by Pete Ketcham
IN THE BEGINNING
Several months ago I started my efforts to promote action on the 10th Amendment in Idaho. This effort was based on the encouraging fact that the Idaho Legislature passed House Joint Memorial No.4, a sovereignty declaration not requiring the Governor’s signature. My original motivation in this effort was not to promote partisan politics. It was not an emotional effort to “strike a blow for freedom”, nor was it a revengeful effort to put the Federal Government “in its place”.
It was and still is a matter of SURVIVAL.
I saw then as now, an out of control Democratic President and Congressional majority with a socialist agenda proposing bills and mandates so illogical, that the impact in Idaho would be catastrophic. I believed then and still do, that the only entity strong enough to mount a defense against this usurping Federal Government was the states using their 10th Amendment rights.
I then authored a petition requesting the Legislature and Governor take action to enforce the statements put forth in their declaration, and to refuse to comply with usurping mandates and guidelines required by Federal funding grants to the state. The petition was relative well circulated throughout Idaho by contact with the various teaparty groups, whom I urged to form a strong statewide political coalition. I felt confident at the time that this petition was going to have a significant effect on the Legislature and Governor. I sent a copy of the petition to all one hundred five (105) Legislators and Governor, plus a special “Letter of Concern” to the Governor urging him to publically state his support for states rights.
The results for these efforts are as follows:
1. I have to date received a positive response from two (2) legislators and a negative response from one (1). I am actively working with one of these legislators.
2. Have heard nothing from the Governor’s office except after a follow up email, a staffer called and said his office would contact me. A month has passed and still waiting.
3. The teaparty group leaders have helped out to a degree, but their priority has been, and continues to be, teaparty activities in their own area, and the upcoming 9-12 rallies in DC and around the nation. They also continue to reflect very little inclination to form a structured statewide political coalition and they believe they can win their war at the Federal level. I equate this viewpoint as standing on the deck of the Titanic waiting for the rescue ship and passing up the lifeboat.
THE REALITY SETS IN
Where does the fault lie for the marginal results thus far? Obviously with my own apparent inability to organize supporters, and influence legislators, but the greater responsibility for Idaho sitting dead in the water in it’s 10th Amendment voyage is the Idaho Legislators and Governor themselves. They are fully aware of the unconstitutional actions of the President, and the impending radical laws and mandates to be imposed on the citizens of Idaho, yet they have not made one significant move past their initial declaration. One would wonder why they are not self motivated by the common circumstances that are impacting us all.
The political reality is, they are in sitting in a political comfort zone completely out of danger. They are not getting blamed for the state of the economy and chaos in DC. They are not getting hammered by the mainstream news media. They are not getting out in the street rallies and townhalls and being pushed around by “union thugs “. They are not facing protest rallies in their home towns or state capitals against them. Sitting in this enviable political position there is simply no motivation for them to take on a fight with the Federal Government and risk losing Federal funding or exposing themselves to criticism.
I feel certain, that as 10th Amendment advocates in other states begin the implementation process, they will encounter the same reluctance for action by their governors and legislators as I have experienced in Idaho. It is one thing for state legislators and governors to vote on a Sovereignly declaration, but an altogether different matter to bring on a fight with the Feds and risk losing Federal funding. There is also great resistence by various state agencies to the idea of “rocking the federal funding boat”, i.e. taking on the Feds.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Thus, we who are engaged in the 10th Amendment issue do have options to motivate legislators, governors, and agency heads to action, but it is going to take a great deal of work. Listed below are some tasks that I believe must be taken on if we are to realize our goals.
1. Form a nationwide 10th Amendment proactive cooperative coalition.
2. This coalition would need to initiate a statewide information campaign informing state citizens that the very state they live in has the means and muscle to throw back the intrusive Federal usurpations. I have found that the general public is basically uninformed of the 10th Amendment option, and are frustrated, fearful, and angry as they focus at the national level. A petition requesting action on passing a sovereignty declaration, or putting force of action to one already passed can serve as a good information vehicle.
3. Contact the teaparty, 912 type patriot groups within your states, and solicit their help and cooperation. They can be a tremendous asset, but as I have previously stated, they are defiantly focused in on their local sphere of influence as it relates to the federal issues, and so far have provided somewhat tepid cooperation. This is especially evident with the upcoming 912 activity.
4. Organize statewide political rallies demanding 10th Amendment action by the legislators and governors. This action is going to have to be unprecedented, comprehensive, and some what shocking to the incumbent politicians. At first it seemed that we could achieve victory by one nullification bill at a time in order to check the Feds. But it is now apparent that the blitzkrieg of federal laws and mandates are coming so fast that full time state legislative sessions would not be able to keep up. This action must take the form of a complete state plan of action, a plan of action that we as 10th Amendment advocates need to formulate and present to our legislators and governors for action. Each plan of action would have to be tailored to fit the unique characteristics of individual states. Below is plan “B” I have formulated for Idaho. This plan is preliminary, general, incomplete, and somewhat audacious, but it’s primary purpose is to start the process of planning.
Create a new state agency (as if we needed more agencies) called “Federal Relations” This agency under the direction of the legislature would be tasked with official communications between The state of Idaho and the Federal Government concerning all 10th Amendment / State Sovereignty issues. This agency would also be tasked with accumulating the following information:
A. The accounting of all federal and Idaho state taxes paid by Idaho citizens.
B. The budget requirements of State agencies and entities.
C. The amount of Federal funding that is being received by any entity in the state whether direct or through state channels. This will require all County and city governments to report these funds.
D. Search out and define any and all federal programs, mandates, or laws that are currently in violation of Idaho’s 10th Amendment rights, and in particularly the school system, as in my opinion needs to be brought back out of any Federal control into state/ school district control.
E. Present a report of the above information to the Legislature and Governor.
Through the “Federal Relations” agency issue a memorandum to the Feds that the State of Idaho will no longer recognize or comply with any federal programs, mandates, or laws that are currently in violation of Idaho’s 10th Amendment rights, and then list them. The memorandum could start out like this:
“Please be advised that the State of Idaho can not and will not comply with funded or unfunded federal programs, mandates, or laws that are currently in violation of Idaho’s 10th Amendment rights. This action has now become necessary due to the recent illogical, and economically disastrous legislation being mandated by the Obama Administration in cooperation with the Democratic controlled Congress. These funded and unfunded federal programs, mandates, and laws are listed below:” etc. etc.
THREE (SCENARIO, the fight is on)
At that point the Feds will probably withhold Federal funding in an attempt to bring Idaho back into compliance.
In lieu of the loss of federal funding, Idaho will be forced to impose a property tax on all Federal real estate and improvements lying within Idaho.
(The Feds own approximately 3/4 of all Idaho lands)
The Feds won’t pay it.
Idaho will be forced to confiscate all federal taxes due within the state, in order to meet the state budget. This is not violating the 16th Amendment, as the Feds can continue to tax away, the state is just temporarily confiscating the Fed’s money into a temporary state fund in order to meet state budgets needs until the Feds resume the federal funding the state has become depended on.
If one state could get this fight going it might encourage other states to join in with their own agenda, primarily confiscating federal income taxes, thereby de-funding the Feds.
It is my hope that this article may illustrate the hurdles to be overcome, yet promote real action by the advocates of the 10th Amendment movement.