Taxpayers' group backs constitutional convention amendment that Minnick supports

Tom Schultz, director of the Idaho Department of Lands, told a legislative interim committee that investments from the endowment lands produced a record return in fiscal year 2014.

The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) is joining Idaho Rep. Walt Minnick in promoting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow states to call constitutional conventions to handle specific topics, rather than a full rewrite of the country’s founding document.

It’s uncertain whether the proposed amendment can move forward this year.

The NTU, which calls itself an advocate for overburdened taxpayers, praised Minnick for sponsoring the plan, called the “Madison Amendment” by its supporters.  It’s named for James Madison, a Founding Father and president who supporters say argued in the Federalist Papers that states should be able to call such conventions.

“The very meaning of the term ‘federal system’ has been twisted to the point where states are often bound against their will by Washington’s painful regulatory restraints and constrictive purse strings,” said NTU President Duane Parde in a news release.  “The Madison Amendment would ensure that when states call for a constitutional convention they have the ability to limit the scope of the convention to an up or down vote on a single amendment, just as Madison intended.”

Minnick said the amendment would increase states’ rights and government accountability.  “This measure would achieve both while providing more power to citizens rather than taking power away,” he said in a campaign news release.

The amendment is running up against the clock.  It was formally introduced in Congress in July, and would need the support of two-thirds of the U.S. House and Senate before the next Congress convenes in January.  Both chambers are debating extending tax cuts that could prove divisive, and the House currently plans to take off several weeks before the Nov. 2 election.

“Walt is working with his colleagues from both sides of the aisle to gain support for the bill,” said Dean Ferguson, his communications director.  “But it is too early to gauge the level of support.”



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Walt Minnick wants states to be able to propose constitutional changes, Walt Minnick wants states to be able to propose constitutional changes
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