This is quite simple.

This is a call to action.

There are 2 legislative bills happening that need to be stopped.

Federal Level: H.R. 899 – To terminate the Department of Education.

Introduced February 7th, 2017 by Kentucky Republican Representative Thomas Massie.

Co-Sponsored by:

  • Michigan Republican Justin Amash
  • Arizona Republican Andy Biggs
  • Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz
  • Florida Republican Matt Gaetz
  • Georgia Republican Jody B. Hice
  • North Carolina Republican Walter B. Jones
  • Idaho Republican Raul R Labrador

This bill calls for the Department of Education to cease to exist as of December 31, 2018.

Betsy Devos was the tip of the iceberg. She was never meant to actually lead education within this country. She has been the cloak to distract from the real mission of this administration. Trump talks about providing power back to the people (and states) this means that without a Federal Department of Education each state will be able to set its standards. States that put stock in public education will invest and get ahead of those states that choose to defund and discredit education. The Department of Education was created to provide an equal opportunity playing field across the country with standardized education levels. (This does need to be fixed as no teacher should have to teach to a standardized test, however a teacher in Maine should teach their class the same subject matter as a teacher in Oregon – This allows for a fluid society which is allowed to move around without being placed at a comparative advantage or disadvantage.)

Don’t get me wrong on this, I think there are improvements that can be done to the Department of Education to increase performance and efficiency within schools nationwide. Betsy DeVos is going to restrict any of those advancements in public education.

Getting rid of the department is not going to fix the education or budget problems.

 

Second Legislative Action is happening in states across the nation and is calling for a Constitutional Amendment requiring that the federal government carries a balanced budget. I want to start by stating I think we can all agree that we would love for the government to work within it’s means. That being said there are aspects of the budget that are necessary for providing opportunities to citizens.

The current administration is talking about bringing balance to the budget by cutting programs that they see as fat. i.e. The Department of Education, The Environmental Protection Agency, etc. and yet talks about expanding a military power that is already (from a financial backing) bigger then the next 7 military powers combined and building a $21 billion wall on the southern boarder.

Here is a look at the proposed 2017 Budget in a very basic setting. On Slide 5, defense spending is 7x that of education spending. Just saying, there are some areas we can look for repetitive and duplicate spending as well, instead of investing additional money into military we should be looking at redistributing the budget to ensure we are investing in the future (education) as well as defense spending being spent properly.

Alright back to the call for a constitutional amendment. For a constitutional amendment to occur there are 2 routes, either a 2/3 vote in the legislature or 2/3 of the state legislatures call for a convention to amend the constitution. This is section V for any of the constitution people out there. Currently 28 states have already passed some sort of legislation calling for this action out of the 34 needed.

The only constitutional convention in the history of the country occurred in 1787.

Most people will be responding the same way that I initially responded to this, “isn’t a balanced budget a good thing, we should let it happen.” I still stand by the fact that the government should be looking at ways of bringing both federal and state budgets into balance. That being said by calling for a constitutional convention provides much uncertainty to what would come out of such an event. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provides 4 dangers to a constitutional convention that connects to this being right now a state issue but could quickly turn into a Federal issue.

  1. A Convention can write it’s own rules
    1. The constitution provides no guidance on ground rules for a convention. This would allow for political pressures to influence proceedings as well as provide a platform for the minority (in population) states to approve amendments as 18% of the population makes up 26 states.
  2. A Convention can set it’s own agenda (potentially influenced by interest groups)
    1. The convention in 1787 went beyond its mandate, to amend the articles of confederation to promote interstate trade, and wrote an entirely new governing document. In the current political climate it is very possible that interest groups would get to influence these changes. The Koch backed organization ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is strongly backing this movement. (Also if you don’t know about ALEC I would challenge you to research it, in short it is a corporate bill mill and is the reason you see similar bills being passed at state level across multiple states.)
  3. A Convention could choose a new ratification process
    1. The 1787 convention ignored the rules laid out previously and changed the ratification process from a 3/4 vote to a 2/3 vote. In percentage terms it lowered the needed approval from 75% to 66%.
  4. No other body, including the courts, has clear authority over a convention
    1. As provided verbatim by the cited Center on Budget and Policy Priorities link:
      1. “Article V contains no restrictions on the scope of constitutional amendments (other than those denying states equal representation in the Senate), and the courts generally leave such “political questions” to the elected branches.  Moreover, delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their state legislatures’ instructions.  Thus, the courts likely would not intervene in a dispute between a state and a delegate and, if they did, they likely would not back state efforts to constrain delegates given that delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their state legislatures’ instructions.”

States that have already passed:

  • Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Vermont, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, & Florida

States being targeted to pass:

  • Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, Kentucky, Virginia, & South Carolina

The states being targeted will be having opportunities for the people to testify, for or against this legislation. In Idaho it is Senate Concurrent Resolution 108 and the hearing is Friday, February 24, 2017 at 8am in the Idaho Capitol Building, Room WW55. The other states should be providing similar opportunities.

The power of the people have their opportunity now, more than ever to stand up for what this country believes in. Now is the time to contact representatives, take the time to go and testify before these hearings. Let your voices be heard.

Actions like these must be checked, actions like these must be stopped.

Power to the People