In yesterday’s Portland Press Herald, I have another story involving a model text from the American Legislative Exchange Council being introduced in the Maine legislature, and once again it has national implications.
ALEC’s state co-chair, a Republican lawmaker from Hiram, has introduced two bills that would have Maine join the tally of states calling for the convening of a constitutional convention under Article V of the US Constitution for the first time since 1787. One of the bills — having to do with a convention allegedly limited to passing a balanced budget amendment — would make Maine the 29th state to make the official call, just five sort of the number necessary to compel a convening.
Critics — including the late Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Warren Burger — have warned that since there are no rules laid out for how such a convention would function, absolutely anything could happen. As the article reports, a well-funded model convention held two years ago in Virginia passed a number of amendments that would transform all aspects of American life.
How did the texts wind up in Maine? When are they up for floor votes? What on Earth is this ALEC you speak of? Read on to find out.
I’ve written about ALEC bills in Maine four other times in the past year, including an effort last year to pass a similar bill, this article and a follow up on a bill that would prevent towns from building high-speed broadband networks, and this article on another that would prevent them from passing pesticide ordinances.