Updated 8/4 at 3:15 p.m. ET
Convention of States Foundation's 2023 Simulated Article V Convention is underway in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. As commissioners make progress on Thursday and Friday, you can check back here for the latest updates.
Friday Late Afternoon
"The Government Accountability Office has said that in just Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, there's more recoverable oil than the rest of the world combined, locked up in federally controlled lands," Utah Rep. Ken Ivory revealed as he introduced the final amendment proposal of the simulation.
The Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction Committee introduced the last proposal, which surrounded the return of state lands. As reported below, the U.S. government owns the mineral rights to a considerable amount of land and minerals.
The proposal seeks to forbid the federal government from owning, regulating, or controlling land or mineral rights except when granted permission by a state's legislature. The committee continues in-depth dialogue and revision of the proposed language.
"This one is complicated," COSF President Mark Meckler commented as the commissioners debated. "The eastern states are paying billions of dollars for the mismanagement of the western states."
The amendment passed with unanimous consent, and the 2023 Simulated Article V Convention adjourned.
Friday Early Afternoon
The commissioners returned from recess and jumped right into the sole proposal brought from the Fiscal Restraints Committee. The proposal requires the federal government to abide by a balanced budget.
"Federal expenditures for each fiscal year shall not exceed average annual revenue collected in the prior three fiscal years, not to exceed eighteen percent of the gross domestic product of the preceding calendar year," Section One states. The text goes on to detail the fiscal rules, requirements, and exceptions.
The assembly passed the balanced budget amendment proposal with almost unanimous approval, 46 yeas and 2 nays.
The final committee developed three proposals and presented them to the full assembly on Friday afternoon. The Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction Committee first's proposal is to redefine the Commerce Clause.
Section One reads: "Commerce among the states shall mean buying, selling, or transportation of commercial goods and services across state lines."
The amendment says that Congress shall not delegate any rule making function related to commerce among the states to any executive official or agency. The proposal passed 46-2.
The committee went on to introduce their second proposal, the countermand proposal. The amendment would allow a simple majority of the states to rescind any action of Congress, the President, or administrative agencies. No states opposed the amendment, and the packed room of commissioners ignited into cheers and applause.
At 9 a.m., the assembly convened for roll call. The convention is set to consider six amendment proposals that have been reported by the committees.
Convention President Woody Jenkins reminded livestream viewers that 48 hours ago, almost none of the commissioners knew each other.
"Just remember we've only had a brief time to consider the things that we do. They would certainly be considered in more depth at an actual Convention of States. And we're hoping that happens. Today we're going to deal with six proposals that have been reported by committee," Jenkins announced.
The term limits committee began the morning session by presenting their two proposals to the full assembly.
Proposal One – Section 1: No person shall be elected to serve in the House of Representatives more than nine full terms, nor elected or appointed to serve in the Senate more than three full terms. This article shall not disqualify any person from completing a term in the Congress, to which that person was elected or appointed prior to ratification of this article Section 2: No person shall serve in Congress for more than 24 years in total.
Following brief discussion and debate, the assembly voted on the first proposal of the day, and it failed to pass in a 15-34 vote. The commissioners continued to debate and alter the proposal's language. One of the focal points centered around limiting terms of office for unelected government bureaucrats.
In the final vote, the proposal passed in a 43-5 vote. The assembly then moved on to consider the term limit committee's second proposal.
Proposal Two – The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of nine judges, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum.
After over an hour of deliberation and modifications, proposal number two passed 39-8 with one abstention.
The three committees evaluated and discussed possible amendment proposals.
The Fiscal Restraints Committee keyed in on digital currency. The committee noted concerns about central currency limiting the purchase of gas appliances. Commissioners also mentioned the Canadian truckers who used digital currency to mobilize and then had their bank accounts frozen by the government.
The term limits committee broke up into two subcommittees to discuss amendments. They came back together as a group and are down to five amendments. The committee continued to debate, and they worked rigorously to craft meticulous amendment language.
Late on Thursday afternoon, the Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction Committee agreed on language in two amendment proposals. The committee continued to debate a third proposal.
As serious, diplomatic conversations carried out all afternoon, commissioners brought their personal experiences to the table. A Wyoming commissioner shared his perspective on federal government overreach harming the entire state. He explained that Wyoming is not a sovereign state because the federal government owns so much of the state's wealth. The U.S. government owns the mineral rights to much of the state's coal supply, over one trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and millions of barrels of oil. It's all found in Wyoming and yet the federal government has its hands on these commodities and has prohibited the state and the people from accessing them.
After roll call, invocation, and the Pledge of Allegiance, commissioners were tasked with selecting a president of the convention. During the first round of voting, 23 states voted for Louisiana Rep. Woody Jenkins, 17 states voted for Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapport, and eight states voted for Oklahoma Rep. Rob Standridge. No candidate won the majority, which required another round of voting along with the removal of the lowest-performing candidate. Following the second round, Woody Jenkins was elected the convention president.
The full assembly then split off into three committees, where commissioners began discussing subject-specific amendment proposals. Rep. Dan Eubanks of Mississippi is Chair of the Term Limits & Federal Judicial Jurisdiction Committee. Rep. Ken Ivory of Utah is Chair of the Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction Committee. Sen. Kevin Lundberg of Colorado is Chair of the Fiscal Restraints Committee.