CONCORD, N.H. (Dec. 12, 2023) – A bill filed in the New Hampshire House would end all state and local cooperation with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Rep. Michael Granger along with seven cosponsors filed House Bill 1156 (HB1156) for introduction on Jan. 3, 2024. Under the proposed law, the CDC and WHO would have “no jurisdiction” in New Hampshire.
HB1156 would further prohibit the state and its political subdivisions from engaging in the enforcement of, or collaborating with the enforcement of, “any requirements, mandates, recommendations, instructions, or guidance provided by either organization.”
The legislation specifically states that “any requirements, mandates, recommendations, instructions, or guidance by either organization shall not be used in this state to justify any mask, vaccine or medical testing requirements and shall have no force or effect in New Hampshire.”
The passage of HB1156 would effectively stop the enforcement of CDC or WHO mandates in New Hampshire by ending all state and local cooperation.
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 effective method to render federal laws, effectively unenforceable because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from the states.
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed this type of approach would be extremely effective. In a televised discussion on federal gun laws, he noted that a single state refusing to cooperate with enforcement 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.”
The provisions prohibiting the state from enforcing or implementing certain federal acts rest 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 – whether constitutional or not. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on five Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. U.S. 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.”
No determination of constitutionality is necessary to invoke the anti-commandeering doctrine. State and local governments can refuse to enforce federal laws or implement federal programs whether they are constitutional or not.
HB1156 will be officially introduced when the New Hampshire legislature convenes on Jan. 3. It will be referred to the House State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee where it must get a hearing and a vote. An “ought to pass” recommendation would greatly increase the bill’s chances of passing the full House.
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