No Legislator Left Behind

On July 26, 2010, Rob Pepe wrote on our facebook page,

Let’s put a copy of Nullification in the hands of EVERY member of the Pennsylvania legislature.  I have my rep and senator covered.  Who’s next?

On November 9, 2010, every legislator in the state of Utah received a copy of Nullification courtesy of the Utah Tenth Amendment Center.

Following the lead of these forward thinkers and borrowing our project name from Sheriff Mack’s, “No Sheriff Left Behind project, the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center is happy to report a large stride toward fulfilling Rob’s idea.

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Texas vs the TSA: A Little Dignity for We the People

AUSTIN — A bill which aims to prohibit “enhanced pat-downs”  in Texas airports is being supported by an ever-growing coalition, including Texans for Accountable Government (TAG), an Austin-based activist group.

The bill, HB 1937 authored by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), is supported by a broad, trans-partisan coalition of nearly 40 Republican and Democratic Legislators, as well as a number of other groups concerned with individual liberty and privacy rights including TAG the Travis County Republican Party, the Travis County Libertarian Party, the Central Texas Republican Liberty Caucus. Simpson also has the backing of U.S. Congressman John Carter of Texas.
“Rep. Simpson’s bill is a prime example of the Texas Legislature fulfilling its duty to protect its constituents and both the Texas and U.S. Constitutions,” said Heather Fazio of TAG. “When our own federal government is overseeing such an intrusion of personal rights, it becomes the responsibility of the states to keep that power in check — which is exactly what this bill does.”

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Missouri House Passes Firearms Freedom Act

On January 27th, Missouri State Representative Mike Leara introduced House Bill 361 (HB361), the “Firearms Freedom Act.” Last Thursday, the Missouri House passed it by a vote of 118-37. It now goes on to the state senate for further consideration.

If passed into law, the bill would make law that “a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Missouri and that remains within the borders of Missouri is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce. It is declared by the legislature that those items have not traveled in interstate commerce.”

So far, 8 states have passed a version of the Firearms Freedom Act into law – Montana and Tennessee in 2009, and Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, and South Dakota last year. More than a dozen other states are also considering the act as well.

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Tennessee governor signs health care freedom into law

BREAKING NEWS – From Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center state coordinator Lesley Swann:

On Friday, Gov. Bill Haslam signed the Tennessee Health Care Freedom Act (SB0079), making health care freedom the law of the land in Tennessee.  The Tennessee Health Care Freedom Act is a direct response to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by Congress last year.

While SB0079 does not seek to nullify the federal law in its entirety, the goal of the new law is to ensure that Tennesseans are free to choose whether to participate in the federal plan, choose another plan, or not participate in any plan at all.

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How Can Congress Spend All that Money? – Part II

In a recent post, I explained that Congress obtains authority to spend money from its enumerated powers.  All of those powers inherently require some expenditures—at least to buy the pen and ink needed to write the laws.  Some powers, such as the power to “maintain a Navy” (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 13)  require expenditure of great deal of money.

In addition, the Necessary and Proper Clause (I-8-18) enables Congress to spend funds to carry out a power in ways customary at the Founding or reasonably necessary.  For instance, Congress may hire revenue officers to collect the taxes authorized by I-8-1 because such was Founding Era custom, and it may maintain IRS websites because such has become reasonably necessary for efficient tax collection.

The Constitution imposed several limits on taxes, of which two are important here.  First, Congress could tax only to raise funds to be spent “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”  (I-8-1).  During the Confederation era, there had been many cases of states discriminating against other states, even in conduct of the Revolutionary War.  As explained during the ratification debates, the General Welfare Clause was designed to ensure that taxes could not be imposed purely to benefit particular sections of the country or particular special interests.  The goal was to ensure that government spent money impartially—a goal inherent in the Founders’ belief that government was a public trust, subject to fiduciary standards.

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