Texas legislators take aim at federal government
BY ANNA M. TINSLEY star-telegram.com
Gov. Rick Perry apparently isn’t the only one fed up with Washington.
More than a half-dozen state lawmakers have filed measures to try to limit the federal government’s ability to dictate what happens in Texas.
These bills “represent the growing sentiment that the federal government has continued to overreach in its power and spending,” said Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, who has filed several resolutions. “Each one sends an individual message that our nation is a union of individual and sovereign states that expect sound fiscal policy.”
Some proposals declare Texas’ sovereignty over all powers not specifically granted to the federal government; others call on Congress to pass a balanced budget. Still more call for a nationwide constitutional convention to adopt a “repeal amendment,” which could allow for federal measures to be overturned if enough states join together.
Some political observers aren’t surprised that state lawmakers are taking target practice at Washington. But they say lawmakers have work of their own that needs to be addressed in the legislative session that starts in January.
“Most of this is symbolic,” said Jim Riddlesberger, a political science professor at Texas Christian University. “It’s a reaction based upon the election. … It’s clear most voters were dissatisfied this year and the primary target of that dissatisfaction was Washington.
“Once the legislative session kicks in, the real focus is going to be on, how do you [balance] the state budget? They need to mind their own soil … and let congressional members try to address what they can.” Here’s a look at some of the measures proposed:
* Repeal amendment: This proposal asks Congress to pass a constitutional amendment allowing specific portions of federal laws to be repealed if two-thirds of the states approve bills doing so. This wouldn’t stop Congress from again passing a law that was repealed by the states.
“For too long, the federal government has passed laws that it relies on the states to execute and fund, even though it is clear that most of the states have no desire, nor the resources, to assume the mandated responsibility,” said Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Keller.
* Sovereignty: This measure “claims sovereignty” for Texas under the 10th Amendment, which says powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution belong to the states.
“I strongly support our state’s rights, which are guaranteed by the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” said Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, who filed the measure with Sen. Glenn Hegar Jr., R-Katy. “The federal government has placed too many restrictions and unfunded mandates onto states, especially recently.”
* Constitutional convention: Creighton filed a proposal that calls on Congress to call a constitutional convention so the repeal amendment may be adopted. He also filed a measure claiming sovereignty under the 10th Amendment for Texas.
“My goal is to restore the proper balance of power between the federal and state governments and to promote true dual sovereignty and a strong nation, resulting in a solid union of individual states,” Creighton said. * Federal budget: A third proposal by Creighton asks Congress to adopt a constitutional amendment that requires the federal government to pass a balanced budget.
“A healthy government can only remain healthy when the people have more power and control over their lives and money,” Creighton said….