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House committee approves Constitutional Convention bills

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With a vote along party lines, a pair of bills outlining the selection and duties of delegates to an Article V Constitutional Convention cleared their first hurdle in the Indiana House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 224 and Senate Bill 225, both authored by Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, were approved April 8 by the House Committee on the Judiciary in a 7 to 3 vote. The three Democratic representatives present at the hearing – Reps. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, and Vernon Smith, D-Gary – opposed the measures.

Long testified before the committee, reiterating his arguments for a state-driven convention to offer an amendment that would limit the federal government’s use of the commerce clause and taxing powers.

He told the committee members the legislation is meant address fears that any state-sponsored event to amend the Constitution could become a runaway convention. His bills include provisions that delegates cannot deviate from their duties at the convention or they will be charged with a felony.  

Long urged bipartisan support, noting Republicans and Democrats should agree on the issue of states’ protecting their rights.

After the hearing, the senator said he was not concerned the bills would be viewed as solely a Republican cause. He believes his proposals could garner support from conservative Democrats.

“This idea has been gaining momentum for years now. I think the recent actions in Washington, either the Affordable Care Act, No Child Left Behind, the inability to balance the budget and control its spending, all of that comes to the point where I think the timing of this is important,” Long said. “I think for some Democrats it appears it is just an attack on Obamacare, but it’s far more than that. And if you analyze it without that issue influencing those votes, I think we have more bipartisan votes.”


 

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  1. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  2. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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