FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 13, 2016) – During the 2017 session, the Kentucky legislature will consider a resolution declaring state sovereignty over powers not delegated to the federal government and demanding that the federal government cease enforcing mandates beyond its constitutionally delegated powers.

Rep. Kevin Bratcher (R-Louisville) prefiled the resolution (BR84) in July. It builds on the Tenth Amendment, declaring the Tenth “defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more.” The resolution then affirms that the federal government exists as an agent of the state. After asserting that the federal government violates its authority by treating the states as its own agents, the resolution affirms the state’s sovereignty and demands the federal government stop acting outside of its delegated powers.

“This  Resolution  serves  as  notice  and  demand  to  the  federal government,  as  our  agent,  to  cease  and  desist,  effective  immediately,  mandates  that  are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers. It  is  the  position  of  the  Commonwealth  of  Kentucky  that  all compulsory  federal  legislation  that  directs  states  to  comply  under  threat  of  civil  or criminal  penalties  or  sanctions,  or  required states  to  pass  legislation  or  lose  federal funding, be prohibited or repealed.”

The resolution also specifically references the anti-commandeering doctrine, a longstanding legal principle establishing that the federal government cannot force or coerce states into implementing or enforcing federal acts or programs.

“The United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states.”
While resolutions are not legally binding, they often serve as a critical first-step toward taking more concrete action to address federal overreach. By establishing the principles and putting legislators on record as support of them, resolutions make legally binding legislative action to stop specific federal policies. They also serve an important educational role, reminding lawmakers of their intended place in America’s political process.
Passage of this resolution by the Kentucky legislature could pave the way for more direct action to refuse state cooperation with enforcement of federal gun control or EPA regulation, two actions a majority of Kentucky voters would support.
BR84 will be assigned an actual bill number and committee assignment prior to the 2017 legislative session getting underway in January.
Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

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