March 2021 Newsletter

  • Election Integrity Efforts Relate to 2020 Election Hijinks
  • State Legislatures Must Take Back Power
  • The Guldenschuh Report Has Returned
  • Developments Related to Constitutional Amendments
  • Transparency is One Answer to National Debt Problem
  • Sen. Paul Introduces ‘Three Penny Budget-Balancing Plan’
  • Tidbits of Related News
  • Good Related Reads

Election Integrity Efforts Relate to 2020 Election Hijinks –
An article by Molly Ball in the February 4 edition of Time Magazine seemed to confirm what many Americans believe about the November 2020 election.  It details “a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs.  Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans.”

The Ball article (available HERE) appeared under the head-scratching headline The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign that Saved the 2020 Election.  The definition of “Saved” apparently depended on the political leanings of the reader.

In an analysis published on February 8 the Free Press International News Service (available HERE) highlighted Ms. Ball’s words: “The handshake between business and labor was just one component of a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election – an extraordinary shadow effort… Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding.”  Ms. Ball also described the 2020 election as the result of “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.”

Also in early February the Heritage Foundation produced what it calls the 9 Election Reforms States Can Implement to Prevent Mistakes and Voter Fraud, written by Hans von Spakovsky.

Whether state legislators are pleased with 2020 voting results… whether they see those results as legitimate or fraught with fraud, “voting irregularities” or simply as mistakes… they will want to give serious consideration to Mr. von Spakovsky’s list of best practices states should promptly adopt so that future elections are trusted by a higher portion of US citizens.  Find his recommendations HERE.

The February 14 edition of American Thinker carried a piece by citizen-activist Paul Gardiner entitled A citizen’s list of ‘common core’ actions for election integrity that is a worthy related read.  Find it HERE.  While his article stresses the need for “fair and honest elections, especially national elections” writer Dennis Haugh contends that “without honest local elections, honest national elections are impossible.”

State Legislatures Must Take Back Power –
In a recent report published by The Epoch Times, commentator Daniel Horowitz reflected on recent actions by state executives, and on the record number of executive orders issued by President Joe Biden in his first month in office, including mandating rules around mask-wearing that require all travelers who are aged two and older to wear masks.

He noted: “In the normal legislative process, rules like mandatory mask-wearing would be debated, go through hearings, have input from constituents, and compromise would be sought and amendments put forward before agreements were made.  Instead, what’s currently happening is new rules are declared at press conferences.”  He went on to say, “It doesn’t matter whether it violates the Bill of Rights.  It doesn’t matter whether it violates statutes.  It doesn’t matter for how long you’re doing it.  This should concern everyone.  It doesn’t matter what side of the spectrum you’re on in terms of broad politics.”

Horowitz was reported as saying, “I think it’s so important for state legislatures to get back on the playing field and start to take back some of that power.”  Read the report HERE.  Yes, to read it one needs to be a subscriber.  This would be a great time to break down and do it.  The cost is very low, especially considering the excellent content in The Epoch Times.

The Guldenschuh Report Has Returned –
He’s back!  Georgia Attorney and Article V activist David Guldenschuh has been quiet during most of this COVID-dominated last year.  In the past, Guldenschuh invested a lot of volunteer hours in the Convention of States Project and the BBA Task Force, and served as Executive Director for the Center for State-led National Debt Solutions, but he is most widely known as the publisher of his periodic Article V Convention Legislative Progress Report.

Each of David’s 1-page charts/reports provide a timely, easy-to-read chronology of the progress of the various groups which are championing constitutional amendments via the Article V convention of states approach.  His February 10 edition focuses on the four Article V movements that are currently active.  They also report on Article V Rescission Efforts and progress on State-adoption of Delegate Selection Bills.

Attached to David’s newest chart is a 3-page narrative which offers his perspective on the current Article V efforts.  He says, “I would submit that there has never been a more opportune time for the Article V movement to make its case.”  Find his newest report HERE.

Developments Related to Constitutional Amendments –
The following information follows the order established in the Guldenschuh Report (above).

Balanced Budget Amendment Efforts (28 applications currently submitted):
Georgia SR29 with 18 sponsors was introduced on 1/27/21 by Senator Bill Cowsert.  This state had earlier adopted a BBA application, but that application has since expired.  On 2/21 the Senate approved the measure on a 34 to 20 vote.  The bill now goes to the House.

