Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Randy Brogdon
NEW YORK – Oklahoma’s House of Representatives is the first legislative body to pass a state sovereignty resolution this year under the terms of the Tenth Amendment.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 1003 Feb. 18 by a wide margin, 83 to 13, resolving, “That the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.”
The language of HJR 1003 further serves notice to the federal government “to cease and desist, effectively immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.”
The sponsor of the resolution, state Rep. Charles Key, told WND the measure was a ‘big step toward addressing the biggest problem we have in this country – the federal government violating the supreme law of the land.”
“The Constitution either means what it says, or it doesn’t mean anything at all,” Key said. “The federal government must honor and obey the Constitution, just like the states and this citizens of this country are obligated to do, or our system of government begins to fall apart.”
The Ninth Amendment reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The Tenth Amendment specifically provides, “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.”
As WND reported, eight states have introduced resolutions declaring state sovereignty under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution: Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.
Analysts expect 12 additional states may see similar measures introduced this year, including Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, Maine and Pennsylvania.
Key argued that whenever “we allow the federal government, or any other government entity, to violate the Constitution, we destroy the Constitution one piece at a time.”
“We have gone so far down that path that the Constitution is hanging by a thread right now,” he said.
Last year, the same resolution introduced by Key passed the Oklahoma House, but the floor leader in the Senate, Democrat Sen. Charles Lassiter, used his authority to block consideration of the measure on the Senate floor.
But state Sen. Randy Brogdon has sponsored comparable legislation, and he told WND the “chances are excellent” it “will be passed in the Senate this session.”
Brogdon said his bill, SJR 10, has made it out of committee and will be heard on the Senate floor in the next couple of weeks. The lawmaker said he will double-track HJR 1003 to increase the chances one of the sovereignty resolutions gets to the Senate floor.
“We going to work Rep. Charles Key’s bill through the committee,” Brogdon said, “and our goal in the Senate is to use HCR 1003 as the final bill.”
Brogdon told WND he feels confident Democrats in the Oklahoma Senate will not be able to block the sovereignty measure this year.
“Last year, the Democrats in the Senate were able to veto consideration of Rep. Key’s bill,” he said, “but this year the Republicans are in control of the Oklahoma House and the Oklahoma Senate, for the first time in Oklahoma’s history.”
Oklahoma was the only state in the 2008 election in which every county voted for the Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain.
“The Democratic leadership in the state legislature has been outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party for decades in Oklahoma,” Brogdon said. “We finally turned the corner in 2008, with Republican majorities in both House and Senate.
“We still have a Democratic governor in Oklahoma,” Brogdon said, “but we hope to
change that in 2010.”
Brogdon is widely being mentioned as a Republican candidate for governor in 2010.
Key crafted his resolution so it takes effect once the Oklahoma Senate passes the measure, even without the governor’s signature.
Asked whether Oklahoma’s Democratic Gov. Brad Henry would sign a sovereignty resolution, Brogdon said he was confident the governor would do so.
“I believe the governor will have to sign the sovereignty resolution the state legislature passes,” he said. “How do you turn down states rights? If you are the governor, how are you going to stand before the people of Oklahoma and say, ‘I don’t want to support your state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment?’”
Henry’s office did not immediately respond to WND’s request for comment.
Brogdon was not equally sure Henry would instruct Oklahoma’s attorney general to enforce the sovereignty resolution, in what might be interpreted as an act of defiance against the Obama administration.
“Phase Two will be to get a Republican governor in the state capital that understands the Constitution and respects the rule of law,” Brogdon said.
“We need an attorney general in Oklahoma that will enforce this sovereignty resolution once it is passed.”
Brogdon explained that Oklahoma is on track to receive about $900 million from the $787 billion economic stimulus deficit-spending bill Obama signed into law last week.
“Governor Henry has his hand out for the Obama stimulus money,” Brogdon said. “But there are a lot of us in the Oklahoma legislature that do not want the federal stimulus money because we fear the strings that are certainly going to be attached to the $900 million. We might end up in subsequent years with a $900 million entitlement program hole in our budget for years to come, just because we took the Obama economic stimulus money this time around.”