During the last legislative session, I was following a bill that was introduced in the Arizona legislature, the “Liberty Preservation Act.” Going through my email one night after work, I found one particularly concerning email from the Tenth Amendment Center containing news about the bill. It was ‘killed in the rules committee.’ I immediately went to the Arizona legislature website and plugged in the bill number to find out what happened.
After a few clicks, I was pleasantly surprised to find a video of the ‘rules committee’ discussing the bill from earlier that week. The group of legislators seemed unfamiliar with the concept of the bill: outlawing new overreaching federal laws that allow for blatantly unconstitutional actions against the citizens in their state. I surmised from watching the video that the purpose of the ‘rules committee’ is to determine if bills are constitutional.
I was surprised to see the group trying to find any reason to disqualify this bill, even after being briefed by the state rules attorney that it was constitutional. So after a whopping 3 minutes of scratching their heads, they decided this bill wasn’t for them. I was pissed!
That evening, I attended my local republican legislative district meeting for the first time. Some friends and I met up in front of the building and we planned to attend the meeting. Apparently it was my lucky day, I spotted two of the legislators that had voted against the bill entering the building… I soon realized that they were representatives from my district! I wasted no time telling my friends about what happened earlier that week. After we entered the building, I continued to spread the word to others inside. I explained what the Liberty Preservation Act was, and that there were representatives in the room that had ‘killed it!’
The meeting consisted of various state office holders that were giving stump speeches and insisting we reelect them. This included the two representatives I recognized from the video earlier that evening. It was then announced that they were all taking questions after their speeches. SCORE! I wasted no time asking my question! “Sir, you recently voted against SB1182, the Liberty Preservation Act, which seeks to outlaw new overreaching federal laws that allow for unconstitutional actions to be taken against the citizens of this state.
Can you please explain the constitutional basis for your decision that contradicts the briefing from the state rules attorney that this bill is constitutional?” The look on the reps face was priceless. He replied with a canned answer, but there was no stopping the torch of freedom I had just lit in that room. Others began voicing support for the bill I had referenced, then everyone wanted on the freedom bandwagon!
After the meeting, I met with both representatives and reiterated my support for State Nullification actions. They informed me that they would each meet with the rules attorney in order to clarify questions they still had regarding the bill. Each said they were allotted a few days to reconsider their votes…. and they did, the very next day! The bill went on to pass the house and senate overwhelmingly.
This is an example of how one individual can make a difference on important issues. Legislation that has been deemed constitutional is not always enough to pass. This is why it’s important for the people to inform their representatives and to make sure their voices are heard!