TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 21, 2015) – A proposed resolution introduced in the Florida legislature for the 2016 legislative session rejects federal involvement in the state’s educational system and would create a foundation for the general assembly to take further action in the future.

Rep. Debbie Mayfield (R-Vero Beach) prefiled House Memorial 983 (HM983) on Dec. 15. While passage of a memorial has no legal effect in Florida, the resolution articulates important principles and sets the stage for further action in the future.

HM983 rests on the Tenth Amendment and declares that the federal government lacks any authority to regulate or fund education.

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment unequivocally sets forth that we, the people of the United States of America and each sovereign state in the Union of States, now have, and have always had, powers that the Federal Government may not usurp, and

WHEREAS, a federal role in education is a violation of the original intent of the Constitution of the United States and the Tenth Amendment, and

WHEREAS, nowhere in the Constitution of the United States is the Federal Government delegated the power to regulate or fund elementary or secondary education, and

WHEREAS, because education is not an enumerated power delegated to the Federal Government by the United States Constitution, it is reserved to the states respectively or to the people.

After laying out the constitutional case, the memorial declares the Florida state legislature has a duty to “resist” federal interference in its educational system.

“This memorial serves as notice to the Congress of the United States that it is the duty of the Florida Legislature to exercise its constitutional authority to resist and overturn any interference by the Unites States Department of Education or the United States Congress relating to Florida’s academic standards and educational materials.”

Passing HM983 would bring the federal government’s unconstitutional involvement in education to the forefront. In the past, non-binding resolutions such as HM983 often served as a springboard for more aggressive state action down the road. For instance, in the early days of the nullification movement, Tenth Amendment Resolutions served as a prelude to actual nullification bills in the subsequent years.

If the House passes the resolution, it will put legislators on record as acknowledging a “duty” to resist federal overreach. Hopefully, that will lead to actual legislation to force the federal government out of the state’s education system.

HM983 will be referred to a committee once the regular session begins in January. It will need to pass out of committee with a majority vote before moving on to the full House for consideration.

Mike Maharrey

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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