Arizona’s legislature will host a national planning session, authorizing rules and procedures for an upcoming future national amendment convention.
From September 12 to September 15, delegates representing state legislatures across the nation will meet at the BBA Planning Convention Committee, setting ground rules for how the amendment convention process will work.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution establishes methods for proposing and enacting amendments.
After 34 states call for an amendment convention, the gathering of commissioners selected by state lawmakers will be limited to consideration of amendments requiring the federal government to enact the proposal specified by the call.
Currently, 27 states have filed resolutions with Congress, known as balanced-budget amendments (BBAs), calling for constitutional restrictions on federal spending.
Neal Scheurer, executive director of Campaign Constitution, a nonpartisan organization devoted to organizing government efforts through constitutional amendments, state legislators must do what lawmakers in Washington, DC are unable or unwilling to do: fix the government.
“The national government will not curb their spending, so the only way to do this is for the states to come together and craft an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that requires the federal budget to spend only the revenue that it takes in,” Scheurer said.
Don’t Wait, Act Now
Arizona state Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa), the Arizona planning committee’s chairwoman, says it’s important for state lawmakers to get involved early in the planning process.
“We have been working hard to help the states to see that this is a historic and important convention for them to participate in, with a very high bar of legitimacy, which of course will make it harder for a large number of states to attend,” Townsend said. “However, every time we work on Article V, we move the ball that much closer to the end zone. I believe Arizona’s BBA planning convention puts us inside the 20-yard line.”
A Team Effort
State lawmakers can save the country from Congressional inaction if they work together, Townsend says.
“My experience with state legislators from around the country in the last five years has taught me that there is real brilliance amongst us, and that we can trust that they will work skillfully, carefully, and with the utmost integrity, to make sure we get our fiscal house under control,” Townsend said.
S. M. Chavey ([email protected]) writes from St. Paul, Minnesota.
Arizona State Legislature, “Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention,” 2017: http://www.azleg.gov/bbapc/