Clash of Intrastate and Interstate Commerce in Los Angeles

Once again, the nine robed federal employees filling seats at the Supreme Court failed to check constantly expanding federal power.

The feds have tried to unconstitutionally regulate intrastate commerce in many ways through agencies under the purview of the executive branch. Using a several different alphabet agencies, they have maintained  bans on hemp and marijuana, and even regulated food, environmental conditions and  firearms within the borders of individual states.

While the Constitution delegates power to the federal government for regulation of interstate commerce – trade crossing state lines – the federal government was never intended to interfere with economic activity confined within the borders of the state.

On June 13, the Supreme Court rubber stamped this unconstitutional exercise of federal power, concluding federal acts override state and local laws.

In 1997, the Port of Los Angeles (“the Port”) introduced a plan to expand its cargo terminals to better accommodate its high shipping volume. Following public concern that the plan could significantly increase air pollution, the Board of Harbor Commissioners adopted a Clean Air Action Plan (“CAAP”). The CAAP aimed to reduce emissions and specifically targeted the Port’s drayage truck business. Roughly 16,000 drayage trucks regularly serve the Port, transporting goods between customers and the cargo terminals. Beginning in 2008, the CAAP banned drayage trucks from the Port, unless the carriers entered into a series of concession agreements. These agreements imposed a progressive ban on older trucks and provided incentives for drayage truck operators to convert their aging fleets to cleaner trucks.

American Trucking Associations (“ATA”), a national association of motor carriers, challenged several provisions within the concession agreements and brought suit against the City of Los Angeles and its Harbor Department. ATA argued that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“FAAA”) preempted the agreements. The FAAA Act prohibits a state from enacting any regulation related to the “price, route, or service of any motor carrier.” ATA claimed that the concession agreements amounted to such a regulation. ATA further argued that the State could not limit a federally licensed motor carrier’s access to a port.”

The FAAA legitimately preempts state and local laws when regulating commerce in such places as ports, where interstate and foreign commerce takes place. However, off-site parking falls under to state and local authority and not federal regulation. But the Supremes opined that since neither California nor the city of Los Angeles ever had a problem with FAAA regulating things just outside the port before, well, then it’s just fine and dandy for the feds to regulate it under the FAAA now. Therefore, the strict regulations imposed by the state of California and the city of Los Angeles are now null and void under this ruling. Not only that, the FAAA can stop a city or state from preventing trucks access to a port based on consignments of statute all across the U.S.

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A World Without Risk or Responsiblity

The Path that Got Me Here

Early on, I grew up like most people, believing that all government regulations are good. And, we just need even more to stop the problems we encounter. All the fears in our lives can be legislated away, and if the government just locked themselves up in a room, they can solve all our problems.

However that was breaking down after just one semester in grad school. I took a class on exposure, risk management, and regulation. I found I was constantly being talked into circles. There was never an answer to “how clean is clean?” I learned that there are only a handful of chemicals we truly know about. And I even found chemical dose response guidelines from federal regulatory agencies don’t necessarily allow you to translate animal to human exposure. Yet, for most publications it is custom to always sight a government standard. Surprisingly, after attending a national conference, I saw many industries just sick of this model. And instead they were pulling away from government standards. Instead, industries were testing their own products that had risks of toxic exposure and formed their own risk management plan that didn’t coincide with government standards. One that was accurate to human exposure and response.

This experience was just one of the first steps in the direction that ended the idea that federal regulatory agencies have an answer for everything. I’m not saying that these agencies were meant to be evil. In fact, there is plenty of good safety information on their websites and in their articles. I just believe that most things that become law flow from good intentions.

Some of those good intentions are now controlling peoples’ lives.

Therein lies the evil. It’s like voting for either political party’s agenda. One day you just wake up and realize, they are both crap and you need to find a better way that doesn’t involve them.

The next step in solidifying my path came from something one of my friends said.

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New Texas Law Bans Warrantless Drone Spying

Last Friday, Governor Perry signed into law a bill to severely restrict the use of drones for surveillance.   Dubbed the ‘Texas Privacy Act’, H.B. 912 is an attempt to rein in potential abuses related to the rapidly-developing drone technology that has made its hands into the hands of government at the state and federal levels. The bill was originally authored by Rep. Gooden (R-District 4) and amassed over 100 co-sponsors since it was introduced Feb. 1, showing vast and bipartisan support for stopping the government’s Orwellian takeover of our skies. The House passed the bill by a vote of 128-11 on May 10th. (roll call here)  And the Senate passed a slightly amended version of the bill by a vote of 29-1. (roll call here).

BILL INFORMATION

The bill states that “a person commits an offense if the person uses or authorizes the use of an unmanned vehicle or aircraft to capture an image without the express consent of the person who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image.” The offender would be charged with a Class C misdemeanor if they were caught violating this part of the law.

Data gathered by law enforcement illegally ‘may not be used as evidence in any criminal or juvenile proceeding, civil action, or administrative proceeding’ according to the bill and ‘is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for its release.’ This incentivizes police to not misuse the drone technology unless they wish to risk jeopardizing their entire investigation.