Mississippi SCR523 and related bill SCR522 were introduced on 1/18/21 and were referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

Montana HJ13 was introduced on 2/17/21.  On 2/18 its first hearing was held.  Meanwhile Montana US Senator Steve Daines reintroduced his proposed “Balanced Budget Accountability Act” which, if adopted, would stipulate that “if Congress cannot pass a balanced budget, members of Congress will not get paid.”

Nebraska On 2/5 the McCook Gazette carried an editorial applauding 9 US Senators for co-sponsoring an effort in Congress to propose a BBA. Read the editorial HERE.

Ohio Congressman Steve Stivers, a long-time advocate for a BBA, released a statement saying, “Last year, the federal debt reached 100 percent of our nation’s economic output.  This fiscal year, it is expected to rise beyond 100 percent.  By 2031, our nation’s federal debt is projected to amount to 107 percent of the size of our economy.  This grim outlook only confirmed what we already knew, our debt is growing, and we must do something about it.”

South Carolina SCR141 with 5 sponsors was introduced on 1/12/21 and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Convention of States Project (15 applications currently submitted):
Iowa SJR8 (a CoSP bill minus term limits) was introduced on 2/1/21.  It resides in a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary committee.  Companion bill HJR9 with 3 sponsors was introduced on 2/8/21.  It resides in a subcommittee of the House State Government Committee where a hearing was scheduled for 2/17.

Kentucky SJR56 with 10 sponsors was introduced on 2/2/21. It was assigned to the Senate Committee on Committees.

Maryland HJR6 was introduced on 2/8/21 and has been assigned to the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee.

Missouri HCR17 was introduced on 1/25/21.  I has been referred to the House General Laws Committee.  Companion bill SCR4 was introduced on 1/13/21.  A hearing was scheduled for 2/23 before the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee.

Montana SJ2 was introduced on 1/18/21.  On 2/10, during second reading, the bill, fought vigorously by the John Birch Society, was indefinitely postponed.  According to the Independent Record (Helena, MT): “In the end, all Democrats in the chamber joined with seven Republicans to narrowly vote the bill down, 26-24.”

Nebraska LR14 was introduced on 1/8/21.  On 2/1 a hearing was scheduled for 2/10 before the Legislature Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

New Hampshire HCR1 was introduced on 1/9/21 with 2 sponsors.  On 2/16 a Minority Committee Report said “Ought to Pass.”

New Jersey SCR14 was introduced on 1/14/21 with 7 sponsors and assigned to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.  ACR98 is the companion House bill that was introduced on 2/3/21 with 13 sponsors.  It was referred to the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.

South Carolina SJR133 was introduced on 1/12/21 with 18 sponsors and was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary.  HJR3205 with 50 sponsors was also introduced on 1/12/21.  It has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

South Dakota HJR5001, with 20 sponsors was introduced on 1/19/21.  On motion in the House State Affairs Committee on 2/1 the bill was “deferred to the 41st legislative day” by a vote of 8 to 5, a tactic used to kill proposed legislation.  Like in Montana, the John Birch Society was a vocal opponent.   Companion bill SJR502 with 11 sponsors was introduced on 2/3/21.  During a hearing on 2/24 before the Senate State Affairs Committee, by a vote of 5 to 4, it too was “deferred to the 41st legislative day.”.

Vermont HJR3 was introduced on 2/5/21 and referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

Washington SJM8000 was introduced on 1/11/21 with 7 sponsors and referred to the State Government & Elections Committee.  HJM4001 was introduced on 2/10/21 as the companion bill in the House.  It was referred to the State Government & Tribal Relations Committee.

Wyoming SJR2 was introduced on 2/24/21 with 15 sponsors.

As a side Note: On 2/15 it was announced that CoSP head Mark Meckler was appointed Interim CEO for the newly revived Parler social media platform.

Fair & Free Elections Movement (5 applications currently submitted):
Maryland SJR7 was introduced on 1/29/21 with 2 sponsors.  It was assigned to the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee where a hearing was held on 2/18.

New York SB1070 was introduced on 1/6/21 with 17 sponsors and was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  AB428 is the House companion bill, it was also introduced on 1/6/21 with 34 sponsors.  It has been assigned to the Assembly Election Law Committee.

