BirtherReport.com found the following video of LA State Senator A. G. Crowe further explaining his thoughts on his State’s recently-introduced eligibility bill:
GeorgetownJD forwarded me information on SCR11-003 out of Colorado (click on the link, then select “Senate Concurrent Resolutions 001-004″ from the drop-down menu, click “Go,” and then click on history for SCR11-003).
It is a State constitutional amendment that, if passed by the legislature, would be a referendum whereby Coloradans would vote, in a majority, for the amendment.
If the referendum were enacted, then any public officer elected in Colorado would have to provide proof of citizenship (the bill provides for a number of options) and, if they fail to do so, their position would subsequently be deemed vacant.
In Oklahoma, SB91 is said to be on the precipice of being passed by the House (it has already passed that State’s Senate).
Great news: OK house majority leader Dan Sullivan and Kris Steel released Presidential certification bill SB 91 for the full vote of the House on Wednesday. This bill is expected to pass easily and become law within 5 days
The bill’s research analysis:
The CS for Engrossed SB 91 requires each candidate required to file a Declaration of Candidacy for any election to provide proof of identity and eligibility to hold the office sought and requires candidates for the nomination for President to provide proof of identity and United States citizenship to the State Election Board and directs that copies of such documents be made available by the Board for public inspection.
If passed, the law would become enacted as of November 1, 2011.
Colorado passed a State Sovereignty resolution in 1994; but members of that State’s Senate have decided to introduce a new one,SJM011, which the committee postponed indefinitely, which usually is equivalent to a defeat.
Missouri introduced another State sovereignty resolution, HCR13, which was adopted by that House Mar. 23. Hearings have been held in the Senate committee, but it has not yet made a recommendation. In contrast with the earlier HR212, HCR13 makes no reference to abortion, but is modeled (like most others) on the Oklahoma resolution.
A current listing of State-based initiatives can be found here.
Earlier, Justin Riggs, blogger at yourfellowcitizen.com, submitted a ballot proposal to the Colorado Legislative Council and Office of Legislative Legal Services. He just received word back from the State beginning the process of formal review.
The following is a PDF document whereby the State has formally reviewed his proposal and will be meeting with Justin this Thursday:
Regardless of what the federal government may do concerning healthcare, a majority of States are looking at or passing their own constitutional amendments to keep Congress from encroaching on their turf, and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) supports the initiatives (excerpted from The Washington Times):
Lawmakers in 30 states are pressing for constitutional amendments to exempt individuals from the requirement to purchase health care, a pivotal piece of the legislation under debate in Congress.
In Colorado, organizers of a proposed ballot measure filed language with the state elections office Friday. They would like the state legislature to place the amendment on the ballot, but given that both houses are controlled by Democrats, that’s unlikely.
“I want Colorado to become a sanctuary state for good health care,” said Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, who is leading the ballot effort. “People are angry, and rightfully so. If the legislature’s not going to step up and do something, then we’re going to have to.” …
Nineteen states have filed or pre-filed legislation using [American Legislative Exchange Council's] legislative language, known as the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, said Christie Herrera, ALEC’s director of health and human services task force. Ten others have announced their intent to introduce similar bills this session.
Readers will recall my coverage of the proposed Arizona amendment. And while the measure failed by less than a percent last year, State lawmakers are bringing it up again for 2014:
The Freedom of Choice act was in turn modeled after Proposition 101, the proposed 2008 Arizona constitutional amendment. Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat who is now homeland security secretary, opposed the proposition, saying it would interfere with public health programs. Heavily outspent, the initiative lost by a nose: The margin of defeat was 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.
But Proposition 101 is getting a second chance: The Republican-dominated state Legislature voted in June to place its clone, House Bill 2014, on the 2010 ballot.
The article continues with a quote from Minority Leader Boehner:
“With our focus squarely on defeating a government takeover of health care, this growing rebellion in the states is yet another indication of strong grass-roots opposition to Washington Democrats’ plans,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “All the burdensome mandates, tax hikes, and new layers of red tape Democrats are devising behind closed doors would wreak havoc on the states, so it’s no surprise a majority of them are already fighting back.”
Thursday, January 21, 2010 Update:
Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss’ office recently released the following presser encouraging the several States’ Attorneys General to expand the scope of their investigation into the healthcare bill, including what they see as the “unusual and disparate treatment” of Medicare enrollees:
Jan 20 2010
Dear Attorney General,
We appreciate the time and hard work you have put into analyzing the unusual, if not unprecedented, provision in the Senate health care bill in regards to Nebraska’s future Medicaid expenses. Your legal analysis regarding the unequal treatment of the states by the federal government has helped us better understand and hopefully address some of the negative consequences of the legislation.
