New Jersey Assembly Democrats – Tenthers on Education?

Recently, I came across an article on my Facebook page that dealt with local choice in education on the issue of charter schools. The author, Marilyn Joyce Lehren brings up some very good points about the people of the town being able to decide whether or not they want charter schools in their community, as well as what standards should be applied. The interesting part of how I got to the article was the group that had shared it on their wall, none other than the New Jersey Assembly Democrats.

Now the New Jersey Democrats as a whole have very often been unfriendly to the Tenther agenda in general. While I’m on the topic, many New Jersey Republicans haven’t exactly been noble defenders of state, local, family and individual sovereignty. Trenton, in this very blue state, has generally been very…let’s just say “involved” in the daily lives of New Jerseyans, and has been very helpful to DC in staying “involved” as well.

No doubt the legislators in our state are not truly interested in local control. Rather, they use the argument to stifle the charter school movement and preserve the teachers’ unions’ power and one size fits all education. Still, there are some compelling arguments in the article and from Democrat lawmakers themselves if severed from their known loyalties.

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Before We Can Stand Up Against the Federal Bureaucracies…

cross-posted from the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center

We the People of New Jersey have to get over our addictions to our own at the state level. While the Constitution does not forbid the several States (or the People) from setting up massive regulatory structures that exhaust the People physically, emotionally and financially in trying to comply, that does not mean it is necessarily a good idea. For example, Romneycare, despite Michele Bachmann’s accusation of being “unconstitutional,” is not. However, it added considerably to the bureaucratic structure in Massachusetts, which qualifies it as a bad idea in my opinion.

We in New Jersey are facing a similar struggle with something that, while not necessarily unconstitutional according to the United States Constitution, is a bad idea for our struggling educational system. A bill introduced by Valerie Huttle in the General Assembly, A4372, and its identical bill in the Senate courtesy of Loretta Weinberg, S3105, would increase state government involvement in the lives of 42,000 home-schooled children and their families. The synopsis of the bill, “Requires medical examination and submission of student work portfolios for home-schooled children; provides that children under supervision of the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) may not be home-schooled.”

The question we should be asking in our heads as we pick up the phone to call our state officials to oppose this is, “Why?”

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Nullification? It’s a Gamble!

cross-posted from the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center

This election year was one of mixed results for the Nullification and Tenth Amendment movement. In some states, initiatives were on the ballots that, in one way or another, sought to remove the federal government from the decision making process on an assortment of issues. Some met with success, while others failed.

Ohioans voted overwhelmingly in favor of Issue 3, which nullifies ObamaCare’s health insurance mandate. While this is only a small part of the health care reform bill, it is a beginning. Hopefully, state legislatures, local governments and the people of their respective states will begin dissecting and nullifying the rest of the 2,000 page monstrosity.

Mississippi’s Personhood initiative (26) failed by a roughly 14 point margin. Had it passed, it would have recognized the unborn as persons from the moment of conception in their state. There was disappointment among Pro-Lifers, particularly Pro-Life Tenthers, that the measure did not pass. I would remind them that the firstTenth Amendment Resolution introduced in New Hampshire in 2009 failed in a vote that was expected to pass, given New Hampshire’s reputation for being very much its own state.

The people of the State of New Jersey re-elected incumbents in almost all the state legislative races. However, perhaps unaware they were nullifying, they voted yes on a non-binding initiative stating New Jersey should pass a law allowing sports betting in Atlantic City. While some would claim the feds have the final say, the first question asked in response should be, “Why?”

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Nullification: It’s Not Just for the States Anymore

…in fact, it never really was.

One of the most common objections I hear in any discussion about States’ rights, Nullification and Interposition is, “Well, what about Jim Crow and segregation?”  (p.s. Jim Crow laws existed in Union states such as California and North Dakota, so it’s not just the South) For a while, my most common reply was, “OK, so you’re going to shoot down the entire concept of Nullification, which resisted the Alien Sedition ActsFugitive Slave Lawsoverreaching federal drug lawsa Big Brother national ID card, etc. over one abuse of it?” To be honest, in my personal opinion, there has been a second, that of sanctuary states and cities in violation of federal immigration law, but that is again my personal opinion.  It is interesting, however that many big government types in DC in both parties who would bring up Jim Crow actually like those sanctuary states and cities.  In addition, there is a recent potential third, as North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue (I could make a series of jokes about her being “chicken,” but I’ll save that for friendly gatherings) proposed suspending Congressional elections in 2012 to “focus on the economy.”

However, one should look at Jim Crow and segregation as a legitimate concern when discussing Nullification. After all, the federal government Constitutionally banned slavery after the Civil War, which was one good thing to come out of an awful war (again, in my opinion, the only good thing, which could have come about in more peaceful ways). The Reconstruction begun under Lincoln and Johnson took a more vengeful turn during the Radical Reconstruction. Congress refused to seat elected representation from the South. When southern states passed black codes attempting to deny blacks voting rights, and in some cases reimpose a de facto slavery, the federal government intervened, eventually dividing up the South into military occupied zones. It was an ugly mess, and from freedom’s point of view, nobody was right.

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Verify, Never Trust

In the scramble amongst the Republican candidates for 2012, there has been a lot more discussion of the Constitution than in previous elections. Congressman Ron Paul‘s criticism of both Democrats and his fellow Republicans has been their failure to follow the Constitution, either through bloated social programs or endless wars. His campaign message in Congress and in Presidential campaigns has essentially been that of the Tenth Amendment Center – the Constitution every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses.

