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Since the Supreme Court rendered its opinion on the constitutionality of a mandatory federal health care system last summer, many Americans consider the matter settled. But others recognize that despite the pronouncement of five robed federal employees, the Constitution still does not delegate Congress the power to create and run a health care system for all 300-plus million Americans.
And while many Republicans hoped electoral change in November would put the kibosh on Obamacare, it didn’t. So others at the state level have been refusing to put their faith in D.C. politicians to fix a problem D.C. politicians created in the first place. With Republican House leadership indicating they lack the political will to defund the monstrosity, the ranks of those looking to block implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the state level continue to swell.
South Carolina became the latest state considering nullification of Obamacare with the announcement that Rep. William Chumley will sponsor a bill in the 2013 legislative session declaring the PPACA unconstitutional and void in the State. If passed, the bill would set the stage for blocking implementation of the mandatory federal health care system in South Carolina, using language similar to model legislation drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center.
“It shall be the duty of the legislature of this State to adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” within the limits of this State.”
The bill will be filed in Columbia before the end of the year and will be voted on in the lame-duck session. When asked in a recent interview as to why he was filing this bill, Rep Chumley said that it is “because of federal over-reach. We are following the Constitution. It is the right thing to do.”
If passed, the South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act would authorize the state of South Carolina to stop anyone from enforcing or implementing Obamacare within the boundaries of that state.
South Carolina joins three other states already committed to efforts nullifying Obamacare in the 2013 state legislative session. Rep. Allison Littell McHose introduced A861 in the New Jersey legislature in January, and it will carry over into the coming year.
“Americans were always misguided to trust the good intentions of the unelected Court – the Court being the fail-safe of the establishment,” McHose said after the SCOTUS ruling last June.
The Tenth Amendment Center has also confirmed both the Oklahoma and Maine legislatures will consider a similar bill for 2013. Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) plans to reintroduce a bill to nullify the federal health care legislation.
“I disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling and believe that state governments were intended to serve as a check on the federal government,” Ritze said. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is better known as ObamaCare, is an example of federal overreach, and my legislation will authorize the state to resist it and ban the enforcement of it.”
Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center indicate that up to twelve other states will likely consider similar legislation in the coming year.
Representative James White (R-Luftkin) has prefiled House Joint Resolution 48 (HJR 48) in the Texas State House of Representatives. The bill is designed to amend Article I of the Texas Constitution and would protect the rights of people there to decide for themselves whether or not to purchase health insurance. It states, in part:
“Each individual in this state has the right to choose or decline to choose to purchase health insurance coverage without penalty or sanction or threat of penalty or sanction.”
This bill essentially nullifies the requirement of individuals to purchase health insurance as described in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In Section 5000A of the PPACA, it states that individuals must have healthcare coverage, as well as their dependents in any given month. If coverage is lacking, a penalty will be imposed, unless certain income requirements aren’t met.
HJR48 would counter the insurance mandate by preventing any State employee or public official from helping effectuate the penalties for non-compliance:
“A state agency, public official, employee, or political subdivision of this state may not act to impose, collect, enforce, or effectuate a penalty or sanction intended to punish or discourage the exercise of the right described by Subsection (a) of this section.”
In other words, if the bill passes, Texas will refuse to comply with Section 5000A of Obamacare, and the Feds will have to find out how to do it on their own. According to research by Michael Cannon and others at the CATO Institute, economically-speaking, the federal government is reliant upon a certain level of state cooperation to ensure that the mandate stays afloat. The estimates from many experts are that if 20 states refuse to comply with setting up exchanges, it’s going to great serious problems to carry out the mandate. With a number of state Governors, including Rick Perry of Texas, taking the position that they will not assist the federal government by creating or participating the mandated exchange program, the mandate is already teetering.
HJR48 takes it a step further. Instead of just leaving such a decision to the whims of Governor Perry – or a future Governor – through a State Constitutional Amendment, it slams the door shut on any future participation in such a program by any Governor.
The resolution was introduced by Rep. White on Nov. 27, 2012. If it passes both houses, Texas voters will decide the fate of the amendment at the polls on Nov. 5, 2013.
In closing today, public outcry has halted the purchase of a spy drone. Raven Clabough reports in the New American Magazine that the Alameda County, California, sheriff’s office has been forced to suspend the purchase of a surveillance drone after constitutionalists and activists slammed the agency with concerns that the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle would violate privacy protections.
Sheriff Gregory Ahern had asked the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to approve a $31,646 grant to purchase a drone. The money was part of a $1.2-million grant handed out by the California Emergency Management Agency.
County supervisors were preparing to vote on the use of grant money for such a purchase, but the public outcry from civil rights attorneys and anti-drone advocates has now forced the sheriff’s office to postpone the decision.
Members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation helped orchestrate opposition to the plan.
According to those opposed to the drone, the sheriff’s office had misled the public into believing that they were much further from acquisition than they actually were.
Likewise, the law enforcement agency has reportedly downplayed concerns over privacy protections, asserting that the drone would be used to help in search and rescue missions. However, a July 20 internal sheriff’s department memo revealed otherwise. Mercury News writes that the memo “shows the department identified uses other than search and rescue, including barricaded suspects, investigative and tactical surveillance, intelligence gathering, suspicious persons and large crowd control disturbances.”
Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes, “We’re not against drones entirely,” but adds that the possibility exists for the unmanned aerial vehicles to be used in “mission creep.”
“We want to make sure the public gets a say,” asserts Timm.
Approximately a dozen U.S. law enforcement agencies have already used or are using drones, including the Seattle Police Department.
Domestic drone use is expected to expand dramatically in the near future. You can help push back and even stop it in your area. Get your state representatives to introduce and pass the new Privacy Protection Act and nullify unconstitutional drone use in your state. Visit tenthamendmentcenter.com/nullifydrones for legislation right now.