We would also like to request that you investigate, and if the facts again warrant, expand the scope of your investigation to include another serious issue — the unusual and disparate treatment of individuals currently enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program.
Medicare Advantage, as you may know, is the privately-managed option that one fifth of seniors have already chosen instead of traditional fee-for-service Medicare. The program offers seniors a choice in how their Medicare benefits are delivered. Medicare Advantage more closely resembles the insurance plans that many of these beneficiaries had as workers. Some of these plans also cover benefits that fee-for-service Medicare does not; for example, dental and vision benefits, hearing aids, chronic care management, and reduced beneficiary cost sharing. Medicare Advantage enrollment represents about 329,000 seniors in Arizona, 176,000 in Georgia, and 111,000 in South Carolina.
As currently written, Section 3201(g) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act appears to have been drafted in such a manner that it would effectively “grandfather” Medicare Advantage enrollees living in specific counties in the State of Florida into the program, while subjecting approximately 10 million Medicare Advantage enrollees across the US to significant cuts in their benefits.
Medicare Advantage enrollees in other states are likely to see their Medicare Advantage program benefits drastically slashed, if not virtually eliminated. In many cases, they may have no choice but to switch back to fee-for-service Medicare, which brings with it additional financial burdens such as unlimited out-of-pocket expenses and gaps in coverage that often require the purchase of supplemental insurance.
We have serious concerns about the effects of this provision on all Medicare Advantage beneficiaries who do not reside in these specific Florida counties. We would like your opinion on this situation and would be interested to learn of any legal issues that you believe could be posed to the unequal Medicare Advantage policy that will be enacted under this legislation.
We also want to be clear that our problem is not with Medicare Advantage enrollees in the State of Florida, it is with the disparate treatment that enrollees in other states will receive in relation to enrollees in Florida.
We thank you in advance for your consideration and look forward to receiving your analysis of this specific provision and its impact on the residents of our states and seniors nationwide.
This aspect of the healthcare bill was meant to provide Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) monies specifically for his State’s share of Medicaid costs that would otherwise be required to be paid as a part of the sweeping legislation in exchange for his vote.
However, yesterday, the Columbia, South Carolina-based SouthCarolinaRadioNetwork.com reported that the Compromise has been dropped:
The “cornhusker kickback,” the highly controversial provision designed to benefit Nebraska’s Medicaid program, has been dropped from the national health care reform proposal, according to national reports quoting the bill negotiators. …
Sen. Nelson asked Friday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to remove Nebraska’s exemption, and replace it with a provision giving all state governments the same treatment regarding the state match for the new Medicaid expansion. At that point, officials said that negotiators decided to increase federal Medicaid funding in all states.
The same report points out that South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster had spoken at a National Press Club event on January 14. The Palmetto Scoop has the full C-SPAN video.
Regardless, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum isn’t satisfied that the Nebraska Compromise is the only unconstitutional aspect of the bill (via LegalNewsLine.com):
The Republican gubernatorial hopeful, one of 13 state attorneys general who originally voiced concern over the so-called “Cornhusker Kickback” provision of the health care package, said Tuesday that requiring individuals to purchase health insurance raises constitutional concerns. …
FL AG Bill McCollum
“The U.S. Constitution enshrines a form of limited government to protect the rights of the states under a system of federalism and to protect the individual freedom of our citizens,” McCollum wrote.
“The health care individual mandate provisions as currently drafted violate constitutional principles and lack constitutional authority for Congress to enact.”
Under both the House and Senate versions of the package, an individual must purchase health insurance or face a fee or tax.
“Never before has Congress compelled Americans, under threat of government fines or taxes, to purchase an unwanted product or service simply as a condition of existing in this country,” McCollum wrote.
Yesterday, the Alabama House voted to approve Senate Joint Resolution 27 (SJR27) which “claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.” (h/t Jan Lane)
Alabama State flag
The resolution passed the Senate last week and has been sent to the governor for signature.
Alabama is now the 8th state – joining Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, Louisiana and Tennessee – where similar resolutions affirming sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution have been approved by both legislative houses in the past year. Alabama is the first state to pass a sovereignty resolution in 2010.
These non-binding resolutions do not carry the force of law. Instead, they are intended to be a statement of the legislature of the state. They play an important role, however.
