This past legislative session Rep. Ken Ivory (R – LD47) sponsored legislation based on his ground-breaking effort to teach people to ask, and answer, an all important question; Where’s the Line? This initial legislation places Utah in a powerful position which will make it required, by law, for the State to review federal legislation to insure legislation fits within the constitutional boundaries required. The legislation title is, Federal Law Evaluation and Response (HB-76).
The ceremonial signing will be held Tuesday, May 10 at 3:30 MST in Utah State Capitol Rotunda. Officially signed March 23rd, the ceremonial signing will be a chance for all Utah citizens to witness this important event. The new law will serve as a model for other states to build from as the efforts for restoring the United States’ constitutional line continue to move forward across the country.
This law outlines the mechanics for evaluating all federal legislation and any mandates associated with the legislation. The Constitutional Defense Council will now be required to evaluate and respond to any legislation. Initial evaluation will be done by the newly created Federalism Subcommittee of the Constitutional Defense Council. The Federalism Subcommittee will be chaired by either the Governor or Lt. Governor as well as other elected legislators and members outlined in the bill. This puts the people’s elected officials directly responsible for upholding our U.S. Constitution as their Oath of Office also requires.
Federalism is the unique addition to political science created through the Constitution. It is the standard by which a large, complex compound republic is able to prosper while maintaining liberty and security in a free society. Many are familiar with the concepts of ‘separation of power’ and the idea of ‘checks and balances’ yet many today are not as familiar with federalism. One thing many are hearing more about today is 10th Amendment activism in response to an ever growing federal government. The 10th Amendment is the keystone for securing federalism and is the final amendment in the Bill of Rights.
In his book, Where’s the Line?, Ken Ivory writes, “…the specific reason for establishing a “compound republic” was to divide constitutional powers between the States and federal government so that the States would check and control any unauthorized action by the federal government. “ (p. 6) Alexander Hamilton summed it up during his speech before the New York Ratifying Convention in 1788.
The balance between the National and State governmentsought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from over passing their constitutional limits by certain rivalship, which will ever subsist between them. (emphasis added)
Both federal and State governments agreed, through ratification, on their roles in maintaining a civil society. The constitutional line has been blurred to a point of near elimination over the past century and a half. Utah is taking the responsibility of federalism serious as the efforts increase to reestablish the line which will help restore the rights of the people and the responsibility for everyone in securing the blessings of liberty.
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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