Oregon HJM1 and HJM4 were introduced on 1/11/21, both with 3 sponsors.  Both have been referred to the House Rules Committee.

Washington SJM8002 was introduced on 1/14/21 with 14 sponsors.  On 2/8 it was assigned to the Senate Rules Committee.  SB4153 is a related proposed state statute dealing with “fair and free elections.”  It was introduced on 1/12/21 with 4 sponsors and has been referred to the State Government & Elections Committee.

Congressional Term Limits Campaign (3 applications currently submitted):
Arizona HCR2015 was introduced on 2/3/21. On 2/17 the House Government & Elections Committee adopted a “Do Pass” motion by a 7 to 6 vote.  It now sits in the House Rules Committee where a hearing was scheduled for 2/22.  Companion bill SCR1025, sponsored by Senator Kelly Townsend, with 11 sponsors, was introduced on 1/28/21.  On 2/15/21 the bill was approved by the Senate Government Committee and on 2/22 was approved by the Senate Rules Committee and sent to the floor.

Georgia SR28 with 16 sponsors was introduced on 1/27/21.  On 2/17/21 it was advanced by the Senate Government Oversight Committee.  On 2/21 the bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 34 to 20.   Companion bill HR39 with 6 sponsors was introduced on 1/27/21 and resides in the House Rules Committee.

Iowa SJR4 with 8 sponsors was introduced on 1/21/21.  It resides in a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Indiana SJR10 was introduced on 1/4/21 with 5 sponsors.  It is pending before the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee.

Kentucky HJR27 with 8 sponsors was introduced on 1/8/21.  It was assigned to the House Committee on Committees.  Related bill SCR8 was introduced on 2/2/21.  On its second reading it was referred to the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee.

Missouri SCR8 was introduced on 2/2/21.  On 2/4 it was referred to the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee. HCR36 is the companion House bill, introduced on 2/17/21.

North Dakota HCR3033 was introduced on 2/5/21 with 11 sponsors. The Joint Government and Veterans Affairs Committee on 2/22 voted to advance the bill on a vote of 9 to 5.

Pennsylvanis HR57 was introduced on 2/24/21 and referred to the State Government Committee.

South Carolina SCR363 and SCR33 were introduced on 1/12/21 and referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. Companion bill HCR3663 with 12 sponsors was introduced on 1/14/21 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Tennessee HJR8 was introduced on 1/6/21 with 5 sponsors.  On 1/27 it was assigned to the Public Service Subcommittee.

Texas HJR95 was introduced on 2/22/21.

Bills Related to the Appointment of Article V Convention Delegates:
Mississippi SCR507, a bill dealing with criteria for Delegate Appointment to an Article V Convention, was introduced on 1/5/21.  It was referred to the Senate Rules Committee.   HCR12, the companion House bill is pending in the House Rules Committee.

Missouri SB231 introduced on 1/6/21, and companion HB836 deal with appointment of delegates to an Article V convention.  Both bills are under committee review.

Nebraska LB195, referred to as a “Faithful Delegate Act” was introduced on 1/8/21.  A hearing on the bill was set for 2/10 before the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

South Carolina SJR133 is a combination of an application for a CoSP convention and provided selection criteria for delegates to any Article V convention.  The bill was introduced on 1/21/21 with 18 sponsors and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

West Virginia SB332 (a bill establishing criteria for selecting delegates to an Article V convention of states) was introduced on 2/18/21 with 6 sponsors.  It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  On 2/26 that committee voted to advance the bill.

Other Amendment-Related Proposals Being Considered:
Indiana SJR2 was introduced on 1/4/21 as a “Keep 9” amendment to the Constitution to designate 9 as the number of Justices to comprise the Supreme Court.  The bill was referred to the Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure.

Iowa HJR3 introduced on 1/22/21 by Rep. John Wills is a proposed constitutional amendment which would require that “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the members of Congress, and that Congress shall make no law that applies to the members of Congress that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States; to remove all forms of tenure, pension, and other benefits retained by members of Congress after they leave office; to require that all members of Congress past, present, and future participate in social security and transfer all funds in the congressional retirement fund to the social security system; to require members of Congress to purchase their own retirement plans; to limit increases in congressional pay to the lesser of the increase in the consumer price index, or three percent; to eliminate the current congressional health care system and require members of Congress to participate in the same health care systems available to members of the American public; and to void all contracts with past and present members of Congress.”  On 2/15 the bill was submitted to a House subcommittee.

