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Rob Natelson: Amendments Convention

Ed. Note: We welcome MPI Senior Fellow for Constitutional Jurisprudence and retired UM Professor Rob Natelson to our blog. Rob is a national expert on constitutional issues and will periodically post insights and information on a variety of topics. You can find his full bio here.

Senator Art Wittich has introduced SJ 5, by which the state legislature would formally apply for an interstate convention to draft and propose the National Debt Relief Amendment. That amendment, if ratified by 3/4 of the states, would require approval from a majority of state legislatures before Congress could add to the national debt.

At the legislative hearing, opponents trotted out the “runaway convention” scenario. This is the discredited claim that a convention to propose such an amendment would be a “constitutional convention” that could do anything it wanted.

I correct the record in an essay that discusses the claim here.

Rob Natelson

* Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, Independence Institute
* Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, Montana Policy Institute
* Senior Fellow, Goldwater Institute
* Professor of Law (ret.), The University of Montana
* biography & bibliography: http://constitution.i2i.org/about/

 

Media Trackers Montana: 50 State Legislators Discuss Free Markets at Montana Policy Institute Forum

A total of 50 state legislators and approximately 130 people met this weekend to discuss free market principles for Montana.

The two-day event was hosted by the Montana Policy Institute (MPI) and focused on gearing up both state legislators and the general public for the upcoming 2013 legislature. The forum featured discussions and presentations on important issues for the upcoming legislature and was highlighted with a presentation by Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Member and Senior Economics Writer Stephen Moore.

Click here to continue article…

3rd Biennial MPI Legislative Forum

In preparation for the 2013 Legislative Session, Montana Policy Institute is bringing national, state, & local experts together for a discussion of budget reform, fiscal discipline, government transparency, education policy, & property rights and providing practical alternatives to return growth and prosperity to Montana. Our Friday evening dinner forum keynote will be Stephen Moore, Editorial Board Member and Senior Economics Writer at The Wall Street Journal.

The event will take place at the Great Northern Hotel in Helena on November 16 & 17, 2012. Please see the link below for the event homepage and to register. Early registration is highly encouraged as we are expecting a full house. Early bird rates available until Wednesday, 11/7.

3rd Biennial Montana Policy Institute Legislative Forum – November 16-17. 2012

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Check out our sponsorship page for more details and secure online sign up or contact our Bozeman office at (406)219-0508 or at info@montanapolicy.org.

Havre Daily News Article Discussing if Montana Legislature is “Laughingstock”.

3/18:11: Havre Daily News article discussing whether or not Montana’s legislature is a “laughingstock” for supporting a freedom agenda. MPI’s Carl Graham quoted as a “no” vote on that one.

Click here for full article.

Budgeting for Results: A Fiscal Roadmap for Montana Study (2010)

Budgeting for Results: A Fiscal Roadmap for Montana Policy Note (2010)

For Full Study: Budgeting_for Results_Full_Study 2010

Fiscal Accountability Press Release

Press Release

Lawmakers Asked to Target Stimulus Spending

With Montana on tap to receive around $600 million in federal stimulus dollars, a nonprofit Bozeman policy watchdog is asking lawmakers to pledge that one-time federal stimulus dollars will only be used on one-time spending projects.

“The danger,” according to Montana Policy Institute (MPI) president Carl Graham “is that these one-time stimulus dollars will come into the state budget and be used to create spending requirements that won’t end when the initial federal money has dried up.” He cited several potential examples, including hiring new full time employees, creating new subsidy or entitlement programs, or even permanent tax relief – something the fiscally conservative organization would normally applaud. If any of these things happen, according to Graham, future lawmakers will be put in a position of either having to raise taxes to support the new spending or making painful cuts to people and programs; something that MPI says is an unfair burden for current legislators to place on future generations.

MPI mailed the pledge, which can be found at www.mtpolicy.org, to lawmakers on February 10th. It notes that if this one-time money is spent wisely on one-time projects within the state it has the potential to address serious maintenance and infrastructure backlogs while injecting jobs and money into our economy. However, according to a letter accompanying the pledge, if the one-time dollars are spent in ways that create ongoing programs and obligations or in ways that don’t create jobs or increase productivity, it will just create hard decisions down the road without helping Montanans who are truly in need today. “That’s not fair to our citizens, to our children, or to our future lawmakers.” according to Graham.

MPI hopes to gain broad bipartisan support for the pledge and will publish results in early March.

 

 

The Montana Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research center based in Bozeman. To find out more visit us on the web at www.mtpolicy.org.