Texas House to the TSA: You are Nullified!

Update – the bill passed a 2nd reading on May 12th. The third and final vote, on may 13th had the bill passing by a vote of 138-0. It now moves on to the Senate.

While states across the country are considering and passing bills to reject or nullify what many see as federal overreach in areas like health care, gun rights, medical marijuana, and more, the Texas State House struck a resounding blow tonight by becoming the nation’s first legislative body to pass a TSA nullification bill.

House Bill 1937, introduced by Representative David Simpson, seeks to ban searches by TSA (and other) agents “without probable cause” as the 4th amendment requires. It states, in part:

A person who is a public servant [acting under color of his office or employment] commits an offense if the person:

(2) while acting under color of the person’s office or employment without probable cause to believe the other person committed an offense:

(A)  performs a search for the purpose of granting access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation;

Even though reports from groups such as The Foundation for a Free Society, Texans for Accountable Government, and Libertarian Longhorns all indicate that the House passed HB1937 “passed by a unanimous voice vote at approximately 11pm this evening,” there’s still what many consider to be a tough battle in the Senate ahead.

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GOP: A Party Like it’s 1994

The Republican field has just been joined by Newt Gingrich, the ringleader of the 1994 “Republican Revolution.” After forty years in the minority, the GOP won the House and Senate that year in November and took over the reins the following January. Many expected a major shift toward smaller government.

The Contract with America—the Republicans’ literature offering hope and change to the American people—was filled with reforms supposedly aimed at limiting the power of Washington, but much of it had to do with expanding government to crack down on crime or uphold family values. Unsurprisingly, the Republicans had more success passing legislation that made government more powerful than they did at cutting back government’s intrusion into our personal and economic lives.

Six out of eight years that Bill Clinton was president he had a Republican Congress to deal with. Both liberals and conservatives have a mixed recollection of these years. Democrats and Republicans both take credit for the relative fiscal restraint at the time, yet for some reason conservatives have often conjured up images of the Clinton years as though they were a period of particularly corrupt governance, and Democrats complain of the atmosphere of “deregulation” that permeated the era, even though their man in the White House signed off on most of it.

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On the Intrastate Commerce Act

From the Maine Tenth Amendment Center:

Below is the written testimony submitted to Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary in regards to LD 1172, “An Act To Prohibit Enforcement of Federal Laws in Violation of the Constitution of the United States,” otherwise known as the Intrastate Commerce Act.

Testimony of Chris Dixon (Maine Tenth Amendment Center) on LD 1172, “An Act To Prohibit Enforcement of Federal Laws in Violation of the Constitution of the United States” May 5, 2011

Senator Hastings, Representative Ness, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary. My name is Chris Dixon and I live in Lisbon Falls, Maine. I am in favor of LD 1172.

The United States Constitution was written to replace the Articles of Confederation, which was generally held to be failing among the founding generation. It became understood that the absolute lack of a Federal Government would be counterproductive to a union of sovereign states, but at the same time, they also knew that the response should not be an all-powerful central government. Thus, there was a careful balance created where a list of enumerated powers were given and the States and the people would reserve the rest of the powers.

The Tenth Amendment states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The powers delegated to the United States Government are found in Article 1, Section 8; Section 9 lists the limits on their powers, while Section 10 lists the powers prohibited to the States.

Clause 3 of Article 1, Section 8 states one of the powers of the government is “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The power was granted to the Federal Government to regulate commerce crossing State lines to ensure quarreling did not occur among the several states and thus become problematic, as it had under the Articles of Confederation. James Madison, principal author of the Constitution, noted in a 1829 letter that “…it is very certain that it grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the nonimporting, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government, in which alone, however, the remedial power could be lodged.” The Commerce Clause did not, however, grant the Federal Government the power to regulate commerce within State lines.

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Proposed amendment would give states veto power over Congress

WASHINGTON (MAY 10, 2001) – On Thursday, Rep. Bob Bishop (R-Utah) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R –Wyo.) plan to introduce a constitutional amendment that would give states veto power over any federal legislation.

If approved, a vote by two-thirds of state legislatures would repeal any law or regulation passed by Congress.

“The Repeal Amendment provides a targeted way to reverse particular congressional acts and administrative regulations without relying on federal judges or permanently amending the text of the Constitution to correct a specific abuse,” Bishop’s legislative director Cody Stewart said.

The proposed amendment reads:

Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed.

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