Arizona voters show the way in dealing with federal overreach

Arizona voters show the way in dealing with federal overreach

by
Wayne Hoffman
November 5, 2014
Wayne Hoffman
Author Image
November 5, 2014

A constitutional amendment that won the support of Arizona voters mirrors something attempted in Idaho just a few years ago. Proposition 122 passed with a slim majority Tuesday night. It says state officials have the authority to “restrict the actions of its personnel and the use of its financial resources to purposes that are consistent with the Constitution.”

In other words, a federal action that violates the U.S. Constitution need not be implemented by state or local government officials.

“The amendment allows the people of Arizona to deal with unpopular federal programs like Obamacare, gun control, surveillance and more,” the Tenth Amendment Center said. Simply put, the amendment enshrines a process to refuse state cooperation with unconstitutional federal acts in the state constitution. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said, refusing participation on a state level can make federal laws “nearly impossible to enforce.”

Folks in Arizona were particularly upset that they were unable to get information about problems in that state’s Child Protective Services Office. CPS officials said they couldn’t disclose because of federal restrictions on transparency.

In Idaho, the House of Representatives approved a bill in 2011 that forbade state officials from implementing Obamacare. The Senate, however, refused to advance the measure. As an alternative, the Legislature passed a bill that said the state would not implement those optional components of Obamacare. Gov. Butch Otter vetoed that bill because it would have prevented state officials from continuing work on an insurance exchange.

Maybe Arizona’s effort, now blessed by voters in that state, will inspire other legislatures, including our own, to fight harder to resist the federal government’s unconstitutional and untenable actions.

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