God blessed Texas in many ways; wide open spaces, beautiful landscapes, a rich history and most of all a people with an independent streak that runs deep. That independent streak has shown itself recently in a bill that was prefiled to be introduced in the 2011 Texas state legislative session. It sets up penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years in jail for anyone guilty of the “felony” of attempting to “enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation” pertaining to Obamacare. It is sponsored by state Representative Leo Berman (R-Tyler) and if it becomes state law, then it will for all practical purposes render Obamacare “null and void and of no effect”.
The bill says the federal Act (Obamacare):
- is invalid in this state;
- is not recognized by this state;
- is specifically rejected by this state; and
- is null and void and of no effect in this state.
It further states that any “person who is an official, agent, or employee of the United States or an employee of a corporation providing services to the United States commits an offense if the person enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the United States in violation of this chapter.” And it lays out how Obamacare is opposite to individual liberty and the freedoms put forth in our founding documents by saying that the “assumption of power by the federal government in enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590; Pub. L. No. 111-148) as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872; Pub. L. No. 111-152) interferes with the right of the people of this state to regulate health care as they determine is appropriate, and makes a mockery of James Madison’s assurance in Federalist Paper Number 45 that the powers delegated to the federal government are ‘few and defined’ while those that remain in the state governments are ‘numerous and indefinite.’”
Michael Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center says that there is already nationwide dissatisfaction with the onerous mandates of Obamacare.
“The passage of the health care act opened the eyes of many previously apathetic citizens, making them aware of the rapidly expanding scope and influence of the federal government and its intrusiveness into their everyday lives,” he explained.
“They intuitively understand that requiring them to purchase health insurance falls far beyond the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution. Suddenly awake and alarmed by the fact that the federal government has grown so far out of control, and frustrated by what they see as the lack of responsiveness by politicians in D.C., many Americans find themselves looking for answers,” he said.
Maharrey went on to note that 14 states have already sued to block the implementation of Obamacare, along with more than a dozen private lawsuits by others as well. But Texas is taking this “a step further.”
“While some might call this legislation radical, it rests squarely within the scope of state power as understood by the framers of the Constitution. James Madison wrote in the Virginia Resolution of 1798 that states not only have a right, but a duty to step in when the federal government oversteps its authority,” Maharrey wrote.
He quoted Madison’s work (emphasis mine):
That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
Michael Boldin, who founded the Tenth Amendment Center says that this isn’t anything new.
“One state, as Wyoming did with its Firearms Freedom Act, may decide that penalties on federal agents is the rightful response. Another, such as California with medical marijuana, may choose to create an environment conducive to non-compliance by masses of people. Either way – or somewhere in between – that’s the beauty of the American system. We can have widely varying actions, responses and viewpoints in different states while all living together in peace. One-size-fits-all solutions are actually the problem, and state-by-state decision-making is the natural response.
The Center goes on to say in a report, that 10 other states are considering similar legislation.
Whether this makes it into law or not, it is a landmark proposal that ought to make the powers that be in Washington D. C. sit up and take notice.