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Previously:

HB 1163: Hey, the Feds won’t be able to regulate our stoopid if we keep it to ourselves! (December 14, 2013)

This could explain why they keep voting for the same tenther bills every session (December 14, 2013)

HB 1164: What, there’s nothing in there about fluoridation? (December 15, 2013)

Representative Chrissy Sommer (r) has created something of a cottage industry in Missouri prefiling tenther bills for the regular session. This one, on December 11, 2013:

SECOND REGULAR SESSION

HOUSE BILL NO. 1161

97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES SOMMER (Sponsor) AND ENGLISH (Co-sponsor).

4272H.01I             D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk

AN ACT

To amend chapter 21, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to the joint committee on the tenth amendment.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

           Section A. Chapter 21, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 21.960, to read as follows:

           21.960. 1. There is hereby established the “Joint Committee on the Tenth Amendment”, which shall:

           (1) Identify proposed federal legislation that infringes on Missouri’s state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution;

           (2) Advise and make recommendations to the general assembly regarding any state legislation necessary to preserve the integrity and principles of the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; and

           (3) Refer cases to the attorney general when the federal government takes steps that require the state or a state officer to enact or enforce a provision of federal law that lies outside Congress’s enumerated powers and intrudes on the sovereignty reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The attorney general is authorized to seek appropriate relief to preserve the state’s sovereignty.

           2. The joint committee shall be comprised of six members of the senate and six members of the house of representatives. The senate members shall be appointed by the president pro temore of the senate and the house members shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives. The appointment of members shall continue during their term in office as members of the general assembly or until a successor has been duly appointed to fill their place when their term of office as members of the general assembly has expired.

           3. The joint committee shall hold an annual meeting at which it shall elect from its membership a chairperson and vice chairperson. The joint committee may hold such additional meetings as may be required in the performance of its duties.

           4. The general assembly shall provide administrative support and staff as necessary for the effective operation of the joint committee from existing resources. Any expenditure of the joint committee shall be subject to appropriation.

[emphasis in original]

“…Identify proposed federal legislation that infringes on Missouri’s state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution…”

For right wingnuts that’s all federal legislation, isn’t it? Just asking.

“…Refer cases to the attorney general when the federal government takes steps that require the state or a state officer to enact or enforce a provision of federal law that lies outside Congress’s enumerated powers and intrudes on the sovereignty reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The attorney general is authorized to seek appropriate relief to preserve the state’s sovereignty…”

Uh, like the Missouri Attorney General needs a joint legislative committee to decide what cases to pursue? If that’s the intent, let’s just get rid of that statewide office.

Uh, and while we’re at it, doesn’t the U.S. Supreme Court decide what’s constitutional and what isn’t? Just asking.

We started noticing this type of tenther drivel in various guises around ten years ago. There has been a lot of ink and electrons expended on the subject since.

Dangerous ‘State Sovereignty’ Myth

March 6, 2013

By Robert Parry

…Nowhere in the document [United States Constitution] is there wording about states being “independent sovereigns.” And, the words aren’t there because the Framers – the likes of George Washington and James Madison – willfully removed them, with prejudice as a court might say.

General Washington despised the concept of state sovereignty viscerally because of his experience as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, which often suffered when states reneged on promised support. Madison saw the Articles of Confederation threatening the nation’s hard-won independence and holding back the nation’s economic growth.

As the chief architect of the Constitution, Madison gave the federal government sweeping authority over a wide variety of national matters, including commerce. He wanted to give Congress direct power over state laws but settled for federal courts having the authority to review and strike down state statutes. [….]

Yes, I know today’s Neo-Confederates make much of the Tenth Amendment, which asserts that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

But the Right’s historical revisionists miss the key point here. The Constitution already had granted broad powers to the federal government so the states were left largely with powers over local matters – and even those actions could be struck down if they were found to violate federal law.

To further appreciate how modest the Tenth Amendment is, you must compare its wording with Article II of the Articles of Confederation, which is what it replaced. Article II stated that “each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated.” In other words, the power relationship between the states and the federal government had been flipped.

Still, today’s Neo-Confederates make mischief with the inconsequential Tenth Amendment, transforming it into some grand governing principle when it was just a rhetorical sop to the Anti-Federalists, who fiercely opposed the Constitution because they recognized what it was, a major shift of power from the states to the federal government….

Using wedge issues to pursue a hundred fifty year old grudge – welcome to America in the 21st century.