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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Joint Resolutions in the House and Senate to Watch

During the legislative update at the Greater Houston Council of Federated Republican Women Tuesday, several Senate and House Joint Resolutions were mentioned as pending legislation to keep an eye on.

SJR1 - A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to limiting the number of terms that a Member of Congress may serve. (6 terms for House of Representatives and 2 terms as a Senator)

SJR4 - A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to abolish the electoral college and to provide the direct popular election of the President and Vice President of the United States.

SJR6- A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Untied States relating to United States citizenship.
A person born in the United States shall not be a citizen of the United States unless:
1) one parent of the person is a citizen of the United States;
2) one parent of the person is an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States who resides in the United States;
3) one parent of the person is an alien performing active service in the Armed Forces of the United States; or
4) the person is naturalized in accordance with the laws of the United States.

HJR5 - A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd article of amendment thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

As Texas residents and as residents of a state greatly affected by illegal immigration, many members present at the district meeting were curious about the joint resolution on an amendment to the Constitution about U.S. citizenship. This was introduced back in January by Senator Vitter (R-LA). We all know that currently any baby born in our country is automatically a U.S. citizen, regardless of the legal status of the mother.

I asked Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) about the status of this resolution in the Senate yesterday during a bloggers tele-conference. Senator Cornyn pointed to the fact that a Constitutional amendment would be the proper action for such legislation, due to the 14th Amendment. Though originally put in place to deal with public education, the 14th Amendment states:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside."

As the Supreme Court confirmed in 1873, in Slaughter-House cases and in 1884 in Elk v Wilkins, the phrase "subject to its jurisdiction" was interpreted to exclude "children of ministers, consuls, and citizens of foreign states born within the United States. At the time, there was no issue of illegal immigration into our country. Times have changed and this is a major problem to states which must provide services for its citizens.

And, on HRJ5, the joint resolution to remove limitations on the number of terms an individual may serve as President: this is troubling, particularly in light of the current President and his push to put government in charge of all aspects of our lives.

4 comments:

srp said...

One can only hope that some of the Democratic party will look unfavorably on this last resolution. I doubt the one limiting the terms of Congress and the Senate will go anywhere. As for the one on immigration... I hope that one gets some traction. I will write my Congressman...

Karen said...

Roxanne:
The last one was a surprise to me, I have to say I hadn't heard about it. What do they want, a King? I thought they were all about complaining about the Bush administration as acting like a King.

Anonymous said...

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. This national result is similar to recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado-- 68%, Iowa --75%, Michigan-- 73%, Missouri-- 70%, New Hampshire-- 69%, Nevada-- 72%, New Mexico-- 76%, North Carolina-- 74%, Ohio-- 70%, Pennsylvania -- 78%, Virginia -- 74%, and Wisconsin -- 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Delaware --75%, Maine -- 71%, Nebraska -- 74%, New Hampshire --69%, Nevada -- 72%, New Mexico -- 76%, Rhode Island -- 74%, and Vermont -- 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas --80%, Kentucky -- 80%, Mississippi --77%, Missouri -- 70%, North Carolina -- 74%, and Virginia -- 74%; and in other states polled: California -- 70%, Connecticut -- 73% , Massachusetts -- 73%, New York -- 79%, and Washington -- 77%.

see www.NationalPopularVote.com

Anonymous said...

In state efforts at presidential election reform . . .

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The Constitution gives every state the power to allocate its electoral votes for president, as well as to change state law on how those votes are awarded.

The bill is currently endorsed by 1,777 state legislators — 829 sponsors (in 48 states) and an additional 948 legislators who have cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 28 state legislative chambers, in small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes -- 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com