March 19, 2010

Missouri needs to affirm its tenth amendment rights.

Message from Gary Nodler Missouri State Senator

When our forefathers created our great nation, they designed the country to function as a compact of states with the federal government being the creation of these states. They included the 10th Amendment when writing the Constitution, which says that, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated.” At the time, the federal government’s power included federal taxing, federal police, and federal regulations. Over the years, however, the power of the federal government has expanded to the point where many fear that the federal government may be overreaching its bounds and violating the sovereignty of the states.

In recent years, and particularly with the current administration, the federal government has expanded significantly, especially in its costs. Throughout the country, states are becoming increasingly interested in the issue of state sovereignty and federal infringement. It is a concern of mine as well, which is why I proposed Senate Bill 587.

This legislation, which was discussed on the Senate floor this week, would give the voters of the state of Missouri the opportunity to create a commission that would review the actions of the federal government to see if the state’s sovereignty has been violated. The governor, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and Speaker of the House would each appoint two members of the commission and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would appoint one member of the commission. If the commission finds that the federal government violated the 10th Amendment, the findings would be sent to the attorney general to allow him to pursue the state’s rights in federal court.

While several resolutions have been proposed this year to express the state’s disapproval of federal actions, SB 587 is more than that because it helps the state to take action. The state has always had the power to challenge the federal government in federal court, but SB 587 would allow our state to truly have an organized system to identify when our state’s sovereignty is being threatened.

One of the strengths of SB 587 is that it puts the issue to the people of the state. If the General Assembly approves the bill, the voters would have the opportunity to decide that this commission is necessary, making it truly a reflection of the people of Missouri’s desire to reestablish out state’s constitutional rights. When our forefathers wrote the constitution, they did so with very specific principles in mind, and SB 587 makes sure those ideals are respected and recognized.

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