FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 20, 2016) – A bill prefiled for the 2017 legislative session would direct the state to refuse to enforce any foreign law that conflicts with U.S. or Kentucky constitutions, nullifying such laws in effect in the commonwealth.

Rep. Kim King (R-Harrodsburg) prefiled BR149 on Sept. 14. The legislation would specifically direct state courts, arbitrators, administrative agencies, or other adjudicative bodies or authorities in the state to refuse to enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.

The legislation also includes provisions directing courts in interpreting contracts with provisions providing for interpretations under foreign law.

If any contractual provision or agreement provides for the choice of a foreign law to govern its interpretation or the resolution of any claim or dispute between the parties,  and  if  the  enforcement  or  interpretation  of the  contractual  provision  or agreement would result in a violation of a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States, the contractual provision or agreement shall be interpreted  or  construed to  the  extent  necessary  to  preserve  the  constitutional rights of the person against whom enforcement is sought.

Any contractual provision that cannot be interpreted in a way to preserve the constitutional rights of the parties pursuant to the new law would be considered null and void.

BR149 utilizes James Madison’s strategy to deal with unwarranted acts – a refusal to cooperate, but simply applies it to to foreign law as opposed to unconstitutional federal acts. So while the target of the action is different than most of the legislation the Tenth Amendment Center tracks, it utilizes the exact same nullification strategy.

From a broader perspective, BR149 established a proper understanding of sovereignty, establishing the priority of state and federal law above foreign law.

The legislation will be given an actual bill number and assigned to a committee once the legislative session begins in January.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

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