Governor Kasich Stumps for An Article V Convention

                In February 2001, the Utah House of Representatives passed HJR-15 with a vote of 67 to 0 with 8 absent. HJR 15 then passed Utah’s State Senate as favorbly. HJR-15, a rescission resolution to rescind past Utah legislative applications to Congress to call an Article V Constitutional Convention was sponsored by Utah State Representative Fred Fife (D) in 2001 and passed both Houses handily, but now, 14-years later, the question is: will the Utah Legislature overturn HJR-15? 
                January 21, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) notified Utah ALEC members that Ohio’s 69th Governor, Governor John Richard Kasich, formerly an Ohio State Legislator and U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 12 Congressional District, was to hold a discussion on the subject of a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution, an amendment planned to be brought to success through an Article V Amendments Convention.
                Retired University of Montana law professor Robert Natelson authored an Article V Handbook that was published by ALEC for its members, a Handbook designed to instruct legislators how to apply to Congress to call a Constitutional Convention, though the Handbook claims that an Article V Convention isn’t a Constitutional Convention. Now ALEC promotes the Article V Convention by supporting Governor Kasich’s efforts through The Jeffersonian Project (a 501c(4) ALEC affiliate). 
                January 22, in the richly decorated Gold Room of the Utah State Capital Building, Ohio Governor Kasich spoke of how “special interest groups can overwhelm the people of the country” as one of his reasons why he believes America needs to have a Constitutional Convention.  Others assured reporters that America needs a Balanced Budget Amendment “for the good of the children.”  Governor Kasich assured the press that “anything coming out of [the Article V] Convention would require 38 states to ratify.” Of course the states, it should be remembered, ratified the 16th and 17th Amendments. Is that reassuring?
                Seated next to Governor Kasich was Utah State Representative Kraig Powell whose HJR007, a resolution applying to Congress to call an Article V Convention, spoke about the need for a Balanced Budget Amendment to reign in Congress.  Despite that fact that much of the money spent by the 50 state governments, 3,000 county governments, and 16,000 town and city governments is federal grant money that drives the debt up at the federal government, Powell didn’t offer any state spending cuts to help bring the federal budget into balance.
                “After reading the Congressional Research Service report on the Article V Convention, this reporter found that page 40 of the report claims that Congress would use proportional representation for voting delegates as modeled in the Electoral College with 535 delegates from the 50 States. That would mean 6 votes for Utah and 55 votes for California at the Convention. How would little states like Alaska, Wyoming or South Dakota fare with only 3 votes each?” I asked Governor Kasich.
                Kasich referred the question to his Legal Counsel to answer the question. The Councilor answered that there had been many states conventions before the 1787 Convention and all were one-state-one vote as a rule. Before I could ask a follow-up question another reporter was called on. Since none of those States Conventions were conducted under Article V of the Constitution, they are not necessarily the precedents for operation under Article V. Instead a look at representation under our Congress, a proportional representation in the House and equal Representation in the Senate, has been the model used where all proposed amendments have been tested for the past 225 years. 33 proposed Amendment have passed the Congress under Article V and those represent 33 precedents for Representation under Article V of the Constitution.
                After the short press conference, I managed to talk with Utah State Senator Wayne Niederhauser, President of the Utah Senate.  I asked him if 525 voting delegates attending an Article V Convention might bring 535 proposals for amendments to our Constitution. Could ten percent of those amendment proposals pass out of Convention?  He said that the convention is a convention of the states so the state will make the rule regarding representation at the convention, after all, he claimed, “It’s a states’ convention.” But is he correct, or is it a federal convention under the federal constitution’s fifth Article?  “
                “If it is a “states’ convention,” Lowell Nelson standing beside me asked, “Why do the states have to ask Congress to call the Convention?
                Utah State Senator Wayne Niederhauser, president of the Senate, also claimed to the press that the movement towards an Article V Convention is “constituent driven,” but when I was able to pull him aside to talk with him I pointed out to him, “It seems that ALEC is driving the movement for an Article V Convention, and Wolf-Pac, and other organizations.”  How many Utahans or other Americans have even read Article V of the Constitution?


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