First, they bring the issue to the public sphere. And they’re considered an important first step in the overall process of the 10th Amendment movement. For example, if you owned an apartment building and had a tenant not paying rent, you wouldn’t show up with an empty truck to kick them out without first serving notice. That’s how many view these Resolutions – as serving “notice and demand” to the Federal Government to “cease and desist any and all activities outside the scope of their constitutionally-delegated powers.”
What’s most important, is that they help create fertile ground for future actions. Follow-up, say supporters, is a must.
The Alabama resolution is part of a growing grassroots movement in state legislatures across the country as a protest to the intrusion of the federal government into state government affairs, and is an essential first step towards efforts to push back, or nullify, unconstitutional federal laws and regulations.
The TenthAmendmentCenter.com is tracking the 10th Amendment movement on their tracking page. The site also has a template resolution for citizen activists across America.
Also, the TenthAmendmentCenter.com is co-sponsoring the Tenth Amendment Summit here in Georgia at the airport Hilton in Atlanta on February 25 – 26. Featured speakers include Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, Alabama gubernatorial candidate and Chief Justice Roy Moore, as well as Georgia gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry.
After Texas GOP Governor Rick Perry made national headlines with varying degrees of talk regarding secession, the concept has come back up in the news again, this time in Vermont. As Ballot-Access.org reports:
A group in Vermont has formed the Vermont Independence Day Party, which believes that Vermont should secede from the United States. It plans to place nominees on the 2010 ballot for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and 7 State Senate seats. See this AP story. …
The group did not use the organization method to qualify itself for the 2010 ballot, and it is too late to do that. That method requires showing that the party has town committees in at least ten towns. But, the group is free to qualify the party by petition for each of its individual candidates. They may have their label, “Vermont Independence Party” on the ballot if they wish. The story erroneously says they will be labeled “independent”. The story is also wrong when it says this is the first pro-secession party in any state. The Alaskan Independence Party has been continuously on the ballot in Alaska starting in 1974, although it didn’t become a qualified party until 1983. The Alaskan Independence Party was formed to work for secession, although its activists no longer talk about that goal.
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: “AN ACT ALLOWING THE STATE OF MONTANA AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS TO CONDUCT VARIOUS FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS IN GOLD, GOLD AND SILVER COIN, ELECTRONIC GOLD CURRENCY, OR LEGAL TENDER OF THE UNITED STATES; ALLOWING CERTAIN PERSONS CONDUCTING VARIOUS FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS WITH THE STATE OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS TO CONDUCT THE TRANSACTIONS IN GOLD, GOLD AND SILVER COIN, ELECTRONIC GOLD CURRENCY, OR LEGAL TENDER OF THE UNITED STATES; REQUIRING THAT CERTAIN FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS BETWEEN THE STATE AND OTHER PERSONS INVOLVING CERTAIN TAXES, FEES, AND CHARGES ON CIGARETTES AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS BE CONDUCTED IN ELECTRONIC GOLD CURRENCY; REQUIRING THE DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION TO ADOPT RULES FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF PAYMENT BY AND RECEIPT BY THE STATE AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS IN GOLD, GOLD AND SILVER COIN, OR ELECTRONIC GOLD CURRENCY …
Wagner joins legislators in several other states encouraging their respective governments to reconsider accepting gold as a form of payment. Indiana’s S.B. 453, Colorado’s H.B. 09-1206, Missouri’s H.B. 0561, Georgia’s H.B. 430 and Maryland’s H.J.R. 5 are among the gold currency bills introduced just this year in various legislatures.
Montana’s H.B. 639 has been referred to the Legislature’s State Administration Committee.
WorldNetDaily further explains…
A bill being considered in the Montana Legislature blasts the Federal Reserve’s role in America’s money policy and permits the state to conduct businessin gold and silver instead of the Fed’s legal tender notes.
Montana H.B. 639, sponsored by State Rep. Bob Wagner, R-Harrison, doesn’t require the state or citizens to conduct business in gold or silver, but it does require the state to calculate certain transactions in both the current legal tender system and in an electronic gold currency. It further mandates that the state must accept payments in gold or silver for various fees and purchases.
While Wagner was unavailable for comment, the bill’s language clearly alleges the nation’s current financial system, with its reliance on the private Federal Reserve system for money supply, is a danger to American freedom.
