This week, Tennesse Governor Phil Bredesen signed House Joint Resolution 108 (HJR0108), authored by State Rep. Susan Lynn. The resolution “Urges Congress to recognize Tennessee’s sovereignty under the tenth amendment to the Constitution.”
The House passed the resolution on 05/26 by a vote of 85-2 and the Senate passed it on 06/12 by a vote of 31-0.
Six other states have had both houses of their legislature pass similar resolutions - Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Louisiana - but Tennessee is the first to have such a resolution signed by the Governor.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Passage of this resolution appears to be part of what is now a growing state-level resistance to the federal government on various levels. Similar 10th Amendment resolutions have been introduced in 36 states around the country, and various states are considering single-issue legislation in direct contravention to federal laws.
Most recently, the Arizona Legislature passed a measure for public approval on the 2010 state ballot that would give Arizona voters the opportunity to nullify, or opt out, of any potential national health care legislation.
Since 2007, more than two dozen states have passed legislation refusing to implement the Real ID act of 2005. In response, the federal government has recently announced that they want to “repeal and replace” the law due to a rebellion by states.
Pending legislation in states around the country also includes preventing state law enforcement officials from enforcing federal laws, refusing federal gun regulations, refusing to send a state’s national guard to any duty other than what the constitution authorizes, legalizing marijuana for various purposes and more.
A FIRST STEP
While HJR0108 is strongly-word in support of the principles of limited, constitutional government that the 10th Amendment represents, it is a Joint Resolution and does not carry with it the force of law. But supporters say that this is an important first step to get their message out not only to grassroots supporters, but to the media, and legislators in other states as well.
In additional to calling on the federal government to abide by the constitution, it also states that “a committee of conference and correspondence be appointed by the Speaker of the House and of the Senate, which shall have as its charge to communicate the preceding resolution to the legislatures of the several states, to assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship and to call for a joint working group between the states to enumerate the abuses of authority by the federal government and to seek repeal of the assumption of powers and the imposed mandates.”
Read the final version of the resolution below:
WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”; and
WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and
WHEREAS, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and
WHEREAS, today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED SIXTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE
CONCURRING, that we hereby affirm Tennessee’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a committee of conference and correspondence be appointed by the Speaker of the House and of the Senate, which shall have as its charge to communicate the preceding resolution to the legislatures of the several states, to assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship and to call for a joint working group between the states to enumerate the abuses of authority by the federal government and to seek repeal of the assumption of powers and the imposed mandates.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker and the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation.