JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Feb. 19, 2016) – A Missouri bill setting the stage for the state to review and reject any federal acts passed out of an important Senate committee Wednesday.

Sen. Mike Parson prefiled Senate Bill 593 (SB593) on Dec. 1. The original draft of the legislation would have required the Missouri general assembly’s approval before any federal regulation “not authorized by federal law” was considered to be in effect within the state.

The Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee passed a committee substitute that improves the bill, removing the need to determine if a give federal regulation was “not authorized by federal law.”

The version moving forward would require state legislative action before implementing any new federal regulation or law. The committee substitute reads:

“Upon the Governor or any state agency receiving notification that a federal law or regulation requires implementation of any kind by the state of Missouri, the Governor shall notify both houses of the General Assembly of the required action. If the required action is a statutory amendment, then the federal law or regulation shall not be effective within the state unless such time as the statutory change is enacted. If the required action is some type of administrative action, then the administrative action shall not be effective until the General Assembly adopts a concurrent resolution authorizing such action.”

If SB593 passes into law, the default position would be to not to take any state action to implement or enforce federal laws, rules or regulations. It would require an act of the legislature before the state cooperated with any federal measure. The state would not attempt to block federal laws or regulations, but it would simply refuse to take any action to implement or enforce it at the state level until the legislature gives approval. This would set the stage to nullify such federal actions in effect.


Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” provides an extremely effectively method to render federal laws, rules and regulations ineffective because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from the states. This legislation could effectively end enforcement of EPA rules, executive orders on firearms and other types of agency-issued federal mandates, as well as congressionally passed laws of any kind that require state assistance to implement of enforce.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a televised discussion on federal gun laws, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.

The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations and acts. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states can nullify in effect many federal actions. As noted by the National Governor’s Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”


SB593 rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”


SB593 is now available for the full Senate to consider it.

Missouri residents can take action to support this bill HERE.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

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