Allen Tharp’s Comments to SATP Supporters of HJR 77
Awesome day at the capitol yesterday, as we testified for HJR 77: Article V Convention of States (COS).
I can’t tell you how proud I am of all of you that took your day to travel to Austin and testify on something so important. There is nothing as important on the political and economic front as this. Nothing else out there can accomplish what we can do with an Article V COS.
I know that the day was exhausting with HJR 77 unfortunately being the last bill on the agenda, but your attendance and testimony were invaluable. Many went all day without lunch or breaks to make sure we were there when we were called.
I also want to thank those of you who could not attend but made phone calls and sent emails and letters to the committee members and your representatives in support of HJR 77. All of this activity is so crucial to the success of this project.
Nathan Morgan’s Comments on the Proceedings
The Texas Legislature is progressing through an Application process that will enable participation in a Convention of States, as described in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. On March 12, 2015, the Legislative Committee assigned to hear public testimony on this issue convened at the State Capitol. Individuals who testified were both for and against HJR 77, a bill submitted that would commit Texas to pursuing participation in a Convention of States.
Not surprising, lobbyists represented most of the opposing position. The testimony included observations of runaway Federal debt, onerous Federal regulations, and a generally irresponsible Federal government. Some testified of their delight in current conditions and attempted to instill fear of the potential consequences of a Convention of States, while others pointed out current dire conditions and encouraged Legislators to forge ahead with the Constitutional process to regain control.
Of all the testimony observed, none was more disconcerting than that of Frank C. Kuchar. As a former candidate for Congressional District 6 from Arlington in Tarrant County, TX, Mr. Kuchar is now a self-described Constitutional scholar. As a candidate for Congressional District 6, he attracted 9.18% of the votes in the 2012 Republican Primary. His presentation to the Committee hearing public comments on HJR 77 can be seen beginning at 4:47:34 in the video record of the hearing.
Although most opposing comments were rife with fear and loathing, the hyperbole and conjecture in Mr. Kuchar’s historical presentation [on the inclusion of Article V in the Constitution] cannot be exaggerated, as it is filled with presuppositions that appear nowhere in the actual text, spirit, or intent of Article V. Yes, there can be no doubt that the debate and deliberation over the words and phrases that ultimately became law were contentious. Mr. Kuchar reiterates portions of those arguments while attempting to convince Legislators that they are footnotes where there are no such footnotes.
The final, short and simple text of the Article that became, and is current law, verbatim, is as follows:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
The central theme of Mr. Kuchar’s argument was that the Congress controls a Convention of States, when one can be assembled, and for what purpose. He further presupposes that only Amendments to the Constitution approved by Congress can be enacted through the ratification process.
Article V clearly says 2/3 of the State Legislatures can make Application for a Convention for purposes that compel Amendments to the Constitution. Further, Article V provides Congress may propose the method for ratification either by 3/4 of the states or by the Congress. Neither method of ratification allows for any alteration of the Amendments as presented for ratification through the Convention process.
There does not appear to be any language that wrests control of the Article V process to the Congress.
Transcript of Allen Tharp’s Testimony to the Committee
Thanks to those of you who have researched Article V and understand that it is time to use our Constitution to rein in the runaway federal government and restore the balance of power to the states. We the people want strong state governments, not a strong federal government.
The founders were wise to include Article V in the constitution to provide a mechanism for the states to override the federal government and give the states a safety valve they could use to stop the federal government, if a time came when it became tyrannical, abusive, and nonresponsive to the people and the states. It was included to guard against a time when the federal government might usurp the powers reserved to the people and the states by the ninth and tenth amendments.
No informed person could deny that that time is now, with a federal government that ignores the Constitution and has amassed a whopping $18 trillion national debt and the government still adding to the debt by nearly a half trillion annually.
No one can seriously think that Washington politicians are going to fix this on their own. They haven’t and they won’t. So, most of us outside the beltway agree that it is time for the states to use Article V to fix what Washington will not. The beauty of Article V is that it provides for states to override every branch of the federal government, as long as 38 states are in agreement. Thirty eight states then are more powerful than the Congress, president, and Supreme Court.
So how is HJR 77 COS different than the other Article V proposals? Other proposals limit the convention to one specific amendment, i.e. balanced budget, for example. Whereas, The COS limits the convention by subject matter. So, that is the difference, but either way, the conventions are limited and cannot result in a “runaway” convention.
The COS is limited to three specific categories of amendments that:
- Impose fiscal restraints on the federal government. Obviously this part cannot result in a “runaway” convention, unless the fear is we might put too many fiscal restraints on the federal government.
- Limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. Surely there cannot be a real concern that we might limit their power and jurisdiction too much.
- Limit the terms of office of federal government officials. No naysayer could seriously claim that we might limit the terms too much!
When you understand these limitations placed on the Convention of States, along with the high bar of a 38 state minimum for ratification of any amendment, then you must understand how absurd these allegations of a “runaway” convention actually are.
The COS does not endorse a Constitutional convention and will not touch the Bill of Rights. Therefore, when you hear someone say that this could be a runaway convention or we might abolish the first or second amendment, they are misinformed because doing that would be in direct contravention of the intent of a COS.
