By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on June 21, 2012, I vetoed SB 356, an act limiting the authority of delegates to Article V conventions and recodifying the laws relative to religious societies.
SB 356 makes changes to New Hampshire laws regarding religious societies. I do not take issue with that portion of the bill.
SB 356 limits the authority of state delegates who participate in a convention called by the states for the purpose of considering amendments to the United States Constitution. This legislation has been brought forward because proponents of a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution see this as an important tool to limit the authority of delegates, were such a convention ever to occur. The bill is similar to model legislation promoted by the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
SB 356 requires every delegate from New Hampshire at an Article V convention to take an oath, which in part states, "I will accept and will act according to the limits of the authority as a delegate granted to me by New Hampshire law, and I will not vote to consider or approve any unauthorized amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America." Any delegate who violates the oath is subject to recall and criminal penalties under the law.
Regardless of one's viewpoint on a balanced budged amendment to the United States Constitution, we can agree that a convention to consider amending the constitution through a call of the states is not imminent. If we reach the point in our history when such a convention were to occur, it seems that would be the appropriate time to consider process issues for delegates. And even then, I would hope, New Hampshire would act with caution before applying potential criminal penalties to duly appointed or elected delegates.
For these reasons, I am vetoing SB 356.