Kentucky SCR1 introduced on 1/7/21 by Sen. William White proposes a specifically-worded constitutional amendment that would “give states the authority to repeal a Federal rule, regulation, or statute, or a Federal court ruling relating to certain federal actions, when ratified by the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states.”

Mississippi HCR24 was introduced on 1/18/21 as a “Keep 9” amendment to the Constitution to designate 9 as the number of Justices to comprise the Supreme Court.  The bill was referred to the House Rules Committee.

Missouri SCR1 was introduced on 1/7/21, seeking an amendment to the US Constitution “to give states the authority to repeal a Federal rule, regulation, or statute, or a Federal court ruling relating to certain federal actions, when ratified by the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states.”  The proposal was referred to the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee.

Nebraska LR289 seeks to rescind all prior Article V Applications.  A hearing on the proposal was scheduled for 2/25 before the Legislative Executive Board Committee.

New Hampshire HCR4 was introduced on 1/12/21.  It proposed a constitutional amendment stating that a right to abortion is not secured by the Constitution.  On 2/16 it was voted down 21 to 0 as “Inexpedient to Legislate.”

North Dakota SCR4004 was introduced on 1/13/21 with 4 sponsors, seeking to rescind all prior calls for an Article V convention of states.  On 2/9 the effort was killed by a 15 to 32 vote.

North Dakota SCR4010 is a resolution adopted by the Senate on 2/22 that clarified that ND’s 1975 ratification of the 1972 ERA expired at 11:59 pm on 2/22/1979.   As pointed out by constitutional amendment expert Gregory Watson, the resolution now moves to the ND House.  In 2019 a similar resolution, originating in the House where it was approved by a 67 to 21 vote, was defeated by one vote in the Senate.  Watson was “cautiously optimistic” that the House will approve SCR4010.

South Dakota SJR501 is a bill seeking to rescind the state’s 2015 BBA Article V Application (HJR1001).  It was introduced on 1/21/21 with 9 sponsors.  On 2/9 a motion to put the bill to rescind on the legislative calendar failed by a vote of 17 to 18.

Transparency is One Answer to National Debt Problem –
A recent op-ed on The Center Square by Thomas W. Smith (chairman of OpenTheBooks.com) points out that in the last 20 years, America’s national debt has exploded.

Mr. Smith says, “out of the blue, the experts-for-hire have a new scheme to justify continued fiscal irresponsibility: modern monetary theory. It holds that so long as interest rates are lower than inflation rates, politicians can spend away.  That is not a theory.  It is idle wordplay, and the victim of such sophistry is the American taxpayer – and future generations of American taxpayers.”

Smith calls for a higher level of financial transparency by government at all levels.  Read his piece HERE.

Sen. Paul Introduces ‘Three Penny Budget-Balancing Plan’ –
The February 15 edition of the Tampa Dispatch (FL) carried a story about a federal budget-balancing proposal announced on February 4 by US Senator Rand Paul (KY) called the “Three Penny Plan.”  Read the Tampa Dispatch article HERE.

“When I started offering these kinds of budgets four years ago, we could balance with a freeze in spending… not cut anything.  Then we went to just a penny, then two, now it is three,” Senator Paul said. “We cannot keep ignoring this problem.  This budget sets a goal for balance and provides Congress with necessary tools to achieve that objective.”  The plan also includes guidance for the expansion of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), intended to help Americans more easily cover their health care costs.

The article quotes George Landrith (President of Frontiers of Freedom) as saying, “Senator Rand Paul has long been a champion of balancing the federal budget and protecting the American taxpayer.  Too often opponents of fiscal responsibility argue that to balance the budget would require draconian cuts.  But Senator Paul’s proposal only requires a budget cut of 3 pennies on the dollar each year for the next five years and then limits spending increases thereafter by 2 percent per year.”

The plan is supported by Grover Norquist (President of Americans for Tax Reform) who says, “Senators should support Rand Paul’s balanced budget plan to expand HSAs, reject tax hikes, and reduce spending by 3 pennies for every dollar.”  Other supporters include Johnathan Williams (Chief Economist for the American Legislative Exchange Council), and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.

