Last Wednesday the Nebraska Legislature convened for the second session of the 104th Legislature. This 60 day-session includes those bills carried over from last session and another 10-day bill introduction period. Because of carry-over legislation morning debate began Monday, essentially picking up where we left off last June. While Civic Nebraska works to expand accessibility to elections and increase engagement in civil institutions, we must occasionally oppose legislation that threaten or curtail such accessibility. One such pieces of legislation has been carried over and Civic Nebraska plans to oppose the bill when debated on General File.
LR 35 – Introduced and promoted heavily by Senator Ebke, LR 35 calls for a convention of states to “ “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government and limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government”. While a convention of states may be called under Article V of the US Constitution, it is incredibly unwise to do so.
Civic Nebraska’s opposition to LR 35 is fairly straightforward:
- The US Constitution provides no guidance for a convention of states – fair representation cannot be guaranteed. The language allowing for the calling of such a convention does not provide any guidance or structure for such a convention – we have no idea when it would be, how it would be run, where it would be held, or who would get to go. That’s a lot of questions for a vague purpose.
- The scope of a convention of states cannot be limited – opening up the entire US Constitution for consideration. No language in the US Constitution explicitly states a convention may be limited in scope. The last time a convention of the states was called for limited purpose it was 1787 and the entire Articles of Confederation were thrown out and replaced with the U.S. Constitution.
- Limitation of federal jurisdiction threatens federal protection of voters’ right. Violation of a voter’s right is committed by the state or political subdivisions of the state – the federal government is necessary to enforce the voter’s rights. After the issues in Douglas County the Dept. of Justice dispatched election observers to ensure rights were protected in subsequent elections.
For the past 200 years court cases have been decided on the language of the US Constitution, these cases have shaped our democracy and rights we enjoy today. LR 35 is being recklessly pursued with disregard to the very real consequences to our rights. There are alternative methods for achieving the desired fiscal restraints without jeopardizing individual rights.
If you would like to tell your legislator to oppose LR 35 you can click here or find your senator’s contact information here. Call, write a letter, send an email – your senator needs to hear from you.