund raising and one hour on constituent service. This clearly impairs the effectiveness of the elected official in discharging his or her constitutional responsibilities.

Yet another demand on their time comes from the enormous growth of the administrative state in recent decades. This can require the official to spend considerable time intervening with the federal bureaucracies on behalf of their constituents.

These demands on their time may explain why Congress has failed in recent years to assert its rightful legislative role: members simply do not have enough time to perform the duties we elected them to do. This leaves a power void that the executive branch has been only too eager to fill, contrary to the responsibilities assigned in the Constitution. This has resulted in a scramble for power in Washington, severely impacting the effectiveness of the federal government.

 

The remedies available to redress the abuse of power (publicity, lawsuits, funding restrictions, and impeachment) are woefully slow, cumbersome, costly, and often ineffective. The reforms of Act 2 were designed to address these problems with “quick fix” tools. They will create an effective and responsive government with accountability enforced.

 

The “systemic corruption of Washington” is a phrase often used to characterize the use of money in election campaigns and lobbying in Washington. Clearly, money buys access to legislative and regulatory proceedings and offers the opportunity to influence them to serve the special interests of large donors to campaigns and lobbying efforts. This amendment will eliminate the source of much of that corruption.

 

REFORMS BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION

If the Independent Branch is created, it would be empowered to apply discipline to federal government activities through administrative actions. Following are a few examples of administrative reforms that might be considered:

 

For an Effective Government:

  1. Establish procedures to better control federal expenditures by reducing opportunities for improper payments, fraud, and waste; hold departments responsible for failure to observe the rules.

  2. Ensure the independence of all federal forecasting activity, blocking any attempts by the president or Congress to influence or interfere with the projections.

  3. Define a standard procedure for processing bills in Congress, including:

a.  A clear statement of the problem to be addressed. 

b.  A definition of the objectives of the bill and its constitutional authority.

c.  A provision to evaluate the results if the bill is enacted, measuring results against objectives, paying particular attention to cost/benefit analysis.

d. After such review, consider changes to or repeal of the act if warranted.

    4. Define procedures in Congress to ensure that free and open debate is accorded to all bills. 

    5. Approve the calendar of Congress, including a standard work week. Require that any session called outside of the                 regular schedule be approved by the minority party leader. 

    6. Define performance standards for responses to Freedom of Information Act requests; assess penalties and/or                         reprimands for failure to meet the standards. 

 

 

For an Informed Electorate: 

The objective of these measures would be to allow candidates to exercise their right to free speech while holding them accountable for statements made. The intent is to publicize the relevant information to allow the public to draw its own conclusions about the style and truthfulness of each candidate.

  1. Establish a procedure allowing challenges of facts claimed in political ads and speeches, with investigation and resolution publicized; retain a public record of all such events.

  2. Require that the originator of an ad or speech submit an analysis of its content in categories such as:

a. New policy proposal

b. Rebuttal of opponents policy statement

c. Personal attack on opponent 

d. Attack on opponent group 

   3. After confirmation of the analysis, this data would be publicized and accumulated during a campaign. 

 

APPLICATION FOR A CONVENTION OF THE STATES UNDER

ARTICLE V OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

Be it resolved by the legislature of the State of _______________________:

 

Section 1.

The legislature of the State of _________________________ hereby applies to Congress, under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the United States, for calling of a convention of the states limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States addressing the following subjects: 

(a) creating an independent branch of the United States government responsible to the state authorities through which the states can enforce the law against federal officials, protect certain functions from federal political pressures, and discipline federal officials who abuse their trust; 

(b) granting Congress additional power to prevent implementation of new federal regulations and executive orders and to review and cancel existing regulations and executive orders; 

(c) imposing term limits on members of Congress and of the judiciary of the United States;

(d) requiring that the annual budget of the United States include entries for all expenditures, subsidies, tax preferences, pension obligations, and contingent obligations, and

(e) banning or restricting (i) contributions and expenditures of any campaign for federal office and (ii) contributions to and expenditures from any independent efforts to elect or defeat a candidate for office, if in either case use contributions are made or expenditures incurred by a person or persons principally located outside the boundaries of the district from which that office is elected. 

Section 2.

The secretary of state is hereby directed to transmit copies of this application to the President and Secretary of the United States Senate and to the Speaker and Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, and copies to the members of the said Senate and House of Representatives from this State; also to transmit copies hereof to the presiding officers of each of the legislative houses in the several States, requesting their cooperation. 

Section 3.

This application constitutes a continuing application in accordance with Article V of the Constitution of the United States until the legislatures of at least two-thirds of the several states have made applications on the same subject. For purposes of determining whether two thirds of the state legislatures have applied for a convention on a particular topic, this application is intended to aggregate with all valid applications from other state legislatures on any of the subjects listed herein, as to those subjects. 

FACTS AND MYTHS ABOUT

A CONVENTION FOR PROPOSING AMENDMENTS

(This paper is an extract from “Curing Federal Dysfunction by Constitutional Amendment: A Primer” by Professor Rob Natelson, Senior Fellow, Constitutional Jurisprudence, The Independence Institute; This and a wealth of other information on Article V may be found at the Institute’s Article V Information Center.)

Article V is relatively short because there was no need to repeat information that everyone knew. It does not explain the rules of the convention, because those rules were universally understood: There had been many “conventions of the states,” and all had followed much the same procedures. Conventions of the states met during the 19th and early 20th centuries, also–and they followed standard procedures as well.

During the 1960s, however, opponents of reform began a disinformation campaign designed to discourage citizens from demanding a “Convention for proposing Amendments.” Among the disinformation claims were that the gathering would be a “constitutional convention,” that it couldn’t be controlled, and (inconsistently) that it would be controlled by Congress. None of these claims had legal or historical merit.

Rather, the facts are clear: A convention for proposing amendments is a meeting of representatives (“commissioners”) from the 50 state legislatures. The convention is called by Congress, but that call is mandatory when two thirds (now 34) of the state legislatures pass “Applications” demanding a convention on a particular topic or topics. In issuing the call, Congress acts as an agent of the state legislatures. Congress’s power extends only to adding up the calls by topic and specifying the initial time and place of meeting.

 

The state commissioners then convene to discuss whether they think amendments on the assigned topics are needed. If the commissioners conclude that amendments are needed, they write them and propose them to the states for ratification. Voting at the convention is on a one-vote per state basis. No convention proposal becomes an amendment unless three fourths of the states ratify.