The Edmond Sun

February 16, 2009

Standing up for states’ rights

Rep. Jason Murphey

The steps taken in the past few days by Congress to give the federal government nearly $800 billion worth of increased power reminds me of a column I wrote last November. In that article I wrote about the expected expansion of the federal government and how I felt the issue of state’s rights once again could be a significant issue in the Oklahoma Legislature this year.

It is important to note that in comparison to state governments, the federal government was created by our founders to be small and limited. This is because the people have a much stronger voice at the state level, whereas the ability of people to effect change is greatly limited at the federal level, and nearly non-existent on the global level of government.

Both political parties have used the expansion of the federal government as a tool to accomplish their various agendas. Now a group of aggressive liberals can use that power not only to move America to the left but to build upon itself and increase in size, making the federal government more expansive and powerful than ever before.

As a result, a bigger federal government likely will be most responsive to those only with enough money and influence to use that power to benefit themselves. This will leave the responsibility for paying for big government to the average taxpayer who cannot afford to invest in lobbyists and politicians in order to manipulate the system for their benefit.

This means that we can expect the federal government to reflect the desires of powerful special interests, liberal politicians and their support groups like ACORN — the possible recipient of $2 billion because of the stimulus bill.

This week the Oklahoma House of Representatives Rules Committee voted unanimously to support House Joint Resolution 1003 authored by state Rep. Charles Key. Key’s proposal should now be headed to the floor of the House where I look forward to supporting it.

HJR 1003 seeks to reassert Oklahoma’s sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and according to the resolution’s language, serves as “Notice and Demand to the federal government, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.”

The 10th Amendment states: “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.”

Key has made it clear that during the past few decades he believes that the Constitution has been hanging by a thread.

While a similar resolution passed with the support of the Oklahoma House during the last session of the Legislature, it appears to have failed to receive a hearing in the Oklahoma Senate. This year, with new leadership in place in the Oklahoma Senate, I am hopeful HJR 1003 will receive a fair hearing.

I consider it an honor to support Key’s efforts in this regard. But, it also is going to be important for the state to refuse to participate in new inappropriate federal programs such as the apparent expansion of the welfare program included in the stimulus bill. No doubt advocates of Oklahoma’s participation in this scheme will say that we must bring in new federal dollars by adding more welfare recipients. I say it is time to stand up to the federal government and its latest expansions.

REP. JASON MURPHEY represents House District 31, which includes all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via e-mail at jason.murphey@okhouse.gov.