By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chambers, and Delegate Ashley:

H. C. R. 10--"Calling for a conference of the states to restore checks and balances between the states and the national government."
Whereas, The United States Constitution established a balanced compound system of governance and through the tenth amendment, reserved all nondelegated and nonprohibited powers to the states or to the people; and
Whereas, Over many years, the federal government has dramatically expanded the scope of its power and preempted state government authority and increasingly has treated states as administrative subdivisions or as special interest groups, rather than coequal partners; and
Whereas, The federal government has generated massive deficits and continues to mandate programs that state and local governments must administer; and
Whereas, The number of federal unfunded mandates has grown exponentially during the last thirty years and has profoundly distorted state budgets, thereby handcuffing the ability of state leaders to provide appropriate and needed services to their constituencies; and
Whereas, Since 1990, the federal government has enacted at least forty-two major statutes imposing burdensome and expensive regulations and requirements on states and localities, which is nearly equal to all those enacted in the prior two decades combined; and
Whereas, Persistent, state-led endeavors have consistently failed to generate any substantial reaction or remedy from the federal government; and
Whereas, The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly determined that the states must look to the Congress and related political remedies for protection against federal encroachments on the reserved powers of the states; and
Whereas, In recent years, states have been the principal agents of government reform, including updating their constitutions, modernizing and restructuring governmental institutions, and, along with local governments, have been the pioneers of government innovation, thus responding to the needs of their citizens; and
Whereas, The Legislature recognizes a sense of urgency in calling for the conference of the states, whereby each state government would send a delegation to develop a comprehensive action plan to restore balance in the federal system; and
Whereas, The conference of the states will communicate broad bipartisan public concern on the extent to which the American political system has been distorted and provide a formal forum for state governments to collectively propose constructive remedies for a more balanced state-federal governance partnership for the twenty-first century; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That a conference of the states be called to restore checks and balances between the states and the national governmentsubject to the following:
(1) A delegation not to exceed seven voting persons from West Virginia, shall be appointed to represent the state at a conference of the states for the purposes described in section (2) to be convened as provided in section (3). The delegation shall not exceed seven voting persons as follows: (a) The governor or, if the governor does not wish to be a member of the delegation then a constitutional officer selected by the governor; and (b) a number of legislators not to exceed six, three from each house, of which at least one shall be from each major political party, selected by the presiding officer of that house. Each presiding officer may designate two alternate legislator delegates, one from each party, who have voting privileges in the absence of the primary delegates.
(2) The delegates to the Conference of the States will propose, debate and vote on elements of an action plan to restore checks and balances between states and the national government. Measures agreed upon will be formalized in an instrument called a state's petition and returned to the delegation's state for consideration by the entire Legislature.
(3) The Conference of the States shall be convened under the §501(c)3 auspices of the Council of State Governments in cooperation with the National Governors' Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures no later than 270 days after at least 26 legislatures adopt a resolution of participation.
(4) Prior to the official convening of the conference of the states the steering committee will draft:
(a) The governance structure and procedural rules for the conference;
(b) The process for receiving rebalancing proposals; and
(c) The financial and administrative functions of the conference, including the council of state governments as fiscal agent.
(5) The bylaws shall:
(a) Conform to the provisions of this resolution;
(b) Specify that each state delegation shall have one vote at the conference; and
(c) Specify that the conference agenda be limited to fundamental, structural, long-term reforms.
(6) Upon the official convening of the conference of the states, the state delegations will vote upon and approve the conference governing structure, operating rules and bylaws.