PHOENIX – Feb. 18, 2015 – Last fall, Arizona voters passed Proposition 122, an amendment to the state constitution that provides a mechanism for refusing state resources to federal programs. And today, an Arizona Senate Committee voted to approve two bills putting that into practice on executive-level rules and regulations from Washington D.C.

Introduced by State Reps. Bob Thorpe, Mark Finchem, and Brenda Barton, House Bill 2368 (HB2368) would prohibit the state from:

“using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with an executive order issued by the president of the United States that has not been affirmed by a vote of the Congress of the United States and signed into law as prescribed by the Constitution of the United States.”

The Senate Federalism and States’ Rights Committee passed it today by a vote of 5-3.

Also introduced by Thorpe, a “strike-everything” amendment to House Bill 2058 (HB2058) took a broader, but complimentary approach to HB2368.

Pursuant to the sovereign authority of this state and article ii, section 3, constitution of arizona, this state and all political subdivisions of this state are prohibited from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with any rule, regulation or policy directive issued by an agency, board, commission, department or other entity of the federal government unless the rule, regulation or policy directive has been affirmed by a vote of the congress of the united states and signed into law as prescribed by the constitution of the united states.”

Both bills are consistent with the advice of James Madison, who advised in Federalist #46 a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” as an effective way to stop federal overreach.  And while such advice was effective in Madison’s day when the federal government was extremely small, today it’s even more powerful in a time when the federal government reaches into nearly every aspect of a person’s life.

“They just don’t have the manpower to carry out all their so-called laws,” said Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By withdrawing state-level resources and enforcement, it makes it almost impossible for the feds to carry out what they want to do.”

In a discussion on similar bills last year, Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed, suggesting that even a single state withdrawing all enforcement and resources would make federal laws “nearly impossible to enforce.”

The issue at hand on both bills is a unilateral, unconstitutional rule-making process in the executive branch. Through executive orders, and agency rules, the president’s agencies are able to create or change law on a whim.

Recent examples include a “redefinition” of the phrase “waters of the United States” by the Environmental Protection Agency. A proposed new rule would suddenly make virtually all in state waters part of the EPAs sphere of control. The ATF also recently proposed reclassifying the popular M855 AR-15 round as “armor piercing” – and creating a backdoor ban.

“The executive branch is beyond out of control,” said Maharrey. “It’s gotten to the point that unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats are actively taking our liberty, and these bills in Arizona will help stop them.”

Two other states are considering proposals similar to Arizona’s Prop 122, passed last fall. Should North Dakota and Oklahoma voters approve them, it will likely build on the momentum already happening in Arizona.

Both HB2368 and HB2058 push back and will take major steps towards blocking federal proposals like these, and others. Whether from the pen of the President or the proposed rules of a federal agency, passage would ensure that no Arizona resources would go towards implementation, rendering them “nearly impossible to enforce.”

Both bills now move to the Senate Rules Committee, where they will need to pass by a majority vote before the full Senate can consider them.  Supporters are encouraged to personally call each committee member urging a YES vote on HB2058 and HB2368.

Michael Boldin

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



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