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Hertford, NC Passes Resolution in Support of the 2nd Amendment

The North Carolina legislature may have been unable to pass the firearms freedom act this year, and  it has yet to introduce a Second Amendment preservation act, but that doesn’t mean steps to defend the right to keep and bear arms are not being taken in the Tar Heel State. Local governments are taking steps to defend the Second Amendment, creating pressure that will undoubtedly be felt in Raleigh next year.

Hertford County was the most recent locality in North Carolina to pass a local resolution to preserve the Second Amendment.

The Hertford County Board of Commissioners resolves as representatives of the people to defend the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 30 of the North Carolina Constitution and will not consent to unconstitutional laws, executive orders, or foreign/domestic tyranny. Furthermore, the Commissioners call upon the Governor and General Assembly of North Carolina to pass legislation that will guarantee the protection of our God-given right in the defense of our liberty and our persons for all North Carolinians to bear arms.”

This resolution was approved without objection.

Hertford County joins with other North Carolina counties that have passed resolutions this year to preserve the right to bear arms including Carteret, Cherokee, Beaufort, Lenoir, Pitt, Moore, and Franklin counties.

Local pressure created by cities, counties, and municipalities passing resolutions and ordinances will increase the likelihood of the North Carolina legislature passing a state bill to preserve the Second Amendment in the next session.

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Warrantless Drone Surveillance Banned in Tennessee

On Monday, Governor Bill Haslam signed The Freedom of Unwarranted Surveillance Act, into law. This bill was introduced by Senator Mae Beavers, and had a roller coaster adventure through the legislative process. But it eventually passed – unanimously – in both state houses.  The tally was 32-0 in the Senate and 91-0 in the House.

The new law states that drones are prohibited with the following exceptions:

(1) To counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States secretary of homeland security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk;
(2) If the law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone; or
(3) If the law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life. (a very high bar in legal standards)

A party aggrieved by a violation of this bill may initiate a civil action against a law enforcement agency to obtain all appropriate relief, as determined by the court, in order to prevent or remedy a violation of the new law. Evidence obtained or collected in violation of this new law will not be admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution in any court of law in the state.  Any law enforcement agency that uses a drone, or other substantially similar device to gather evidence or obtain information, must comply in all respects with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and article I, section 7, of the Constitution of Tennessee.

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Fraud Waste and Abuse: Congress funds Military Hardware the Army Doesn’t Want

Congress constantly banks on votes of citizens by bribing people with promises, most of which they cannot fulfill. However national security becomes the hot topic where nothing can be cut, while millions of jobs based on the free market disappear.

As the economy continues to desend, the economy remains the top priority of many politicians to keep their job. The best way to guarantee a vote is to create jobs based on national security. Cities and States have now become dependent on military spending to create jobs in areas where there is a major decline in the economy. These jobs feed into the military industrial complex and hijack states in a no win situation to provide services or products that aren’t even needed.

This situation will not save the economies in states because more and more taxpayer money will be needed to fund pork projects, but it also neglects to address the issue that if these unnecessary jobs are not cut, something service members will need, will be cut. The DoD does have a budget (minus the intelligence black hole budgets) that it will have to adhere to.

Representatives have completely ignored the DoD’s request that it does not need certain products as it tries to trim its budget. However, congress has listened to the dire requests of voters that these jobs cannot disappear because it’s a national security issue. Simply put representatives try to keep districts, cities, and states afloat by funding jobs that have no demand. Jobs like those that produce the M1 Abrams tank. If it was such a national security issue, why would the DoD plead to not have one more tank?

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Health Care Nationalization Gamble Goes Bust?

The winning talking point of the Obamacare mandate was that people with pre-existing conditions could not be dropped from coverage or denied coverage for health care. Healthcare.org describes each disease or condition a person diagnosed has resulted in an individual’s insurance was dropping their coverage or denial. As a result, the Government created the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP), a transition program, that people with pre-existing conditions shall be provided with health care insurance now and easily transfered over to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act when it becomes fully implemented in 2014. That way people have health care coverage instead of people being stranded in a no health care no man’s land until 2014.

PCIP is administered by either the federal or state government but isn’t necessarily apart of a federal or state exchange (There are only 17 states with a state run exchange). If run by the state, the “State will operate a new high-risk pool alongside an existing state high-risk pool, establish a new high-risk pool (if the state does not currently have one), build upon other existing coverage programs designed to cover high-risk individuals, or contract with current HIPAA insurance carriers or insurers of last resort to provide subsidized coverage.” Currently, 27 states provide PCIP coverage. State PCIP providers will suspend their program March 2nd.

If the PCIP is administered by the federal government, the Department on Health and Human Services runs the coverage program. This federal program started off with $5 billion dollars in 2010 and has officially closed in February! The current fund can only pay for those already enrolled, and the government can no longer accept anymore applicants. As the National Review Reports, “The average cost per enrollee in 2012 was $32,108 a year. But the costs varied widely by state, from a low of $4,276 per enrollee to a high of $171,909, and some patients have annual claims as high as $225,000 per person.” Healthcare.org breaks down by state those people who are covered by PCIP. Healthcare.org has estimated that 110,888 people have been enrolled in PCIP. Ten months from the full implementation of Obamacare, it is now estimated that at least 40,000 people with pre-existing conditions will be dumped off into the land of misfit toys….unless….

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Proof is in the Pot

Nullification works!

As Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin often says on Tenther Radio, the feds always need state and local law enforcement. Every drug raid ends with a DEA press release thanking state or local law enforcement for its cooperation.

The feds simply don’t have the resources or manpower to enforce all of their acts.

Judge Napolitano states, “State non-compliance makes federal enforcement almost nearly impossible.”

But don’t believe nullification works just because Michael Boldin says so! Don’t buy into it just because Judge Napolitano agrees.

The DEA says so too!

The Huffington Post reports that the DEA is trying desperately to justify its budget. How can they do their job if states won’t enforce their federal “laws?” Who will destroy the weed?

In California, several nullification bills addressing medical marijuana were signed into law. In 1996, Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act, was enacted after a 56 percent state-wide vote in favor. This bill  allowed patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation, and the patient’s designated Primary Caregiver’s approval, to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use. Since then, the program has been expanded to protect a growing system of collective and cooperative distribution.

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Missouri House Passes Firearms Freedom Act by a Veto-Proof Majority

Moments ago, Missouri House Bill 170, the Firearms Freedom Act, passed out of the House by a wide margin.  It passed overwhelmingly with a strong veto-proof margin and will now move to the State Senate for concurrence.  The final tally was 117-41.

HB170, the Firearms Freedom Act, protects two aspects of the right to bear arms: 1. HB170 protects semi-automatic firearms, magazines, and accessories from being registered, restricted or banned; 2: HB170 protects manufacturers from the federal governments infringements and dealers from using a national background database.  It reads, in part:

“It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee of this state, or any political subdivision, or any federal firearms dealer licensed under 18 U.S.C. Section 923 to enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government created or effective on or after January 1, 2013, relating to a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state of Missouri and that remains exclusively within the boundaries of the state of Missouri.

2. Any official, agent, or employee of the federal government who enforces or attempts to enforce any act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government created or effective on or after January 1, 2013, upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state of Missouri and that remains exclusively within the borders of the state of Missouri shall be guilty of a class D felony.

3. Any person in violation of a federal law created or effective on or after January 1, 2013, relating to the manufacture, sale, transfer, or possession of a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition owned or manufactured and retained exclusively within the boundaries of the state of Missouri may request the attorney general to defend him or her for such violation.

4. Any federal law created or effective on or after January 1, 2013, rule, regulation, or order created or effective on or after January 1, 2013, shall be unenforceable in the state of Missouri if the law, rule, regulation, or order attempts to: (1) Ban or restrict ownership of a semi-automatic firearm or any magazine of a firearm; or (2) Require any firearm, magazine, or other firearm accessory to be registered in any manner.”  (emphasis added)

In short, any such federal “acts, laws, statutes, rules or regulations” that are already in effect or are passed in the future shall be nullified.  This would effectively create a safe-haven for firearms manufacturers who want to build products that are sold to residents in Missouri.     It also includes a statewide ban on any federal attempt to ban or restrict semi-automatics (including magazines and accessories)  This bill is a great companion for HB436, the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, which already passed the House and is on its way to the Senate Floor in the coming days.

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Lousiana 2nd Amendment Preservation Act Heading to the Floor.

Representative Jim Morse introduced HB5 this year in response to the newly sought “assault weapons” ban from Diane Feinstein and other threat to prohibit “weapons of war” from the White House Administration.

The Louisiana Preservation of Individual Gun Rights of Citizens Act protects semi-automatic firearms from federal regulation.

HB5 states,

Any federal law, rule, regulation, or executive order adopted or enacted on or after January 1, 2013, shall be unenforceable within the borders of the state of Louisiana if the law, rule, regulation, or executive order attempts to do any of the following:

(1) Ban or restrict the ownership or possession of a semi-automatic firearm, or any magazine, accessory, or ammunition for a semi-automatic firearm, as defined by federal law.

(2) Require that any semi-automatic firearm, magazine, accessory, or ammunition for a semi-automatic firearm be registered in any manner. The provisions of this Section shall only apply to semi-automatic firearms, magazines, accessories, and ammunition for such firearms which are owned or possessed within the state of Louisiana and remain exclusively within the borders of the state of Louisiana.”

The local and state police are prohibited from enforcing any federal law in violation.

“It shall be unlawful for any official, agent, or employee of the United States government to enforce or attempt to enforce a federal law, rule, regulation, or executive order which is unenforceable”

This law provides that,

“Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than two years, or both.

The office of the attorney general of the state of Louisiana shall defend any Louisiana citizen who is charged with possession or ownership of a semi-automatic firearm, magazine, accessory, or ammunition for such firearm in violation of any federal law, rule, regulation, or executive order which is unenforceable”

This bill passed the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice with a vote of 8-6. This bill now heads to the floor for a vote on  April 23. In an article from The Advocate, Jim Morris said, “This is not only a timely bill, but proper bill to bring.”

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