In March of 2011, Governor Herbert of Utah signed House Bill 76. This law provides additional funding for the state’s Constitutional Defense Commission and give it the authority to try negotiation and mediation before taking the federal government to court over federal law that has been deemed unconstitutional in regard to powers given to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution. This gives Utah state legislators a clear path to challenge unconstitutional federal law and, hopefully, sends a message to federal lawmakers.
This year, along with many other pending bills that challenge federal authority in the state, Arizona has introduced SB 1358 (neutralization; federal laws). This short piece of legislation packs a powerful punch. Like the Utah legislation, if signed into law, the bill will allow for a committee (the Joint Legislative Committee on Neutralization of Federal Laws) to be established. This committee will not only review new federal legislation (within 30 days of its passing), but also review all existing federal statutes, mandates, and executive orders for the purpose of determining their constitutionality, and can recommend them for neutralization as well. Unlike the Utah law, however, after committee recommendation, a simple majority vote by the state legislature on the grounds of constitutionality is all that is necessary for neutralization. If that occurs, the bill mandates that the state and its citizens “shall not recognize or be obligated to live under the statute, mandate or executive order.”
Senator Lori Klein, who drafted the bill, stated, “We have in Washington a particularly overreaching administration as well as regulations that are coming out of agencies that are not even mandated from Congress. The states have a right to stand up to these kinds of onerous regulations.” The bill itself contains strong wording in regard to its purpose, “This act serves as a notice and demand to the government to cease and desist all activities outside of the scope of their constitutionally designated powers that diminishes the balance of powers as established.”Details