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The risk of an Article V convention and the balanced budget amendment

Arizona GOP legislators are pushing several bills to add a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution using an Article V (“Article 5”) convention[1]. What is an Article V convention, and why is it risky?

Article V of the US Constitution describes two methods for adding amendments[2].

In the first method an amendment is proposed in Congress, and must be approved by both houses of Congress with a two-thirds majority. It then has to be ratified by three-quarters of the states’ legislatures (38 states) or conventions in three-quarters of the states. This is the way all amendments have been created since the Constitution was ratified in 1788.

The second method is the “Article V convention”. It starts with two-thirds of the states’ legislatures (34 states) petitioning Congress for a constitutional convention. A convention is held and three-quarters of the state legislatures (38 states) or conventions in three-quarters of the states have to ratify the amendments.

Notice the difference. In the first method, the amendments are proposed first. They are debated in Congress and people have input through their representatives. The amendments are finite and specific.

In the second method, there is no limit to what can be changed. Even though a balanced budget amendment is the original intent, there is no language in Article V that will limit the scope of a convention to the original intent. Anything can be amended. (One exception is that states have to maintain “equal suffrage in the Senate”.)

Currently twenty-eight states have passed a resolution calling for the convention[3]. Only six more are needed, and Arizona is likely to reduce that number to five. The likelihood of an Article V convention is increasing.

Even if a convention is called, won’t it be difficult to get three-quarters of the state legislatures to ratify extreme amendments? Maybe not. With brilliant gerrymandering[4], the GOP now has control of thirty-two state legislatures with three more being split[5,6]. The republicans are close to controlling the thirty-eight states needed to ratify. These thirty-eight states will likely ratify the results of an Article V convention, especially when the amendments are disguised as patriotism, national security, voting integrity, states’ rights, or religious freedom.

Still think it’s a long shot? A few years ago we thought it highly unlikely that a certain “bloviating ignoramus”[7] would get elected president. Think again.

Contributed by Craig Falasco, March 14, 2017

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[1] Arizona Legislature bills calling for an Article V convention: HCR2013, HB2226, HCR2022, and HB2449.  HB2449 is an attempt to limit the convention to its original intent. http://www.azleg.gov/bills/

[2] National Archives. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript#page-header

[3] “Corporate America Is Just 6 States Short of a Constitutional Convention“, In These Times, Rachel K. Dooley, March 14, 2016. http://inthesetimes.com/article/18940/alec-balanced-budget-corporate-constitutional-convention

[4] “The power that gerrymandering has brought to Republicans”, The Washington Post,  June 17, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-power-that-gerrymandering-has-brought-to-republicans/2016/06/17/045264ae-2903-11e6-ae4a-3cdd5fe74204_story.html?utm_term=.ccf9070e6870

[5] “Political party control of United States state legislatures and governors”, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_party_control_of_United_States_state_legislatures_and_governors

[6] “State Partisan Composition”, National Conference of State Legislatures, http://www.ncsl.org/research/about-state-legislatures/partisan-composition.aspx#2017

[7] “George Will Calls Donald Trump a “Bloviating Ignoramus””, Jake Tapper, May 27, 2012, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/05/george-will-calls-donald-trump-a-bloviating-ignoramus-on-this-week/

Note: For an opposing view, read this: “Debunking The Myths Surrounding An Article V Convention To Propose Constitutional Amendments”, Tom Linsay, February 23, 2016.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomlindsay/2016/02/23/debunking-the-myths-surrounding-an-article-v-convention-to-propose-constitutional-amendments/#1b5222b6384d

Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and the LD18 Democrats would like to celebrate by paying tribute to the women in the LD18 Democratic Party who are making history right now!

Women are the majority of our Executive Board, our precinct captains, our state party representatives, and the LD 18 committee leaders.  Women did the heavy lifting in the LD18 election in 2016 doing the office and volunteer coordination and fundraising that helped elect two LD18 Dems as our state reps, Mitzi Epstein on the House side and Sean Bowie as our Senator.

Thank you, women of the LD18 Democrats!

For more information about Women’s History Month, a good place to start is the National Women’s History Project.

National Women’s History Project: From a Grassroots Organization into a National Institution Over 30 years of “Writing Women Back into History” (http://www.nwhp.org/about-2/our-history/)

Syrian Sweets Exchange

On Sunday, Feb. 20th, we took a trip over to check out the Syrian Sweets Exchange at Dayspring united Methodist Church.  The event was organized by Debbie Crenshaw, founder of the Facebook group Syrian Refugee Connection, and Nancy Speidel, Co-leader of the Syrian Sweets Project.  Here they are to tell you a little bit more:

These ladies are planning several other events, including:

  • March 11 – 11am-5pm Kite Festival, Fountain Park,  12925 N. Saguaro Blvd, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
  • March 26 – 10am – 1pm St. Bernard Catholic Church 10755 N. 124th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85259

For more information at http://www.syriansweetsaz.com.  There may also be some opportunities to step and and help out individual families as well as the chance for some future events in the Tucson area.

The turnout was better than expected and here are some of the photos from our brief visit!

So many events!

Members of LD18 were very busy this weekend attending our Postcard Party and the Champagne Event Fundraiser later in the evening this past Saturday.  Janie Hydrick, Chair of LD 18, shared some great information in the brief Facebook Live video from the event that you can check out here.  It was an afternoon of activism!

 

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After the correspondence, a whole different crew turned up to raise money for the Democrats of LD18, State Senator Sean Bowie and State Representative Mitzi Epstein.  Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County Recorder also made an appearance.  The event was planned by Marie Colangelo, Judy Wade and Bill Baker. Such a wonderful evening!

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Request to Speak Updates 2/13/17

Here are the important items at the state level requiring attention.  This information is listed in a GoogleDoc because of constant changes and revisions.

AZ Legislative Weekly Update

If you need to sign up for Request to Speak, click here.

 

Arizona Celebrates Black History Month

Arizona Democratic Party Chair Alexis Tameron:

“The Arizona Democratic Party proudly celebrates and honors the achievements and struggles of all African Americans who contributed to the rich history of this state and to our great nation.

“This celebration of history and culture, among other things, also allows us to reflect upon the work that still lies ahead. Progress has been made, but by no means is the fight against discrimination, inequality, and injustice over. Black Lives Matter. We must reaffirm our commitment, today and always, to fight for equality and justice not only for us but for all.”

Arizona Democratic Party African-American Caucus Chair Quiana Dickenson:

“The contributions and history of African Americans in this country is great, from the construction of the White House to presiding over this great country. Our history, although sacred, is plentiful with innovators, seekers of justice, purveyors of peace and creators of change. We honor all those who have come before us by working to secure a path and roadway to the future for all that come after us, this month and every month.”

Get Involved!

YOU can make a difference!

Help us change Arizona one neighborhood at a time.

Help us work to

  • guarantee human and civil rights for all through great public schools, quality healthcare, women’s rights, and workers’ rights;
  • leave our state and world a better place by addressing climate change and stewardship of human resources, education, and the environment;
  • move forward with immigration reform, campaign finance reform, and separation of church and state;
  • achieve economic security through equal opportunity, a livable minimum wage, and a strong middle class;
  • celebrate our diversity; and honor and serve our service members and veterans; and
  • expand Social Security and Medicare.

Please join us at our regularly-scheduled meetings each month. We offer great speakers, wonderful conversation, and some of your friendliest neighbors. Check our calendar for meetings and other events.

seanandmitziCongratulations Sean Bowie and Mitzi Epstein, our newly elected Arizona State Senator and Representative of Legislative District 18!

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On November 21st LD18 PCs elected a