It’s Time to Set Aside Our Differences and Focus On Our Similarities

This topic isn’t a new one here at the Tenth Amendment Center. We often discuss the left/right paradigm, and the sentiment of John Adams that; “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

Who could have known those words would ring so true today.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with our friends at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee this weekend, along with a few coalition partners. I arrived at our Friday night reception to meet a bunch of really open, and friendly activists. As we headed into our weekend, several of those in attendance identified themselves to me as progressives. Early on, someone labeled me as the capitalist, libertarian contingent in the room. It turned out that for a few, capitalism and libertarians weren’t necessarily the most popular things going around. Fortunately, we were all there to learn and those things didn’t detract. I was able to share a little bit about coalition building, and the need for us to work together, regardless of where we have politically identified up until now.

Within personal bubble, I tend to be in contact with a lot more people who consider themselves to be politically on the right. I am very used to the bad arguments and misconceptions coming from that side. It was incredibly interesting for me to be with a group who almost wholly identifying with the political left. Turns out, they have some of the same misconceptions about the other side, as the other side has about them! Of course I already knew that to be true, but somehow, within the group, it seemed more profound.

As the realization of this sank in, I just felt sad. Because here was a room full of really fantastic people, doing good work. People with amazing perspective, great ideas, and intelligent things to say… and a whole group of people across the aisle were missing out on them. I personally benefited incredibly from the wealth of experience and thoughtfulness that was in that room. I considered a couple of people at home who could have used the experience even more than I. It was challenging for me, at times, because I had one or two preconceived notions of my own that I wasn’t completely aware of. More than challenging though, it was just really inspiring. I was impressed by the level of respectfulness that everyone showed to one another.


Montana Action Alert: Override Bullock’s Veto of Anti-NDAA Bill

Earlier this month the Montana Senate approved House Bill 522 (HB522) by a vote of 43-7, concurring with the State house which previously voted to approve the bill by a 98-0 vote.

Today, Montana Governor Steve Bullock vetoed the bill, which would protect the citizens of Montana from being detained by the feds – without due process – by banning  state compliance with, enforcement of, or any assistance for NDAA “indefinite detention”.

People came from across the political spectrum in favor of this bill. The ACLU, Tenth Amendment Center, Oath Keepers and many others worked in favor. On the second reading there were still 13 votes against, but the grassroots rallied and barraged those offices with calls for the final vote. The people of Montana have spoken on indefinite detention. They don’t want it.

Because of the majority who voted for this bill, the governor’s veto can be overridden. However, the vote to override still has to be passed and should come up on the House floor on Tuesday, April 23rd.


1. Call your State Representative. Call now, even if you just leave a voicemail overnight. Focus special attention on Democrats, who might waver in the face of the Democratic Governor issuing a veto. Remind them that indefinite detention and due process is NOT a partisan issue. Let them know you want a YES vote on HB522 – vote principle over party. The original vote was 98-0 – so any help you can give in encouraging your representative to hold their ground will help override this veto!

Contact info here:

2. Call your State Senator. Do the same with the State Senate. Call now. Don’t email. Call, leave a message if necessary. YES on HB522!


Washington State Action Alert: Help Nullify the Unconstitutional Federal Ban on Hemp Farming

On Thursday, April 4th, the Washington State House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government had a hearing on HB1888, the Hemp Freedom Act. The bill had already passed the committee on Government Accountability & Oversight by a vote of 8-0.  (more details about the legislation and the Constitutional view below)

Although the hearing went well and the committee members seemed to be supportive, they did not vote to move the bill to the floor. However, there is still a chance for this bill to get a floor vote.  Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp, and Minority Leader, Richard DeBolt, can choose to pull this bill from the committee to the floor. The bill sponsors are urging us to call these leaders and ask them to do so.


1. Call Speaker Chopp’s office and strongly, but politely, urge him to support the economic benefits, and job creation of industrial hemp by bringing HB1888 out of committee to a floor vote.

phone: (360) 786-7920

2. Follow that up with a phone call to Minority Leader, Richard DeBolt.

phone: (360) 786-7896

3. Share with your friends and neighbors about the benefits of industrial hemp, and urge them to call. This is a non partisan issue that could greatly benefit our state!  


Bill to Nullify Gun Control Off to Alaska Governor’s Desk

Alaska’s HB69, the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, had it’s third reading in the senate last night, April 10th, and passed with a 17-3 vote. It returned to the house this morning, where they voted 34-5 to concur with the Senate version. The bill will be transmitted to Governor Parnell’s desk.

If Parnell signs it into law, it would nullify a large swath of unconstitutional federal power over the right to keep and bear arms. It begins with the premise that violations of the 2nd Amendment are not law at all. It reads, in part:

a statute, regulation, rule, or order that has the purpose, intent, or effect of confiscating any firearm, banning any firearm, limiting the size of a magazine for any firearm, imposing any limit on the ammunition that may be purchased for any firearm, or requiring the registration of any firearm or its ammunition infringes on an Alaskan’s right to bear arms in violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and, therefore, is not made in accordance with the Constitution of the United States, is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States, is not the supreme law of the land, and, consequently, is invalid in this state and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state

It continues, requiring the state to stand down on enforcement of federal laws violating the right to keep and bear arms:

A state or municipal agency may not use or authorize the use of an asset to implement or aid in the implementation of a requirement of
(1) an order of the President of the United States, a federal regulation, or a law enacted by the United States Congress that is applied to
(A) infringe on a person’s right, under the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, to keep and bear arms;

This is a VERY effective method to stop the federal government from infringing the right to keep and bear arms within Alaska. It’s a known fact that a vast majority of federal enforcement actions rely on state and local assets in order to have the manpower and resources to carry them out.  As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here)


Washington State Industrial Hemp Bill Needs Your Help!

