Governor Hassan Vetoes Article V Delegate Limitation Bill
Opposes Restraining a Corrupt, Unaccountable Washington
Governor Hassan today vetoed HB-148, a bill specifying how New Hampshire delegates would be selected to an increasingly likely and first-ever Article V convention to propose amendments to the US Constitution. HB-148 would also have confirmed historical precedent that delegate actions are limited to the subject matter contained in any legislative resolution applying for an amending convention.
The Governor’s veto message is stuffed with purposeful misinformation, apparently to conceal her opposition to the single greatest power granted by the Constitution to the states, the power now needing exercise to restrain our corrupt and unaccountable Washington government.
I have personally worked during my campaign last year for US Senate and, this year, in New Hampshire and in several other states around the country in support of all three of the leading efforts to launch an Article V convention of states.
- Governor Hassan questions whether the state-led process for proposing and ratifying constitutional amendments is the “right course of action.” In their proposed and subsequently ratified Constitution, the framers voted unanimously at the 1787 constitutional convention to include two paths to amendment in Article V: Congress initiated and state ratified; state initiated and state ratified. The framers included the state-led process specifically because they feared a Congress that could one day become corrupt and unaccountable and that would block needed amendments impinging on its own interests and powers. Congress would not have proposed the Bill of Rights and several other of the current 27 amendments had Congress not been pressured to act by simultaneous organization of the state-led process for these amendments.
- Congress has today become corrupt and unaccountable, acting as it does in the interest of large campaign contributors and ignoring the interests of average Americans. The convoluted federal tax code and massive debt are evidence that Congress has lost the ability to restrain itself and to act in the national interest.
- Governor Hassan asserts that, “a convention for considering amending the constitution is not going to be called by the states any time soon.”In fact as of today, 27 of the needed 34 states have passed resolutions applying for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment. New Hampshire is one of those 27 states.Four states each have applied for a convention to propose amendments related to political money corruption and to federal fiscal restraint, term limits, and restoration of federalism. Given current momentum, the 34 states needed to trigger a BBA convention call could be in place within one to two years.
- Governor Hassan states that a delegate limitation law would be “contrary to the true purpose of any constitutional convention.” Here, she is egregiously wrong. The US Constitution in Article V provides for a “convention for proposing amendments.” Nowhere in the Constitution is there any provision by any route for a constitutional convention at which amendments could be proposed relative to subjects never contemplated by or undesired by the states.
- Governor Hassan wrongly asserts that a New Hampshire delegate limitation law should not be considered until an amending convention has been called.Delegate limitation laws, such as HB148, increase public confidence that delegates will not “runaway” by proposing amendments not germane to the subject matter limitations contained in their state application resolutions. Opposition to delegate limitation laws often conceals hostility to the state-led Article V process and to a preference that Washington continue unrestrained.
Please urge members of the New Hampshire House and Senate to override Governor Hassan’s veto of HB-148 and support state powers granted by the Constitution.
- Finally, Governor Hassan parrots a serious historical error frequently promoted by the John Birch Society, that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was itself a runaway convention. In fact, the 1787 convention was suggested by the five-state Annapolis Convention of 1786, resulting in ten states adopting the following application language to guide delegates: “… taking into Consideration the state of the Union, as to trade and other important objects, and of devising such other Provisions as shall appear to be necessary to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies thereof.”
Thanks for listening,