2015 Montana Legislature
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HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 3
INTRODUCED BY E. HILL
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA URGING THE RESTORATION OF FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN AMERICA; AND PROVIDING FOR THE APPLICATION FOR AN ARTICLE V AMENDMENTS CONVENTION TO BE CALLED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROPOSING AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
WHEREAS, the first President of the United States, George Washington, stated, "The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government"; and
WHEREAS, it was the stated intention of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America that the Congress of the United States of America should be "dependent on the people alone" (James Madison, Federalist 52); and
WHEREAS, that dependency has evolved from a dependency on the people alone to a dependency on those who spend excessively in elections, through campaigns or third-party groups; and
WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people", which has consistently been interpreted to allow the several states to establish their own laws governing the financing of elections; and
WHEREAS, since 1912, through passage of the Corrupt Practices Act by initiative, and again in 1996 by passage of Initiative No. 125, the State of Montana has consistently exercised its legal authority to mitigate corrupting influences in its electoral process; and
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), removed restrictions on amounts of independent political spending, establishing a de facto imposition on the several states and denying them the ability to establish their own laws governing the financing of elections; and
WHEREAS, the removal of those restrictions has resulted in the unjust influence of powerful economic forces, which have supplanted the will of the people by undermining our ability to choose our political leadership, write our own laws, and determine the fate of our state; and
WHEREAS, in November 2012, Montanans voted overwhelmingly to enact Initiative No. 166, which clearly expressed the State of Montana's desire to remove the corrupting influence of money in elections and restore free and fair elections by amending the Constitution of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the State of Montana charged its congressional delegation to work diligently to secure a vote, passage, and submission to the states for ratification of such an amendment; and
WHEREAS, the United States Congress has failed to act according to the will of the people and submit such an amendment for ratification by the states; and
WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution included the convention method of proposing federal constitutional amendments so that the several states could protect themselves, and their citizens, from encroachments of the federal government in the event that the federal government became unresponsive to the will of the American people; and
WHEREAS, the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, stated "Through their state legislatures and without regard to the federal government, the people can demand a convention to propose amendments that can and will reverse any trends they see as fatal to true representative government"; and
WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution requires the United States Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments upon application of two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, the State of Montana sees the need for a convention to propose amendments in order to address concerns such as those raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) and related cases and events, including those occurring long before or afterward or for a substantially similar purpose, and desires that the convention should be so limited; and
WHEREAS, the Montana Legislature intends that the Montana delegates to the convention be equally made up of individuals currently elected to state and local office or that delegates be selected by election in each congressional district in Montana, but that any individual who is or has ever been elected or appointed to federal office be prohibited from serving as a Montana delegate to an amendments convention; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature further intends to retain the ability to restrict or expand the authority of its Montana delegates within the limits expressed in this resolution; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature of the State of Montana intends that this joint resolution be a continuing application considered together with similar applications calling for a convention on this subject, such as those approved by Vermont legislators (J.R.S. No. 27) and by California lawmakers (A.J.R. No. 1), and as considered during 2014 in the Illinois General Assembly (S.J.R. No. 42), and as proposed in the state legislatures of New Mexico, Maine, Minnesota and other states for 2015, until such time as the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states have applied for such a convention and that convention has actually been called by Congress.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the State of Montana, speaking through its Legislature, and pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution, hereby petitions the United States Congress to call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America as soon as two-thirds of the several states have applied for a convention.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Montana Secretary of State is directed to transmit copies of this joint resolution to the President of the United States, the Governor of each state, and the presiding officer of each house of each state legislature in the United States, to the Vice President of the United States in his capacity as presiding officer of the United States Senate and addressed to him at the legislative office that he maintains inside the United States Capitol, to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to both United States Senators and all United States Representatives from Montana in the Congress with the respectful request that the full and complete text of this joint resolution be entered into the Congressional Record as an official memorial to Congress from the Legislature of the State of Montana, to the Archivist of the United States, and the respective Clerks of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate requesting that they record this application in the published tally of state petitions for a convention of the states under Article V of the United States Constitution.
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