HOUSE MEMBER SAYS RESOLUTION ON 10TH AMENDMENT ISN’T ABOUT PARTISANSHIP
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT
Published: January 4, 2009
An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to put the federal government on notice to stop doing things that he says are abusing its authority over the states.
With a Republican-controlled Legislature set to convene next month for the first time in state history, chances are good the measure will pass, said Rep. Charles Key. A similar resolution failed to advance last year.
Key, R-Oklahoma City, said he thinks many federal laws violate the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states the powers not delegated to the federal government “are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The Constitution lists about 20 duties required of the federal government.
“We, the people in the states, created the federal government,” Key said. “They act like they created us and we’re under their authority, and that’s really not the case.”
Key’s resolution states the federal government should “cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.” A resolution is a formal expression of opinion, will or intention voted by legislators.
“It’s to help try to get us back to following the Constitution and try to preserve our constitutional form of government,” Key said. “The federal government continues to violate it more and more. It’s gotten so bad that they pretty much do whatever they want and get away with just about anything they want to get away with.”
The resolution, House Joint Resolution 1003, is similar to a resolution Key filed last year.
It sailed through the Republican-controlled state House, passing 92-3, but was not taken up in the evenly split Senate. Republicans picked up two Senate seats in November’s election to have a 26-22 majority.
Will is pass this time?
Key said there’s a “much better” chance that the resolution will pass the Senate this year, but he said he and others “will have to work hard to get it heard over there.”
Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, is optimistic fellow senators will pass the measure. Brogdon sponsored Key’s resolution last year and plans to sponsor this year’s measure.
“There’s a solid chance of it passing in the Senate this year,” Brogdon said. “If there’s any group of individuals that should support the 10th Amendment — states’ rights — it should be the state legislators,” Brogdon said. “We have more power and are more powerful than Congress. We just do not exercise our powers. … It’s time we put Congress in its place.”
If the resolution passes, the secretary of state’s office is required to send copies of it to the president, U.S. Senate and House leaders, members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation and legislative leaders in other states.
It cannot repeal any existing federal programs, but Key said the resolution could be the first step in their eventual repeal. Future steps could be suing in with the goal of getting the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the federal government’s constitutional authority, he said.
Key criticized two specific federal programs: No Child Left Behind and the Real ID Act. The No Child Left Behind initiative, a 2002 program requires, states to measure performance and offer alternatives in cases where schools are failing. Key opposed the Real ID Act because he said it would enroll Oklahomans in a national or global biometric identification system.
Legislators in 2007 opted Oklahoma out of the Real ID Act.
“There’s the issue of whether or not they have the right within the Constitution to tell us, for example, how to run our schools in Oklahoma,” Key said, “and do things, such as the Real ID Act, that might violate people’s privacy or put at risk their personal information.”
Key said his effort is not a partisan political issue and should not be interpreted as a slap against Democratic President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress.
Both the No Child Left Behind legislation and the Real ID Act passed under a Republican administration, and he filed his first resolution last year.
Digg it for Key!
Facebook group-Support Rep. Key http://tinyurl.com/CharlesKey
see Charles Key’s speech from The Citizens Assembly for Oklahoma Sovereignty 01/03/09