Even before the 2010 Congressional elections, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann was often found questioning the constitutionality of many actions by the federal government and the Federal Reserve. The Tea Party faction of the Republicans brought more attention to the issue, as did Dennis Kucinich and other Democrats questioning Obama’s constitutional authority in sending US forces to serve under foreign command via UN and NATO actions in Libya.

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Will Our Resolve Extend Beyond Resolutions?

A recent Press of Atlantic City article highlights the Atlantic County Freeholders’ vote urging Trenton to repeal legislation making New Jersey part of the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), in which all states involved agree to regulations of carbon dioxide emissions. While RGGI’s site claims that each state retains its sovereign authority in implementing greenhouse gas emissions, the same is technically said regarding federal mandates to the states in many areas. It should be noted that, for all the concern about the effect greenhouse gases are alleged to have, there is no mention by RGGI about regulation water vapor, THE most abundant greenhouse gas in the world.

Atlantic County, according to the article, was one of seven counties to pass resolutions opposing the RGGI scheme. This is one third of all the counties in New Jersey, plus resolutions from several City Councils, including one from Democrat-controlled Garfield City Council. Not a bad start, but still not enough to budge the immovable object known as the New Jersey State Legislature for two reasons.

First, New Jersey politicians overall tend to feel very secure in their jobs. In most Congressional Districts, we overwhelmingly re-elect our incumbents. The same is true of most State Legislative Districts. Even when New Jersey voters ousted Jon Corzine in 2009, we gave the new Governor the same State Legislature that created many of the problems the previous Governor faced.

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New Jersey, Bush’s Favorite Red State?

An announcement made May 11, 2011 by the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is one that should instantly be one of concern. The new driver’s licenses available in New Jersey will now be “materially compliant under REAL ID standards.” How did a state once described as “cobalt blue” in 2008 by the New York Times become such a willing participant in one of the most blatant violations of our civil liberties by the Bush administration and the Republican-dominated 109th Congress?

The REAL ID Act, introduced in 2005, was presented as a tool against both terrorism and illegal immigration, but has been criticized by groups at the federal and state levels. Like the Tenth Amendment Center, DownsizeDC, a civil libertarian organization whose goals also transcend party lines, has been quick to point out the flaws of REAL ID, and has reiterated calls for repeal on the sixth anniversary of this tyrannical foot in the door legislation. Alongside DownsizeDC’s calls for repeal at the federal level, the Tenth Amendment Center has been instrumental in getting Nullification legislation and/or anti-REAL ID resolutions passed in no fewer than 25 states, delaying the implementation of REAL ID multiple times.

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Birth Certificate: Was It Trump or the States?

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate to the public. Various media outlets had widely differing views on why it was released after millions of dollars were spent to keep it hidden, in the same way that they differed before its release on whether it should be released, or if it even existed. Aside from a few fringe outlets questioning this line or that line, the general consensus is even among “Birthers” that President Obama has finally proven his Constitutional eligibility to be President over two years after taking office.

One person who gives himself the most credit for getting the birth certificate released is Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who has been touting himself as a potential Republican challenger to Obama in 2012. Mind you, this is less than a year after he donated to the Mayoral campaign of Rahm Emanuel, a former Obama cabinet member, and Senator Chuck Shumer, et al…but people can change their minds, right? And it’s not good to upset your potential donors…although there are much bigger donors to Democratic campaigns, such as George Soros, who could easily make up any shortfall from Trump stopping any of his donations.

Obama has given himself credit for finally releasing the birth certificate, claiming he wanted to take the focus off that issue and onto the important things. But vacation after vacation while we suffer with deficits exceeding $1 trillion, runaway bureaucratic abuse, wide open borders, ballooning energy and food prices courtesy of ethanol, cap and trade and drilling bans, and a tax code that makes War and Peace look like a pamphlet, it is hard to find any real focus on the major issues the Federal government ought to be handling.

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Legislative Alert! NJ vs TSA

CLICK HERE – to track legislation rejecting TSA scanners, searches, etc.

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In a previous post, I had referred to New Jersey as DC’s most willing crony State, and had challenged the Legislature and the People to prove me wrong. I’m not one to count my chickens before they hatch, but three bills currently under consideration by two New Jersey State Senate committees may be the first few steps in doing that. Whether or not they are depends greatly on the amount of pressure put on our elected officials in Trenton, especially in an election year.

Each individual bill is designed to address different aspects of the abuse of power by the TSA via invasive searches and body scans. The synopses of each bill are as follows:

S2509: “Specifies that certain images generated by body scans violate State statutes prohibiting invasion of privacy, pornography, and endangerment of child welfare under certain circumstances.”

S2510: “Makes certain body searches third degree crime of sexual assault under certain circumstances.”

S2511: “Prohibits use of body imaging scanners to screen passengers and airline crew members.”

What separates these bills from other legislation consistent with the Tenth Amendment Center’s goals in New Jersey is that there are provisions that actually give the legislation teeth, combining Nullification AND Interposition. S2509 and S2510 provides for criminal penalties for federal agents who participate in the overintrusive pat downs and body scans, while S2511 opens up federal agents to civil suits.

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