“The absence of gold and silver coin, whether in that form or in the form of an electronic gold currency, as media of exchange,” the bill states, “abridges, infringes on and interferes with the sovereignty and independence of this state … and exposes this state and Montana citizens, inhabitants and businesses to chronic problems and potentially serious crises that may arise from the economic and political instability of the present domestic and international systems of coinage, currency, banking and credit.”
Further, the bill states, relying only on the depreciating legal tender issued by the Fed subjects citizens to “losses in purchasing power” inflicted by the government, a dilemma the bill says amounts to the “incremental confiscation” of property by government in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s protections for just compensation and due process.
The Fifth Amendment states, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without justcompensation.”
Critics of the current financial system argue that using Federal Reserve notes as legal tender, rather than gold- or silver-backed currency, means the value of Americans’ money – and thus their “property” – is siphoned away by inflation, a process perpetuated by the government’s reliance on legal tender. Gold and silver, critics say, don’t lose their value on the whims of the Federal Reserve.
A current listing of State-based initiatives can be found here.
Justin Riggs, blogger at yourfellowcitizen.com, has today submitted a ballot initiative proposal to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Mr. Riggs produced this in response to the various State responses he has received concerning an inability to track down exactly who is responsible for ensuring candidate eligibility.
To date, this is now the second such initiative that has been taken at the State level. The first initiative was reported here on October 31, 2008, by Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County), proposing legislation that presidential candidates would be required to furnish evidence of their eligibility before being placed on the ballot.
Update: The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has contacted Justin Riggs and is preparing he and his associate with a Review and Comment Meeting.
Attorney General Martha Coakley’s suit argues that DOMA violates the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reserves all powers to the states except those expressly given to the federal government, and it points out that until DOMA’s passage in 1996 states had unchallenged authority to regulate marriage.
It claims DOMA violates the Constitution’s principles of federalism, and it also violates constitutional provisions that prevent the federal government from withholding money to states as a means of forcing them to violate the constitutional rights of their citizens.
The suit asks the court to find DOMA unconstitutional as applied to Massachusetts and to grant an injunction preventing the enforcement of DOMA against Massachusetts.
The suit alleges that not only does the law violate the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which reserves to the states all powers except those granted to the federal government. It also alleges that the law violates Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which limits the power of Congress to attach conditions to the receipt of federal funds.
The suit states that DOMA, termed “overreaching and discriminatory,” interferes with the state’s “sovereign authority to define and regulate marriage.”
“We view all married persons equally,” Coakley said at a press conference today.
The judicial branch sees Congress’ ability to attach strings to funds as quite broad, and if the definition of marriage is linked to that enumerated power and is not seen as commandeering the state legislative or executive branches, it would likely not be seen by them as a violation Tenth Amendment.
Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote quite an historical commentary in the majority opinion in New York v. US, the key Supreme Court case that many States have incorporated within their 10th Amendment resolutions. The premise was that the federal government cannot directly “commandeer” the States to accept or reject federal legislation.
We last caught up with Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican, on our weekend radio program that aired June 20. He had filed a petition with the federal bankruptcy court arguing the “prepackaged bankruptcy” of General Motors, as proposed, trampled on states’ rights to regulate auto dealerships. Monday, he announced the court sided with him and dozens of attorneys general nationwide in a recent ruling.
“This concession will allow the state of Colorado to maintain its regulatory authority over the agreements New GM has with its dealerships,” Suthers said.
A new Montana gun law puts the state at the forefront of a national bid to restore states’ rights by attacking up to a century of federal court decisions on Washington’s power.
Two other states – Alaska and Texas – have had favorable votes on laws similar to Montana’s, declaring that guns that stay within the state are none of the feds’ business. More than a dozen others are considering such laws, and more-general declarations of state sovereignty have been introduced this year in more than 30 legislatures.
The federal courts may not respond well to these laws in the short term, but backers who acknowledge this say that regardless, they intend for the laws to change the political landscape in the long term. They hope these state laws will undercut the legitimacy of contrary federal law – as has happened with medicinal marijuana – and even push federal courts to bend with the popular wind.
“What’s going on is that people all over the country have decided, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” said Kevin Gutzman, a professor at Western Connecticut State University and the author of “Who Killed the Constitution?” “This is supposed to be a federal system, but instead Congress seems to think it can legislate anything it wants.”
In May, Montana became the first state to approve the Firearms Freedom Act, which declares that guns manufactured and sold in the Big Sky State to buyers who plan to keep the weapons within the state are exempt from federal gun regulations.
