February 6, 2019
by Janine Hansen, National Constitutional Issues Chairman Eagle Forum
All of us have come to understand how critical it is for States to rescind all previous Article V applications for a Constitutional Convention. Without the four states which recently passed rescissions: Delaware in 2016, New Mexico, Maryland, and Nevada in 2017, we would be perilously close to an Article V Constitutional Convention with possibly 32 states having passed an Article V for a Balanced Budget Amendment. Now we face the unfathomable challenge of the Convention crowd combining applications from a myriad of issues to reach their goal.
Recognizing this, we have perhaps been unwise in our public pronouncements and national sharing of information regarding rescissions for the several states where rescissions have been introduced this year.
A case in point: We worked for over two years planning the rescission of all Article V Conventions applications in Nevada which passed in 2017. However, it was not until immediately before the first hearing in 2017, when the Legislative rules required posting of the hearing, that anything was said publicly about our rescission. We did not share the information with our national network or most of our own people. Remember SJR10, the rescission bill in Nevada, passed unanimously with all Republicans and all Democrats in both the Senate and the Assembly voting in favor. That was an unprecedented victory.
We started by educating our own people for years before we attempted rescission. Shawn Meehan was responsible for getting a resolution passed by the Nevada Republican Party opposing Article V. We certainly lobbied our legislators both Republicans and Democrats quietly before the bill was heard in committee in the Senate in 2017. In fact, our lobbying against an Article V Convention in the Assembly had been extensive in the previous Legislative Session of 2015, when the Assembly Committee killed the Convention of States bill and let die a faithful delegate bill after it was illegally forced out of committee.
Once the “Cat was out of the Bag”, it was public knowledge that we were trying to rescind, we knew that the paid hordes from the Convention crowd, Convention of States, Balanced Budget Amendment and Wolf PAC trying to rescind Citizens United, would descend upon us and descend they did. That is why we had “silently” prepared the path for victory…while they were unaware. Once the paid minions of the Convention horde descend upon you, rational discussion opportunities with Legislators disappear. After the Senate passed rescission, the national and state pressure on Legislators to defeat rescission exploded.
An interesting spectacle faced our Assembly Committee as Right and Left combined to oppose SJR10. High powered, well paid lawyers from out of state filled the seats to testify against SJR10. The Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, Convention of States and Wolf PAC were all represented.
Had we announced our recession bill publicly before the first hearing in the Senate, it may never have made it to the Assembly. Our opponents have many resources, especially big money and big names that are not available to Convention opponents.
Because Nevada’s Legislature had a majority of Democrats, I got a Democrat Senator to sponsor the bill. We also used every effort to secure as many Republicans votes as possible…in fact the Democrat sponsor requested Republican commitments to vote for the bill…which we secured. All in all, no rescission effort has been as successful as Nevada’s passing unanimously in both houses.
Let me just conclude by saying….if you want to successfully rescind…then experience would dictate….Don’t let the Cat out of the Bag until you have successfully secured the votes you need to pass the rescission. If you have counted votes and know that you can’t successfully rescind, then change tactics and use the rescission to keep the Convention hordes busy while you educate Legislators. Hopefully, the Convention crowd will use up lots of resources opposing your efforts.