Rep. Ken Ivory: Federal Law Evaluation and Response Act

If Washington can decide whether or not special education students in Tooele HS can continue their long standing bake sale program or not, what can’t they decide? Where’s the Line? This bill establishes “the constitutional line” and provides a reasonable and measured mechanism to respond to ALL federal actions that cross this line.

Federal Law Evaluation and Response Act
(Summary)

Article VI of the United States Constitution mandates that all state legislators and officials swear an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. The Founders were clear about what this meant when drafted. Just a few examples follow:

James Madison stated:

“The State Legislatures will jealously and closely watch the operations of this Government, and be able to resist with more effect every assumption of power, than any other power on earth can do; and the greatest opponents to a Federal Government admit the State Legislatures to be sure guardians of the people’s liberty. – James Madison, Introduction of the Bill of Rights, The Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, First Congress, 1st Session, pp 448-460 (emphasis added)

And, Thomas Jefferson added:

It is important to strengthen the State governments; and as this cannot be done by any change in the Federal Constitution (for the preservation of that is all we need to contend for), it must be done by the States themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the General Government. The only barrier in their power is a wise government. A weak one will lose ground in every contest. – Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 1791 (emphasis added)

In order to abide by constitutional oath and erect barriers at “the constitutional line” and “jealously and closely watch the operations of [the federal government],” the Federal Law Evalutation and Response Act does the following:

1. Defines “federal law” as all federal legislation; presidential executive orders; and agency action, regulations or policies;

2. Establishes the standard for review and evaluation of all federal law in Utah law as those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution as specifically listed in statute;

3. Requires the Constitutional Defense Council (UCA 63c-4-101) to:

a. Review and evaluate federal law against the constitutional standard;

b. Coordinate directly with Utah’s congressional delegation in such review and            evaluation;

c. Coordinate directly with a similarly functioning council or legislative committee of other states in such review and evalution;

d. Receive requests for review and evalution of federal law from state agencies, legislative committees, political subdivisions or Utah’s congressional delegation;

e. Respond to federal laws that cross “the constitutional line” through the following:

i. Provide written notice (in concert with Utah’s congressional delegation and other coordinating states) to the respective federal branch or agency of the manner in which the federal law fails to meet the constitutional standard and what action the federal branch or agency will take to comply with the constitutional standard;

ii. Request the respective federal branch or agency receive a delegation of the Utah CDC (in concert with Utah’s congressional delegation and other coordinating states) to mediate issue of the federal law that fails to meet the constitutional standard;

iii. Request that the Governor call a special session of the legislature to address emergency consequences of federal law that fails to meet the constitutional standard;

iv. Report quarterly to the Government Operations Committee the status of the review, evalution and response to federal law;

v. Report annually to every legislator the status of the review, evaluation and response to federal law for further action by the legislature as warranted by the record developed by the CDC.