State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, has said he plans to soon introduce a proposal that, if approved by state lawmakers, would place Michigan among a list of states proposing that the “National Debt Relief Amendment” be added to the U.S. Constitution.

The text of the proposed NDRA reads as follows:

“An increase in the federal debt requires approval from a majority of the legislatures of the separate States.”

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In the simplest terms, this means that Congress and the president could no longer deficit spend without first getting permission from a majority of the states. This new plan for halting and reversing runaway federal spending was designed and is supported by and is gaining support in many state Legislatures.

More information is available at the National Debt Relief Amendment information page.

Two-thirds of the states must agree to propose new constitutional amendments by applying to Congress to call an Article V amendments convention — which is simply an assembly of state delegates, like an interstate task force, that is organized to consider a specific amendment agenda. All fifty states would be invited to attend this convention. Three-quarters of the states (38 states) would have to ratify any amendment the convention proposed before it became part of the U.S. Constitution.

A common misconception surrounding the Article V amendments convention is that it risks the possibility of a total or substantial re-write of the entire U.S. Constitution.

Nick Dranias is a constitutional lawyer and director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute in Arizona. He is an expert on the Article V amendment process and an advocate for the budget restraining power of the National Debt Relief Amendment.

Dranias’ thoughts about the fears of a “runaway convention” are noted below.

A brief video is also available.

Dranias’ views are largely shared by several free-market constitutional law experts, including Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, and Robert G. Natelson, retired law professor from the University of Montana.

Natelson has written a detailed report about the Article V process and its history. (See related story.)

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As part of our efforts on government transparency, we obtained data on the compensation of most public employees in the state. This information has been used to fact check claims about salaries, verify data from other open records requests, and hold government spending accountable.

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