Kansas Bill to Nullify Federal Gun Laws Goes to Governor Brownback for Signature

Tonight, in the final hours of the Kansas state legislative session, the House and Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 102 (previously House Bill 2199) and send it to Governor Brownback for signature.
(Kansas residents are urged to CALL the Governor NOW and respectfully urge him to sign SB102 - 785-296-3232)

The House passed the bill by a vote of 96-24, and the Senate voted 35-4.  During the Senate vote, one Senator exclaimed, “Passage of SB102 means that 2nd and 10th Amendment are alive and well in Kansas.”

If signed into law, SB102 would nullify a wide range of federal attacks on the right to keep and bear arms in the State of Kansas.  It states, in part:

Any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the second amendment to the constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas

In conjunction with Section 6a (quoted above), the bill defines what is meant by “the second amendment to the constitution of the United States,” and it isn’t based off a decision of the supreme court.

The second amendment to the constitution of the United States reserves to the people, individually, the right to keep and bear arms as that right was understood at the time that Kansas was admitted to statehood in 1861, and the guaranty of that right is a matter of contract between the state and people of Kansas and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Kansas in 1859 and the United States in 1861.

State and local agents would be prevented from supporting any acts or actions that are “null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas.”  Based off this text, the state of Kansas would not be allowed to participate in any federal gun control measures that restrict the individual right to keep and bear arms as understood in 1861.   

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Missouri House votes to Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying, 87-66

In a surprisingly close vote on Thursday, the Missouri House voted to place severe limitations on the use of drones in the state.  House bill 46 (HB46), introduced by Representative Casey Guernsey, came up for a third and final reading and vote on April 4th.  It passed by vote of 87-66.  It now goes to the State Senate for concurrence.

If signed into law, HB46 would ban the use of drone surveillance without a warrant, or without permission of the property owner being surveilled.  It reads, in part:

No person, entity, or state agency shall use a manned aircraft, drone, or unmanned aircraft to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant.

No person, entity, or state agency shall use a manned aircraft, drone, or unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance or observation under the doctrine of open fields of any individual, property owned by an individual, farm, or agricultural industry without the consent of that individual, property owner, farm or agricultural industry.

No person, group of persons, entity, or organization, including, but not limited to, journalists, reporters, or news organizations, shall use a drone or other unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance of any individual or property owned by an individual or business without the consent of that individual or property owner.

While the bill does leave a few small openings for drone use in emergency situations where life is “in imminent danger,” or by universities for research, the vast majority of potential drone use in the state would be eliminated under this bill.

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Anti-Drone Bills Pass out of Committees in Tennessee

Drone regulation in Tennessee moved a step closer to reality this week.

Both the House and Senate versions of the Freedom of Unwarranted Surveillance Act moves forward in Tennessee out of their respective committees. SB796 unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee 9-0.  The House Civil Justice Committee recommended passage of HB591 if amended.

The bill prohibits the use of drones  by law enforcement agencies in Tennessee only under the following circumstances.

- Toe counter the high risk of terrorist attack by a specific person or organization.
- With a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone.
- With evidence of reasonable suspicion that there is an immediate threat such that “swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life.

The proposed amendments add two more exceptions for drone use.

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Travel: A Fundamental Human Right

by Aaron Libby, Maine State Representative.  As given in public testimony in favor of LD841 on March 29, 2013.

Good morning Senator Gerzofsky, Representative Dion and members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. I am Representative Aaron Libby and I represent the residents of District 139. As the sponsor of this bill, I’m here today to speak in support of its passage.

The right to travel is a fundamental human right. A person’s ability to travel is crucial for such things as commerce or voting with your feet. Throughout history when freedom was mentioned so was the right to travel. The right to travel was speci ed in article 42 in the Magna Carta (1215), “In future it shall be lawful for any man to leave and return to our kingdom unharmed and without fear, by land or water, preserving his allegiance to us, except in time of War, for some short period, for the common bene t of the realm.” The right to travel was also speci ed in our Articles of Confederation in Article 4, ” …provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State, of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the united States, or either of them…” .

Our Constitution does not specify the right to travel in Word; it is believed that the right was thought of so fundamental during the drafting that it was not needed to be explicitly enumerated. Even though it is not speci cally stated, Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1, The Privileges and Immunities Clause, covers this right, it states “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.” The right to travel is also stated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) in Article 13, “(l) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence Within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” In the United States Supreme Court case of Paul v. Virginia (1869), the Court de ned freedom of movement as the “right of free ingress into other States, and egress from them.” Also, Supreme Court case Saenz v. Roe (1999) specified the right to enter one state and leave another was protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause.

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N.C. Religion Resolution: A Poorly Worded Distraction

You probably saw the headlines splashed across mainstream media websites on Wednesday.

“Bill Would Establish State Religion.”

Pundits spent Wednesday afternoon breathlessly reporting on HJR494, a joint resolution filed by North Carolina state Rep. Harry Warren and Rep. Carl Ford. If you read any of these reports, you likely came away thinking the Tar Heel State stands on the verge of declaring a theocracy.

HJR494 does no such thing.

In fact, it does nothing at all.

Despite what reporters keep saying over an over, it isn’t even a bill. It’s a joint resolution carrying no force of law. It features no legally binding language, enacts no statute and contains no enforceable provision.

It’s just a legislative opinion.

And a poorly written one at that.

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What happens when the government goes bankrupt?

by Judge Andrew Napolitano

What happens when the government goes bankrupt? This question is one that sounds like a hypothetical exercise in a law school classroom from just a few years ago, where it might have been met with some derision. But today, it is a realistic and terrifying inquiry that many who have financial relationships with governments in America will need to make, and it will be answered with the gnashing of teeth.

Earlier this week, a federal judge accepted the bankruptcy petition of Stockton, Calif., a city of about 300,000 residents northeast of San Francisco, over the objections of those who had loaned money to the city. The lenders – called bondholders – and their insurers saw this coming when the city stopped paying interest on their loans – called bonds. In this connection, a bond is a loan made to a municipality, which pays the lender tax-free interest and returns the principal when it is due. Institutional lenders usually obtain insurance, which guarantees the repayment but puts the insurance carrier on the hook.

The due dates of many of these bonds have come and gone, and the bondholders and their insurers want Stockton to repay the loans. But the city lacks the money with which to make the repayments. It borrowed money from the bondholders during good financial times, when its real estate-generated tax receipts were greater than today, and when its advisers predicted no foreseeable end to the flow of cash to the city. The expected flow of that cash, the natural inclination of those in government to want to give away other people’s money, and the self-serving manipulations of those in power who rewarded their friends and themselves with rich pensions combined to cause the city to make generous pension commitments to its employees.

It is politically easier to offer generous pension payments to municipal employees in the future than it is to raise their salaries today. The promise to pay a pension to qualifying retirees upon their entry into the retirement system, just like the promise to repay bondholders the money they loaned, is a legally enforceable contract.

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