Senator Paul’s proposal doesn’t change anything about Social Security, but is said to reduce spending by $67.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 and by $7.2 trillion over ten years.  The entire “Three Penny Plan” can be read HERE.

Tidbits of Related News –

  • The National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs, CO has announced a new training initiative it calls Cybersecurity for State Leaders.  The course intends to empower state lawmakers and staff with smart cybersecurity practices.

The course is built on the premise that State and non-state actors seek to compromise the US’s democratic institutions through a wide array of potential cyber-attacks.  “This initiative seeks to prevent that – by starting at the state level.  By training state lawmakers, this initiative takes training directly to the frontlines of our democracy – the lawmakers most closely representing everyday Americans.”  For more information, write to: cyberforstateleaders@cyber-center.org

  • The American system of government known as federalism is the topic of a course newly by The Great Courses Daily under the title US Federalism: Definition and Background.

In America, sovereign power is divided between the national government and local governments through federalism. This course is designed to enable citizens to learn how federalism came about in America, and how American politics works.  Click HERE for more details.

  • “We wouldn’t be in this mess without the Electoral College and two Senators for every state regardless of size” says the intro to an intellectually-questionable article by David S. Cohen in the February 14 edition of Rolling Stone magazine.

Cohen is a professor of law at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.  He uses the article to babble on about all the shortcomings he sees in America’s founding document, concluding by describing it as “our flawed Constitution.”

Good Related Reads –

  • During February the Heartland Institute issued a paper entitled Six Principles for State Legislators Seeking to Protect Free Speech on Social Media Platforms by James Taylor, President of Heartland.  The paper offers a brief overview of the current state of restrained and blocked free speech in America, and what led up to today’s situation.

Taylor then spells out principles on which steps can be taken by state and national legislators to restore the free-flow of ideas on the Internet.  Read Taylor’s thoughtful thesis HERE.

  • A South Dakota legislator hopes to form a “Constitutional Confederation” so states can sidestep unconstitutional federally-issued executive orders.  In a February 11 Patriot Post article, Thomas Gallatin wrote about the effort under the heading South Dakota Embraces Federalism.

If passed, the legislation (HB1194, introduced 2/1/21 with 16 sponsors) would grant South Dakota’s attorney general the authority to exempt South Dakota from any presidential executive order or action “that restricts a person’s rights or that is determined … to be unconstitutional.”  That may relate to public health emergencies, or it may pertain to regulating natural resources, agriculture, land use (especially regarding environmental issues), the financial sector, and the right to bear arms.  That bill can be seen HERE.

Does this equate to “Nullification?”  Legislators in South Carolina are considering a group of possible bills (like H3012 “The Second Amendment Protection Act,” with 20 sponsors) that together seem to seek the power to nullify a wide range of federal orders.

Section 23-31-1010 of H3012 says, “The Attorney General may seek injunctive relief in any court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin any official, agent, or employee of the government of the United States or employee of a corporation providing services to the government of the United States from enforcing any act, law, treaty, order, rule, or regulation of the government of the United States regarding a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately and owned in the State of South Carolina and remains within the borders of South Carolina.”

Reportedly, other proposed bills in the SC “Pushback Agenda” are aimed at checking what the SC legislators believe to be unlawful overreach emanating from Washington, DC.  Read an overview of their plans HERE.

  • The January 2021 edition of Imprimis (a Hillsdale College publication) carried an in-depth article that will be of significant interest to those concerned about how Big Tech is having inappropriate influence on American elections.  The article, written by Allum Bokhari, is headlined Who Is in Control? The Need to Rein in Big Tech.

The writer warns “If Big Tech’s capabilities are allowed to develop unchecked and unregulated, these companies will eventually have the power to not only suppress existing movements, but to anticipate and prevent the emergence of new ones.  This would mean the end of democracy as we know it and place us under the thumb of unaccountable oligarchy.”  Imprimis has over 5,600,000 readers every month, but if you did not see it, you can read it HERE.

Who Said It?

The strength of the Constitution
lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it.
Only if every single citizen feels duty bound
to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.
Thus, a duty is imposed on everyone which no one must evade,
notwithstanding risks and dangers for him and his family.
Albert Einstein
Said in answer to questions put to him in the early 1950s, prior to his death in 1955.
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