A RETURN OF STATE SOVEREIGNTY TO THE “CONSTITUTION STATE”?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 15, 2010) — On Wednesday, February 17, 2010, there will be a press conference regarding a Connecticut Tenth Amendment bill. The conference will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford.
State Senator Michael MacLachlan (R-24) and State Rep. John Hetherington (R-125), ranking members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee (GAE), will be joining several Connecticut attorneys and the Connecticut Grassroots Alliance to either thank the chairmen of the Committee, State Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-14) and State Rep. James Spallone (D-36), for allowing debate on the bill or to ask that they do so before the deadline on February 19. Other state legislators are expected to attend the press conference as well.
According to Deborah Stevenson, an attorney who has assisted in writing the draft proposals, the GAE chairmen have had the Tenth Amendment request for about two weeks but have not issued a response.
The Connecticut Grassroots Alliance is a loose coalition of patriot groups which includes members of the Committees of Safety, Connecticut Campaign for Liberty, Right Principles, and other grassroots organizations.
During the current legislative session, no individual legislator can propose a bill which does not encompass “budgetary matters.” Therefore, the GAE Committee must raise the bill in order for debate to commence. Stevenson reports that she has contacted both chairmen of the GAE Committee several times, but to date the only response has been an email from Rep. Spallone saying that he “might call her.” Stevenson, who has already asked for a meeting with Slossberg and Spallone, said she will keep trying to reach Spallone by phone.
Stevenson, who has been in private practice of law since 1999 and is Executive Director of National Home Education Legal Defense, LLC, an organization she founded in 2003, stated that there are three proposals currently in play. According to the draft document, the intent of all three proposals is “reasserting the State’s rights under the Tenth Amendment.”
According to the Connecticut Patriot Alliance, the first is a resolution requesting that Congress pass only constitutionally-authorized legislation; the second is a new state statute which would reassert Connecticut’s rights under the Tenth Amendment, adopt a method for the legislature to declare any federal laws unconstitutional and notify Congress whenever the legislature declares a federal law to be unlawful; and the third is a new state statute that would reassert Connecticut’s rights under the Tenth Amendment and adopt a method for the legislature to declare any laws unconstitutional.
While Stevenson asserted that the states “already have the right to do so,” any Tenth Amendment resolution or bill passed in Connecticut would give the state the mechanism to declare “anything” unconstitutional, therefore nullifying it. An individual legislator would then have the ability to ask the GAE Committee to review the bill in question for its constitutionality.
“It’s not about political parties,” Stevenson said. “It’s about whether or not the state of Connecticut has the means to tell the federal government that certain laws are unconstitutional.” Stevenson added that to her knowledge, no Tenth Amendment resolutions have been proposed in Connecticut before. However, she said that the state of New Hampshire is currently considering a similar Tenth Amendment proposal.
All Connecticut media and the public are invited to attend the press conference.