Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pushing back against over-reaching Feds - column by Representative Torrey Westrom

The federal government yet again violated states' rights, this time by passing a mandatory health insurance bill. I joined a group of 68 Minnesota legislators challenging the constitutionality of this new law via the 10th Amendment.

We started this effort last Monday by co-authoring an amendment on the House floor which would have required Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of her clients – the citizens of Minnesota. We requested she challenge the federal government’s constitutional authority to force individuals to buy health insurance and impose fines, imprisonment or both on non-participants. The majority party blocked that amendment – and avoided having to vote on the issue – by resorting to a very flimsy parliamentary procedure ruling.

So 68 of us have done the next-best thing by signing a letter sent to Swanson, requesting she protect and defend our state and its residents against unconstitutional encroachment by the federal government. Legislators and Swanson have taken the same solemn oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Minnesota.

What we ask Swanson to do is assert states’ rights granted by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which indicates powers not granted to the national government nor prohibited to the states by the Constitution of the United States are reserved to the states or the people.

Simply, the federal government has the power to regulate only matters delegated to it by the Constitution. All the other powers are left to the states or its people. The federal government does not have the power to force participation in health care plans on its citizens; therefore, the states or the people have the right to make those decisions.

Federal government “creep” continues with things like cap-and-trade legislation and proposals to regulate backyard gardening; Google HR875 or HR759 and you'll see several links referring to proposed garden regulations.

Now this new federal health care legislation makes non-participation a crime worthy of fines and, theoretically, jail time. Not to mention it has the potential to add $881 million to Minnesota’s next budget deficit. We should not be forced to comply with something that is pushing our country closer to the bankruptcy cliff or a new face of socialism.

A total of 13 states have already declared the intent to sue, with as many as 24 other states considering action against this unconstitutional encroachment by the federal government. Numerous Minnesotans and Americans are fed up with this and it’s time we join those fellow statehood members by calling out the feds for overstepping their bounds.

We cannot tolerate these repeated occasions of government forcing its weight onto the people of Minnesota.

All an overreaching federal government needs is for good people to do nothing. This movement to the feds running roughshod over the states will continue gaining momentum until we do something about it. At some point – like right now – we have to stand up against big-government intrusion.


bob d said...

this has as much chance of happening as keeping a snowball from melting in Hades. The republican party has to get in the real world.

Hoffman Tribune said...

Bob D, I agree.

bob d said...

You people better check out this representative of yours. Either he's isn't in reality or he thinks you're not. The Congress doesn't sit and debate something for over a year that they think will be overturned by the supreme court. & why would the republican's even vote on something that , "they "knew would/could be overturned. They ( along with your represenative ) are pulling your chain. your representative is wasting time and money. fiscal conservative he is not.

Hoffman Tribune said...

Bob D, can you say "Grandstanding"!!!???