Bill Fruth self -published 10 Amendments for Freedom in 2010. Three years later, radio personality Mark Levin latched on to the idea, and wrote his eleven Liberty Amendments, which are slightly different from Fruth’s. Looking them over, I think I see room for another one more, an Initiative Amendment.
If 30 State Legislatures pass Resolutions calling for enactment of the exact same piece of federal legislation, it would appear on the ballot for the next regularly scheduled Congressional election. The people of each Congressional District would vote on this proposal, and it would become the law of the land if approved by voters in a majority of the electoral college. A State’s senatorial electoral votes would be determined by the statewide vote.
Congress is a failed institution, and it’s an institutional failure, not a failure of leadership. I don’t think it’s going to get any better. Pelosi and Schumer would make it even worse, and while Ryan and McConnell are weak leaders, they’re weak because their members are weak. What’s going to change? What’s going to get better?
If there was a meeting of the 99 State Legislative leaders — all the Presiding Officers — they might be able to agree among themselves on the language of an Obamacare Repeal and Replace Act. I think they could write a better bill than Congress. Once they reach agreement they go back to their States and get their Legislatures to pass the Resolutions, it would be on the ballot the following November of an even numbered year. If it’s better than the status quo, which isn’t asking a lot, it could pass.
It’s a way around Congress.
This is the kind of idea that can be kicked around, informally, at Phoenix. We’re looking for a consensus, on something. Fruth has ten ideas, Levin has eleven, and I have one. Maybe — who knows? — one of these ideas is the consensus choice, the one that almost everyone can agree on. And that would be the subject of the next Article V Amendment Campaign, once the balanced budget amendment is sent to Congress with 34 Resolutions.
The core elements of the BBA Task Force would be the place to start such a campaign. The contacts made by Bill Fruth alone are enough to get the ball rolling, and quickly. It would be a question of funding. There would have to be some substantial money behind the next effort. Of course, when I think of the incredible amounts of money wasted on political advocacy and politics, we’re not talking about really huge amounts.
Of all the active Article V efforts, only one was originally instigated by State Legislators themselves. Senator Jim Clark of Maryland and Rep. David Halbrook of Mississippi began the BBA campaign in 1975. It was organic, it came from within the body of State Legislatures themselves. It wasn’t suggested to them, or somehow imposed on them. It was their idea, and they quickly got 30 States.
If the Commissioners in Phoenix sit down and think about it, they probably could agree on something. We’ll find out when the time comes.