So what kind of amendments might be considered at a COS? In addition to a balanced budget amendment, here are some other amendments that would limit the scope and authority of the government and could possibly be considered as part of a COS convention: Term limits, single subject bills, flat/fair tax, a state override amendment allowing states to overturn bad legislation or overturn bad supreme court rulings, States could pass an amendment limiting the commerce clause.
There is a lot broken in Washington, that will not be fixed by Washington and cannot be fixed with only one amendment but can be fixed with a COS series of limiting amendments. And that is why we say a COS is the only solution as big as the problem.
We ask you all to please support HJR 77.
Viviano Rodriguez’s Comments on the Proceedings
On Thursday, March 12, 2015, Allen Tharp provided free transportation on the Lion and Rose bus for those who wanted to attend and support HJR 77 and possibly testify before the Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility, chaired by Representative Phil King. Many from San Antonio drove up. We had a nice delegation supporting the measure.
HJR 77 is legislation offered by Representative Rick Miller that calls for Texas to join other States in a Convention of States to address three issues. These three issues are the placement of control on the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, the establishment of fiscal constraints and the issue of term limits to members of Congress and the Federal courts.
The convention of States would meet and propose amendments, constrained by these three subject matters, to the U.S. Constitution for ratification. These would then begin the ratification process for approval. Ratification by 38 States of each proposed amendment would then add that amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
It was a long day for most. The testimony lasted for over 5 hours. Much of the testimony was repetitive and seemed to be in about four camps.
Much of the testimony was for the measure although it seemed concentrated on the ills of the Federal Government. There were not many solutions offered but there was support. It is interesting to note that most people who supported the bill tried hard to stay close to the suggested time of three minutes or less.
There is a camp supported by the John Birch Society that did not see any issue with the way things are and cast fear that any attempt to alter the Constitution would lead to disaster. George Soros was mentioned by several of the speakers. Every one of the Birchers was opposed to the measure. It should also be noted: those who opposed the measure took two or more times the recommended time to express their positions. If they did not take enough time, they would repeat themselves. They seemed serious about burning up time.
There was a camp that wanted to discuss the illegality of the current Constitution or go into great detail on the history of the Federalist Papers. For example I learned that Hamilton almost left one of the sessions, but stopped at the door and came back to the meeting because he wanted to keep a watch on the remaining “rascals.” There was confusion from some speakers as they could be for the effort but spoke as if they were against and the other way around. There were some who injected the Almighty or lack of our reliance on the Almighty as the problem. It was democracy in action.
There were a few eloquent speakers that stayed on message and presented the issues and potential solutions. These included Tamara Colbert, Texas Director, Convention of States Project, who spoke with passion and Allen Tharp, President, San Antonio Tea Party, who defined the out-of-control mess we are in and saw hope in the convention. Viviano Rodriguez spoke about what started the problem, why we have the problem and how to solve the problem. He also challenged the committee they had the power to resolve it.
It is not known how many of our people testified as some people (not our people) were just time hogs. Some supporters relinquished their time to speak but their comments in favor of HJR77 are on the record. It was a good civics lesson for all. The SATP Board thanks all that support the measure.
CLICK HERE to view the 5 plus hours of testimony at :
Representative Rick Miller, primary sponsor of HJR 77, discusses the purpose of the joint resolution at 2 hours 25 minutes into the video;
Tamara Colbert’s testimony is at 2 hours 38 minutes into the video;
Allen Tharp’s testimony is at 3 hours 47 minutes and 30 seconds into the video; and
Viviano Rodriguez’s testimony is at 4 hours 31 minutes into the video.
Transcript of Viviano Rodriguez’s Testimony to the Committee
Thank you Chairman King and the other Honorable members of the Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility for the opportunity to present my view on the importance of HJR 77.
I support the measure and hope the committee does as well. My name is Viviano Rodriguez, and I live in San Antonio, zip code 78240. I have a written statement and supporting documentation and ask this be entered as part of the record.
The power balance originally promised in the Constitution provided for a limited Federal government with a voice for the People in the US House of Representatives and a voice for the States in the US Senate to assure the primary role of the Federal Government is the protection of our Liberty.
With the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment, the voice and power of the several States was removed and power transferred to the political parties. Today, it is the interest of the political party that is important, not I, not you, nor the promised protection of our Liberty.
Since its ratification, the political parties have pursued their interests’, principally to remain in power with little regard for the best interests of all the American people. The political parties have abused the American people, rewarding those that keep them in power and punishing those that do not. This has divided our peoples and endangered our Nation. The People no longer govern but instead the People are managed and controlled by the few.
I support HJR 77 because I see in this measure, the hope of change the current President promised. I have hope that once again, power may be restored to the people through our respective States, our State legislators, where you as our voice can speak for all Texans at the National level and provide a balance to the abuse of power by the special interests of the national political parties, as it was, before the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment. With your newly restored powers, by the promised changes, you will be able with other like-minded States to accept or reject that abusive federal legislation or regulation enacted by the few, for the few, when opposed by the majority of the American People.
You have the power to help save and heal our Nation, I ask for your support of HJR 77.
God Bless Texas. Thank you.
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