Sen. Stuart Adams’ (R- Layton) concurrent resolution on Utah States’ Rights passed the Senate with 23 senators supporting the message while 3 opposed the message. Opposition was voiced against the resolution due to a concern over the federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars used to help fund Utah’s budget. It was also noted Utah needs the civil rights protection provided by the federal government.
As with most states’ rights issues this year there is a glaring difference between people who feel it is time the federal government be returned to its enumerated duties under the U.S. Constitution while states return to their duties for protecting fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property and those who feel states’ citizens are not capable of performing governing duties without federal controls. In addition, the major voices opposed to U.S. Constitution delineation of responsibility voice fears standing up to federal authority ‘could’ or ‘may’ cause us to lose federal dollars. Also there is the standard assertion states’ rights initiatives ‘might’ violate the Supremacy and Commerce Clause of the Constitution with a risk of actually having to settle those concerns in court battles we simply cannot afford.
Still others who support these measures feel Utah citizens need to restore government to the lowest levels possible and see undo expenses and unfair controls over Utah citizens at the expense of the very programs opponents fear ‘may’ be adversely impacted by operating as a Federal Republic. “The states created the federal government,” said Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, “and it’s really time that we put a leash on the creature.”
The resolution is non-binding so some of the opponents to states’ rights legislation did not have a problem voting for it as a ‘feel good’ legislative move. SJR-6, sponsored by Sen. Howard Stephenson (R-Salt Lake), is a more detailed resolution that people can read for further understanding of why these types of resolutions are necessary in a time of ever expanding federal government mandates. Mandates drain resources and cost states money, a point opponents either do not want people to understand or don’t understand themselves. The federal dollars Utah receives is not some benevolent federal gift. All government funding comes from citizens. It is money taken from citizens, filtered through federal bureaucracy, and distributed as a few in Washington D.C. feel best. It is money that is ‘given’ to the states with demands.
The root question we must ask ourselves is not what it ‘could’ or ‘may’ cause if states dare stand up to state duties while demanding the federal government do the same. It is not a question of fear over potential loss. It is a question of what should be the legal order of government. Are we to be a Federal Republic with sovereign states required to govern at the lowest level or are we to accept being a representative democracy with national controls at the highest level? One has a history, although too brief, of success for posterity while the other has a long history of failure with the ultimate price being the freedom of the people in the end. This is not a ‘could’ or ‘may’ stance, what is the ultimate means of governing the United States and the State of Utah?
Gary Wood is the Educational Advisor for the Utah Tenth Amendment Center. Co-founder of the Heritage Training Center, focused on helping end constitutional illiteracy. With 35 years of devoted study of our Constitution his desire is to help others rediscover the inspiring heritage of the United States. Radio show host, training officer, lifetime member of the VFW and most importantly Grandpa.
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