By Cindy Sharretts
Members of the Maryland legislature are fighting to preserve and assert the state’s right to refuse federal mandates which are outside the constitutional bounds of federal government. Citizens of numerous states have asked their legislatures to reaffirm the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as they are seeing Washington lawmakers expand government intrusion, especially understood in the current debate of national health care bills. State legislatures are more accessible and accountable to the people than Congress, so those who framed the Constitution included safeguards to prevent the federal government’s regulation of day-to-day affairs.
In Annapolis on Monday, March 8th, testimony was heard on HJ2, a House Joint Resolution sponsored by Delegate Michael Smigiel (Caroline, Cecil, Kent & Queen Anne’s Counties), Delegate Don Dwyer and Delegate Nicholaus Kipke (both of Anne Arundel County). By affirming Maryland’s sovereignty as described in the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment, the resolution demands “. . . that the federal government halt and reverse its practice of assuming and imposing mandates on the states for purposes not enumerated under the Constitution . . . . “ The resolution also calls for a committee to communicate with other state legislatures, working with them to list federal abuses and to seek repeal of those unlawful mandates which have been imposed.
In addition to phone calls, visits, letters and emails to members of the Maryland General Assembly, committee hearings provide formal opportunities for citizens to comment on legislation. Cindy Sharretts, a Harford County businesswoman, was one of those who testified on HJ2. A copy of her testimony can be seen below:
House Joint Resolution 2: Maryland Sovereignty Under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
Madam Chairwoman and Delegates of the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee:
The Maryland Constitution states the following:
We, The People of the State of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty, and taking into our serious consideration the best means of establishing a good Constitution in this State for the sure foundation and more permanent security thereof, declare:
Declaration of Rights (DR), Article 2. The Constitution of the United States, and the Laws made, or which shall be made, in pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, are, and shall be the Supreme Law of the State; and the Judges of this State, and all the People of this State, are, and shall be bound thereby; anything in the Constitution or Law of this State to the contrary notwithstanding.
DR, Article 3. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution thereof, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people thereof.
DR, Article 4. That the People of this State have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police thereof, as a free, sovereign, and independent State.
DR, Article 6. That all persons invested with the Legislative or Executive powers of Government are the Trustees of the Public, and, as such, accountable for their conduct . . . .
DR, Article 9. That no power of suspending Laws or the execution of Laws, unless by, or derived from the Legislature, ought to be exercised, or allowed.
DR, Article 13. That every man hath a right to petition the Legislature for the redress of grievances in a peaceable and orderly manner.
DR, Article 44. That the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and of this State, apply, as well in time of war, as in time of peace; and any departure there from, or violation thereof, under the plea of necessity, or any other plea, is subversive of good Government, and tends to anarchy and despotism.
DR, Article 45. This enumeration of Rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the People.
Article II (Executive Department), Section 9. He [the Governor] shall take care that the Laws are faithfully executed.
The Constitution of the United States states the following:
Article I, Section 8 enumerates the specific powers and responsibilities of the federal Congress.
Article IV, Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion . . . .
Amendment IX. The enumeration in the constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X. 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.
Therefore, I submit to you the following:
The Maryland Constitution is the Law of our State. Therefore, based on current Law, the Legislature and the Governor have a constitutional responsibility to reject Federal legislation which subverts the State of Maryland’s sovereign rights or the People’s rights. To not do so, is to actually disobey the Maryland Constitution, which each of you and the Governor has taken an oath to support. With or without this resolution HJ2, Maryland’s Legislature has no choice but to reject Federal law when it goes beyond the U.S. Constitution’s bounds, as is the case in many pieces of legislation, enacted in the past, as well as some under consideration currently. I look forward to your resolve to follow Maryland’s law as you consider and give a favorable report to HJ2.
The text of HJ2 can be found at http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/billfile/HJ0002.htm. See Tenth Amendment efforts at www.tenthamendmentcenter.com. You can get copies of the Maryland Constitution from Legislative Services at 410-946-5400, 800-492-7122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The link at http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/43const/html/const.html will take you to the Maryland Constitution online. At the MD General Assembly’s website, www.mlis.state.md.us, you can find contact information for state legislators, lists of committee members, current legislation and more. Citizen input is encouraged.