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Thursday, March 20, 2014

2 more state Houses join plan to rein in feds

Convention would open door to new limits on Washington's power


Two more state Houses have joined a plan to rein in the power of the federal government by calling for a convention at which representatives of the states would enact new limits on Washington’s power.

Congress, the White House, even governors, would have little to say about it.
According to Convention of States, a project of a group called Citizens for Self-governance, the state House of Representatives in Arizona and its counterpart in Alaska have adopted the plan to call a convention of the states for the purpose of constitutional amendments.
The organization’s outreaches now are heading to Oklahoma and Colorado.
WND reported March 6 when the Georgia legislature became the first to pass an application “to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.”
State Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, said at that time he was “pleased that the Georgia legislature has given voice to the frustrations of millions of Georgians.”
“Enough is enough. It is time to impose fiscal and other restraints on our runaway federal government. We urge other states to join us,” said Macon, the primary sponsor of the resolution.
“We Georgians have become the hope of the nation today,” said Jacqueline Peterson, the Georgia state director for the Convention of States Project. “Many thanks to our state legislators for standing for liberty. May God bless us, every single one!”
The idea is to have an Article V Convention of States, the one process the U.S. Constitution gives to citizens to bypass the White House, Congress and even their own governors to establish a new path for the nation.
The president in 2017 could face new limits on executive orders, Commerce Clause actions, a balanced federal budget and a ban on using international treaties to govern inside the U.S. if the state-based movement is successful.
There could even be term limits for Supreme Court justices and Congress, and a mandatory sunset of all existing federal taxes.
The ideas are being discussed in legislatures where a Convention of the States has been proposed.
Thousands of Americans already have signed on in support of the idea that Americans themselves need to address Washington’s massive spending, over-regulation and takeover of authority from states.
After the vote in Arizona, state project director Yale Wishnick said, “It’s time to support a real, effective means to stop the power-hungry federal government and … by passing HCR 2027, we’re one step closer to halting the massive federal bureaucracy and allowing families and individuals the opportunity to control their own lives.”
In Alaska, following the House vote, supporters called the plan the “last, best chance to preserve liberty in this nation.”
Supporters are planning events soon in Oklahoma and in Colorado.
Michael Farris, who has been known for years as the face of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College, now is on the front line of seeking a convention in which state delegates would meet, agree on a path for the country and then tell Congress what will happen.
Tell Congress? Exactly, if amendments are proposed and ultimately adopted by the states.
“We believe the grassroots is the key to calling a successful convention,” the promoters say. “The goal is to build a political operation in a minimum of 40 states, getting 100 people to volunteer in at least 75 percent of the state’s legislative districts. We believe this is very doable. Only through the support of the American people will this project have a chance to succeed.”
Among the issues that could fall under the single subject would be a balanced budget amendment, a new definition of the General Welfare Clause, a redefinition of the Commerce Clause, a ban on the use of treaty provisions inside the U.S., limits on executive orders, term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court, federal tax limits and a sunset of all existing federal taxes.
“Of course, these are merely examples of what would be up for discussion,” the promoters say. “The convention of states itself would determine which ideas deserve serious consideration, and it will take a majority of votes from the states to formally propose any amendments.”
Farris told WND he expects support for a convention to be gathered over a period of two to three legislative cycles.
The timing would align with the 2016 presidential election.
Farris said it definitely would throw a wrench in the works.
“In my opinion, a good wrench,” he said. “We are convinced that Washington, D.C., is broken and that it will never, ever fix itself.”
He said all three branches need fixing.
“The judiciary legislates, the legislative branch, the Congress uses power it never was intended to have, and the president misuses power worse that George III ever thought of,” he said.
He earlier told WND that Washington, D.C., “will never voluntarily relinquish power.”
“If we allow Washington, D.C., to continue on its current course of big government, it will utterly destroy American liberty. Debt is the most tangible method of destruction. But big government complete with spying on the American public, the improper use of executive orders, over-regulation, etc., etc., will most certainly destroy American liberty relatively soon.”
Among the possibilities: An impeachment process for members of Congress, a determination that citizens have standing to challenge federal issues and term limits for Supreme Court justices.
The Convention of States Project contends that “who decides what the law shall be is even more important than what is decided.”
“The protection of liberty requires a strict adherence to the principle that power is limited and delegated,” the organization explained.

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