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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
“Just as the separation and independence of the coordinate branches of the Federal Government serve to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in any one branch, a healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front.”
Since its founding, our country has been a partnership between the states and the federal government. Fearing a strong centralized government similar to the one they had just freed themselves from, our founding fathers sought to divide power between the citizens, the states and the federal government. As a result, the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, a group of amendments guaranteeing the rights of individual citizens and states alike.
However, there has been growing dissatisfaction in some areas of the country recently over the federal government overstepping its Constitutional authority. We have all heard and read about the “Tea Parties” that have been held here in Ohio and elsewhere in our country decrying the actions of the Federal government in regards to taxes and other issues impacting our families.
Many state lawmakers and residents feel that the federal government has grown too large in recent years and needs to be reminded of the sovereignty of the states. Roughly two dozen states are considering or have passed resolutions refusing to participate in the Real ID Act, which mandates state drivers licenses and ID cards conform to federal standards. Other areas in which some think the government has overstepped its authority include the bailouts of the banking and automotive industry as well as the takeover of some car makers and banks.
In response to these concerns, legislation has been introduced in many states seeking to reaffirm the sovereignty of the states and urging the federal government to respect the 10th amendment, which reads: “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.”
Earlier this year, similar legislation was introduced in the Ohio Senate by my colleagues Senators Tim Grendell (R- Chesterland) and Keith Faber (R- Celina). Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 would claim sovereignty over certain powers pursuant to the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, notify Congress to limit and end certain mandates, and insist that federal legislation contravening the 10th Amendment be prohibited or repealed.
Similar resolutions have been introduced in other states, including New Hampshire, Arizona, Michigan and Missouri. However, an important distinction between Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 and versions under discussion in some states is that Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 does not threaten secession; it only seeks to reaffirm Ohio’s sovereignty at a time when the federal government is rapidly expanding. Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 was recently approved by the Ohio Senate and will now be taken under consideration by the Ohio House of Representatives.
There are many challenges facing our state and our nation, and as we seek solutions we should remember that government governs best from the people. Although individual states and the federal government should continue to work together, it should be in collaboration and not simply an expansion of federal powers into areas that traditionally have been reserved to the states. Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 serves as a remainder to the government to adhere to those principles established by our founding fathers.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or concerns about any state-related matter. You can reach my office by phone at (614) 466-9737, by e-mail at SD07@senate.state.oh.us or by writing State Senator Shannon Jones, Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215. I look forward to hearing from you.