On Thursday, April 4th, the Washington State House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government had a hearing on HB1888, the Hemp Freedom Act. The bill had already passed the committee on Government Accountability & Oversight by a vote of 8-0.

The federal government has no constitutional authority to ban the production of this industrial plant.   HB1888 would nullify that unconstitutional federal control, and return it where it belongs, to the state of Washington.

The United States is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp, which is used in food products, clothing, oil and much more.  The top exporters are China and Canada.  At this time of economic difficulty, HB1888 would not only expand freedom and support the Constitution, it would also be a great jobs bill.

Although the hearing went well and the committee members seemed to be supportive, they did not vote to move the bill to the floor. However, there is still a chance for this bill to get a floor vote.

Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp, and Minority Leader, Richard DeBolt, can choose to pull this bill from the committee to the floor. The bill sponsors are urging us to call these leaders and ask them to do so.



Idaho Senate Committee Considers Drone Bills

In line with what is now taking place across the country, senators in Idaho have drafted a bill to address the issue of unwarranted surveillance by drones. This is an ever more pressing concern with the introduction of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) – both large and small – available for a variety of uses, including that of  law enforcement.

SB 1067, The Preserving Freedom From Unwarranted Surveillance Act, was introduced by the Senate Transportation Committee and establishes provisions relating to the gathering of evidence or other information through the use of drones or other unmanned aircraft. Also relating to the use of a drone by a law enforcement agency when exigent circumstance exist, relating to civil actions and providing that no information obtained in violation of the provisions may be admissible as evidence in criminal proceedings.

Exigent circumstance are considered to exist if law enforcement “possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action to prevent imminent danger to life is necessary.”

Restrictions on the gathering of information include; “no person, entity, or state agency shall use a drone or other unmanned aircraft to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute, ordinance, regulation or rule, except the the extent authorized in a warrant.”

There is a second senate bill, SB 1051, which also reasserts these principles. The sponsor, Senator Chuck Winder, says that it’s essential to make sure the wide range of drone uses don’t infringe on constitutional protections.


Two Bills Would Nullify Federal Gun Laws and Regulations in Idaho

Legislators in Idaho introduced not one, but two bills this week that show their support for the second amendment. Most specifically they contain language prohibiting the federal regulation of fire arms within their state.

HB 219, Idaho Federal Firearm, Magazine, and Register Ban Enforcement Act,  would add to existing law and concerns actions prohibited by public and governmental entities in regard to firearms. It establishes certain laws as unenforceable within the state of Idaho, and also provides penalties for violations.

Stephen Hartgen has said that Idaho will not weaken on this issue, but will continue to protect the 2nd amendment. He co-sponsored this bill, which was sponsored by Representative Mark Patterson, along with 21 other co-sponsors.

If passed into law, it would become a misdemeanor for any state agent or employee to knowingly and willfully enforce, or order another agent to enforce a law or regulation contrary to the provisions in section 11,  article 1 of the Idaho constitution, which “clearly secures and prohibits government interference with the right of individual Idaho citizens to keep and bear arms.”  It would protect law enforcement officers from being ordered by their supervisors to violate the statute.


New Hampshire Hemp Freedom Act Passes House Committee,17-2

The New Hampshire Hemp Freedom Act, HB 153, passed the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee this week, 17-2. Next week it will go to the floor for a full house vote.

This bill would allow hemp production within the state of New Hampshire, by prohibiting the designation of industrial hemp as a controlled substance. The Controlled Substance Act listed hemp as a Schedule I drug in 1970. It is considered a crime to grow it without a government issued permit. Unfortunately, Hawaii is the only state ever to have been issued the permit, and that was back in 1999 (it has since expired). Obviously the DEA is not very forthcoming with them.

HB153 seeks to effectively nullify the federal government’s unconstitutional ban on the production of the agricultural product, hemp, by authorizing its production on the state level.

In reading the Constitution from the view of the founders, the federal government has no such authority and HB153 rests on solid ground.


Washington Anti-Drone Bill Passed by House Committee 9-1

The Washington state Public Safety Committee passed HB 1771 this afternoon, with 9 votes for, 1 against, and one excused.

The intention of the bill is to protect citizens from loss of privacy through warrantless surveillance, limit liability on the state and local government, and create clear standards for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, AKA drones.

Warrants have to be very specific in the information they are trying to obtain, must show probable cause, and don’t allow for the keeping of extraneous information that is coincidentally collected about non-involved persons in the process.  Which means that your neighbors should be safe from surveillance, even if the police have a warrant for your backyard. If footage of them happens to be collected in the process, it must be discarded.

If the bill becomes law, therefore, it would be a great victory in protection against unreasonable search and seizure, especially as we head into the new frontier of massive drone production.

“This bill is about freedom.” noted Representative Matt Shea, who co-sponsored the bill and wasn’t alone in his sentiments.