According to the act’s supporters, if guns bearing a “Made in Montana” stamp remain in Montana, then federal rules such as background checks,registration and dealer licensing no longer apply. But court cases have interpreted the U.S. Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause as covering anything that might affect interstate commerce – which in practice means just about anything.
So if this law sounds ripe for a court challenge, well, that’s the idea, said Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Sports Shooting Association, the state’s largest pro-gun group.
“The Interstate Commerce Clause has grown and grown until the government asserts authority over everything under the sun,” said Mr. Marbut, who wrote the original firearms legislation.
“How much water you have in your toilet. Almost all environmental laws. Maybe one-third of all federal regulations are asserted under the Commerce Clause.”
Even if the Montana law, or similar bills already being pushed in other states, don’t produce a blockbuster decision overturning a century’s worth of economic rulings, supporters hope it will change political conversation and make federal intrusion on state matters politically unpalatable.
The federal government, said Mr. Marbut, “is a creation of the states, and the states need to get their creation on a leash.”
In that sense, the law is only nominally about guns. “Guns are the object, but states’ rights are the subject,” he said.
Even so, gun-control groups have blasted the law. Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, called it “wrong from theconstitutional side and wrong from the policy side.”
But it’s catching on with state legislatures. Five states have introduced their own versions of the law, while lawmakers in a dozen more are considering it.
In Alaska, the state House approved the Alaska Firearms Freedom Act by a vote of 32-7, but the Legislature adjourned before the bill could reach the Senate. In Texas, a similar bill sponsored by state Rep. Leo Berman won approval in the Public Safety Committee on a 5-0 vote, but failed to reach the floor before adjournment on June 1. The three other states to see bills introduced were Minnesota, South Carolina and Tennessee. Lawmakers in Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Washington are considering an in-state gun law of this sort.
Passing the Montana law was just the first step. Supporters are now working to ignite the legal battle by choosing a manufacturer willing to construct a “Made in Montana” line of guns, then contacting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to see whether the firearms can be sold without dealer licensing.
If the bureau declares such sales illegal, backers say they plan to pull the trigger on the lawsuit.
That’s when the entire enterprise threatens to collapse. Even supporters say it’s a long shot that a federal court will overturn a century of legal history to rein in the Interstate Commerce Clause.
The Rehnquist court issued two decisions that limited congressional power under the Commerce Clause, though both decisions concerned law-enforcement matters.
The 1995 U.S. v. Lopez ruling struck down the Gun-Free School Zones Act, which made it a federal crime to have a gun near a school, and the Violence Against Women Act was nixed in the 2000 case of U.S. v. Morrison. The court decided that neither school crime nor sex-based violence qualified as interstate commerce.
But the “local only” approach hasn’t been as successful.
As far back as 1905 (Swift v. U.S.), the Supreme Court upheld federal regulations of meat dealers who bought and sold locally as permitted by the Interstate Commerce Clause. In Wickard v. Filburn in 1942, the justices ruled that even wheat that never left the farm – the farmer fed his cattle with it – affected the interstate wheat trade and thus was subject to federal regulation – in that case, production quotas.
One design flaw with the Montana Firearms Freedom Act is its focus on firearms, said Mr. Helmke, of the Brady Campaign. There aren’t that many federal laws regulating guns, apart from those requiring dealer licensing, banning machine guns and prohibiting felons from buying firearms, he said.
Mr. Helmke added that the courts were unlikely to side with Montana, describing the Interstate Commerce Clause as “settled federal law.”
“In effect, Montana’s trying to turn back the clock to pre-New Deal times, or even pre-Civil War times,” Mr. Helmke said.
That may be true, but Mr. Marbut thinks public opinion in favor of such a change is growing. He pointed to the popularity of state sovereignty laws, which have been introduced this year in more than 30 states. And where the public goes, the judiciary often follows.
“The courts do pay attention to something they call ‘emerging consensus.’ It means the natives are getting more than restless,” he said. “Hopefully, because there are so many clones of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act being introduced in other states, the courts will recognize this as an emerging consensus.”
In fact, Nordyke v. King, a case that has set precedent on how the right to keep and bear arms applies to State and local levels, could play a part in the potential upcoming judicial showdown over the 2nd Amendment and federalism.
See the “State Initiatives” link, top of site, for more information on State-based initiatives.
I had recently been in contact with folks over at the Republican Liberty Caucus who have informed me of a number of great links for those interested in knowing about other State-based initiatives outside of sovereignty: