Representative Bill Harris has introduced a bill in Montana that would assert state control over the implementation of federal programs.

H.B. 145, Revise the Montana Federal Mandates Accountability Act,  proposes to be more constitutionally stringent on the interpretation of federal law, and affirms the responsibility of the state to consider the well-being of its citizens in doing so.

“The intent of the legislature is to ensure the primacy of the state of Montana’s legal and political authority to constitutionally implement in and for Montana the policy mandated by federal statutes and to vigorously challenge and scrutinize the extent and scope of authority asserted by federal executive branch agencies when federal agency actions and interpretations are inconsistent with the United States constitution and Montana policy and exceed the constitutional authority of the federal government or are not required by constitutional federal law.”

The bill opens the door for state nullification of all unconstitutional federal acts. It says, “any implementation of federal policies in and for Montana by federal executive branch agencies that is contrary to the United States constitution and fundamental notions of federalism and self-determination must be identified, countered, and resisted.”

Often, federal law does not take into consideration the financial burdens born by the citizens of the state. It is the obligation of the state to recognize this, and modify programs in such a way that their citizens are protected, and thrive.

“there is an urgent need to modify federal mandates because the implementation of these mandates by the state wastes the financial resources of local governments, the citizens of Montana, and the state and does not properly respect the rights of local governments, citizens, and the state; the state government has an obligation to the public to do what is necessary to protect the rights of Montana citizens while minimizing or eliminating any additional cost or regulatory burden on any citizen of the state”

If Montana passes H.B. 145, it could be a wake up call to other states. Unconstitutional federal mandates are getting harder to ignore, even by those entrenched politicians that prefer to. Constituents are waking up to the fact that they are bearing an increasingly heavy burden.

The bill is currently in the House Judiciary committee.



If you live outside of Montana, drop a note to your legislator with a copy of this legislation. Tell them that you would support similar legislation in your own state. Ask them what they are doing to that end.

If you live inside of Montana, call your House Judiciary members. Follow that up by contacting your legislator, and asking them to support this bill when it comes to the floor. The member roster can be found here.

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