Both an Article V convention proposal and a balanced budget compact proposal passed out of the House State Agencies Committee Friday morning.
Article V of the Constitution provides that, “The Congress…on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments…”
Rep. Nate Bell’s HB 1006 would allow Arkansas to create a compact for an Article V convention focusing on a balanced budget Constitutional amendment.
Bell said about HB 1006:
The people of the United States overwhelmingly want a balanced budget. They’ve made it clear. There is overwhelming support in every poll for a balanced budget amendment. Congress just doesn’t do it, so this is exactly the moment in time that the Founders put (Article V) in the (Constitution) for.
Rep. Bob Ballinger sponsored a similar Article V bill, which also passed out of committee Friday morning. However, Ballinger’s bill includes a wider scope of issues that could be considered at a Article V Convention, if one were called.
Ballinger said at the hearing this morning on HJR 1003:
Article V was put in there specifically so that states could check, in case the federal government were to get too large and spend too much money — and it was put in as a method to create some control and put in some constraints. So that’s exactly what I feel like our obligation is to do this. Of course, if 34 states make the call, there would be a convention, and it would take 38 states to ratify anything that would come out of it.
According to HJR 1003’s text, if called, the convention would be “limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.”
Overall, these measures could significantly change the size and scope of the federal government, and could help shrink the $17 trillion debt our federal government has incurred up to this point — if enough states joined together to call for a convention.
(We’ll write soon about Rep. Karilyn Brown’s bill, which is designed to ensure that an Article V convention wouldn’t be a “runaway” convention. Brown’s bill was on the committee’s agenda for today, but the pressures of time delayed its consideration until next week.)
Federal constitutional reform invites state legislators to consider important questions about the role of government, and their efforts to roll back big government at the federal level are a continuing trend. Alaska passed an Article V Balanced Budget Compact last year. Will Arkansas be next?