An Open Letter to the North Dakota House: Stand Up for North Dakotans‘ Constitutional Rights, Support HB 1446

Dear Legislator :

On behalf of National Taxpayers Union’s (NTU’s) 362,000 members nationwide as well as our 1,000-plus members who reside in North Dakota, I urge you to support House Bill 1446, authored by Representative Kim Koppelman. This legislation, expected to come before the House next week, would establish new specifications for North Dakota’s participation in a limited convention of states for purposes of proposing an amendment under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

As you may know, NTU has a long history of supporting the Article V call for a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the U.S. Constitution. Recently, my colleague Lee Schalk outlined our organization’s reasons why lawmakers must help lead Congress back to the path of fiscal responsibility. In testimony submitted to the Virginia General Assembly regarding this issue, Mr. Schalk provided a great deal of detail on how the Article V amendment convention process itself is a safe, limited option the Founders gave us for occasions when Congress refuses to act in urgent cases of the national interest. However, Mr. Schalk also stated:

Working with the BBA Task Force and the American Legislative Exchange Council, NTU has further helped to clarify this question by drafting model legislation known as the Delegate Limitation Act. States can adopt this legislation concurrently with BBA convention calls, so as to outline oaths, legal penalties for delegates who violate their charges, and delegate recall procedures that further secure the convention process.

House Bill 1446 admirably reflects these precepts, by establishing or strengthening the powers of the Legislative Assembly with respect to delegate selection and instruction, limitation of convention subjects, and other procedures. The resulting legislation provides even greater assurance that a convention will confine itself solely to the task of drafting the single amendment for which delegates were originally assembled.

NTU has long held that a fiscally reckless Congress – a sitting, plenary constitutional convention in and of itself – is the true threat to our Constitutional system of checks and balances, not the very limited procedure afforded states under Article V. House Bill 1446 would construct an even more solid foundation for North Dakota’s role in restoring accountability and sustainability to the nation’s finances. Please take this opportunity to amplify your state’s voice in this vital national conversation now.

Pete Sepp
Executive Vice President