Tenth Amendment - While Congress wrangles over repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, lawmakers in nine states have taken steps to bypass Washington D.C. completely and take matters into their own hands.
The latest? North Dakota. Introduced by State Senators Sitte, Berry, and Dever is Senate Bill 2309 (SB2309), the National Health Care Nullification Act. (h/t Chris Stevens)
It states, in part:
The legislative assembly declares that the federal laws known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [Pub . L. 111 - 148] and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 [Pub . L. 111 - 152] are not authorized by the United States Constitution and violate its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers and are declared to be invalid in this state, may not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and are considered to be null in this state.
The bill also establishes penalties, including fines and jail time, for any agent seeking to enforce the federal health care bill within the state’s borders:
Any official, agent, or employee of the United States government or any employee of a corporation providing services to the United States government who enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this Act is guilty of a class C felony.
State legislators in Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming have already introduced similar bills. Another is expected for introduction in Idaho any day now as well.
In 2007, 2 years after the Bush administration and the republican congress gave us the unconstitutional Real ID act, states like Maine and New Hampshire began the process of passing resolutions and laws rejecting the federal law. Now, nearly 25 states have gotten on board with the nullification efforts led by democrats and the ACLU – and the result? The law is virtually null and void in most of the country.
Today, less than a year after the Affordable care act – already 7 states have passed Health Care Freedom Acts, rejecting the mandates in the federal law. Those states are focusing primarily on a strategy of trying to win in federal court to affirm their state laws.
But introduction of the nullification act in nine states already (sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center tell us to expect a number of other states do the same this year) – indicate that there’s a growing segment of the population that is looking to exercise their rights in their states whether Congress or the federal courts want to give them permission to or not.
Will these bills go anywhere? Only time will tell. But, whether they do or not, there is much to be learned from the left-wing nullification efforts of the last few years and beyond. Whether it’s 25 states saying no to Real ID, or 15 states rejecting federal laws on marijuana – there’s a blueprint. When enough people say no to federal laws, and enough states back them up by passing laws to do the same – there’s not much that Washington D.C. can do about it.