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08 April 2010

Joe Smith: House Takes Measure to Protect 10th Amendment Rights of Missouri Citizens

This week, the House of Representative passed House Joint Resolution 88, sponsored by Representative Brian Nieves.

This proposed constitutional amendment, which requires voter approval, reinforces Missouri citizen’s constitutional sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We firmly believe that the federal government should be limited only to powers granted in the Constitution – without exemption. Although at this point HJR88 is non-binding, it serves as a warning to the federal government that we do not approve of any unconstitutional mandates and federal laws forced on Missouri.

The main provisions in HJR 88 are as follows:
  • If any action by the three branches of government, executive, legislative or judicial exceeds the limited powers outlined in the United States Constitution, that action will be prohibited and not recognized by Missouri. This includes federal law, executive orders, judicial or administrative rulings, collection or dispersal of revenue and so forth.
  • It prohibits the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of Missouri's government from recognizing, enforcing, or acting on federal restrictions on the right of private citizens to bear arms; federal laws legalizing or funding abortions or the destruction of human embryos; certain specified federal actions involving health care including a federal public option (which is outlined in our Health Care Freedom Act); federal actions requiring the sale or trade of carbon credits or the taxing on the release of carbon emissions (Cap and Trade); federal actions mandating the recognition of same sex marriages; federal actions increasing the penalty for a crime based on a perpetrator's thoughts or designating hate crimes; federal actions regarding the Establishment Clause based on a "wall of separation" between church and state; and federal actions restricting the right of parents or guardians to home school or enroll their children in a private or parochial school or placing restrictions on the school's curriculum.
  • The resolution also requires Missouri courts to interpret the United States Constitution based on its language and the intent of its signers at the time of its passage, rather than leaving interpretation up to sponsors and co-sponsors of bills.
  • Finally, HJR 88 allows Missouri solid ground to bring suit to enforce the provisions of the resolution.

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