A resolution that would have petitioned Congress to call an Article V Convention failed narrowly this afternoon.
You can see the vote count here.
The resolution would have called for a convention to address specific issues: proposing constitutional amendments to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting its power and jurisdiction, and enacting term limits.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, who said he did so due to people complaining about “federal mandates, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and unconstitutional executive orders.” “Nothing is ever done,” Stubblefield said, to reverse these measures.
Stubblefield also said there’s been “a lot” of misinformation spread about the legislation.
Stubblefield told his colleagues this afternoon:
Many of us have been inundated with calls and emails. Many of those were along the lines of blatant intimidation and filled with a lot of misinformation concerning this bill. On top of that, many went as far to say if you were affiliated with certain groups such as ALEC [American Legislative Exchange Council] that you were un-American and you didn’t believe in the Constitution. There’s certainly been a lot of misinformation out there.
Hmm…where could all this misinformation Stubblefield referenced be coming from? Alas, it appears like the culprits are Secure Arkansas again.
Now, just to be clear, reasonable minds can disagree over whether an Article V Convention is a worthwhile tactic to limit the size and scope of the federal government. I happen to think it is, but there are definitely some Senators who voted against this legislation whose opinion I respect as well.
However, a quick perusal of the “shocking revelations” Secure Arkansas printed in its anti-Article V Convention screed suggests that they weren’t written by any reasonable mind.
For example, Secure Arkansas’s major point seems to be that there’s some kind of “shadow government” lurking behind closed doors to get legislators to vote for this legislation. Their evidence? Some supporters of this legislation are members of ALEC, a national organization that advocates for policies that advance “free markets, limited government and federalism.” You know…the kinds of things just about every Republican claims to be for. Shocking!
Secure Arkansas then goes on to provide further proof of a shadow government by unveiling the fact that both the House and Senate State Agencies Committees have the same three staffers. Readers less eager to indulge in conspiracy theories might conclude that this is just the result of the state saving some money on staff salaries and benefits by having staff specialize in one area of policy so as to work on identical committees in the House and Senate.
The oddest revelation from Secure Arkansas is their production of a pledge that ALEC affiliates sign, which states “I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.” Those of us in the real world will recognize this language as similar or identical to the language in any agreement that people make when they join a large organization and acquire a position of trust or fiduciary responsibility within it. All this language means is that the signer won’t use his or her position in the organization to advance personal or private interests. It doesn’t mean (as Secure Arkansas says) that “ALEC’s agenda is being placed FIRST over the State of Arkansas” or that people who join ALEC have therefore committed treason.
Regrettably, the arguments that Secure Arkansas makes typically have two qualities: they’re always unsigned, and they’re often insane.
Unfortunately, the arguments Secure Arkansas makes appear to carry serious weight in the Arkansas Senate — if the fate of Stubblefield’s proposal is any indication.
In other legislative news today, the Arkansas House approved an income tax exemption for military retirees over the objections of some conservative lawmakers to the legislation. That tax proposal includes higher taxes on soft drinks and digital downloads.