AUGUSTA (March 29, 2011) — A bill which would uphold the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by allowing Maine farmers, fishermen, tradesmen and other individuals to ply their trades without interference from unfair federal mandates has been endorsed by the Maine Republican Liberty Caucus.
An Act to Prohibit Enforcement of Federal Laws in Violation of the Constitution of the United States (LD 1172) was introduced in the 125th Legislature by Rep. Melvin Newendyke (R-Litchfield). The bill prohibits federal or state officials or government employees from enforcing any federal act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation that attempts to regulate goods grown, manufactured or made within the state for consumption within Maine.
“The Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution is valid for regulation of interstate commerce but nowhere does the federal government have constitutional authority to regulate intrastate commerce,” said Maine RLC Chair Ken Lindell, a former state legislator.
Lindell said the federal government consistently oversteps its authority when Congress or regulatory agencies promulgate rulings which have an impact on commerce within Maine borders.
“Organic dairy farmers, for instance, who produce milk products for local consumption, are handcuffed by federal directives which prevent them from doing business. Fishermen who land fish for local consumers face expensive and unnecessary restrictions on their livelihoods because of draconian federal rules. Small businesspeople throughout Maine suffer because of unconstitutional intrusion by federal agencies,” Lindell explained.
“I even had a tradesman tell me that he would have to charge an extra $3,000 for a kitchen renovation simply to comply with federal regulations because our house was built before 1978. With all of the wonderful old homes and family farms in our state, that is evidence of how these federal actions have had an unfair impact on Maine people.”
The bill, which is before the Judiciary Committee, notes that the power to regulate intrastate commerce is reserved to the states or the people under the Ninth and Tenth amendments.
LD 1172 reads in part, “A person may not enforce or attempt to enforce or attempt to enforce a federal law that regulates or attempts to regulate goods grown, manufactured or made in this State or services performed in this State when those goods or services are sold, maintained, retained or performed exclusively in this State.”
A federal official who tries to enforce an unconstitutional federal mandate could be charged with a Class C crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. A state official could be charged with a Class D crime, punishable by less than one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
“It’s sad that it has to come to a bill like this,” Lindell said, “but government has grown so large and overreaching that it is necessary to reinforce the constitutional separation of powers between the federal and state governments. It also protects the many conscientious government employees by giving them legal protection from being forced to follow unconstitutional directives.”
Lindell said the Republican Liberty Caucus is guided by a statement of principles for smaller government and individual liberty. He will testify at the Committee hearing on behalf of the organization.
“We have endorsed LD 1172 because it is consistent with our principles and it protects the hardworking people of Maine who are producers and contributors to society from undue harassment by bureaucrats who flaunt government power over their lives,” he said.
Maine RLC previously endorsed a Resolution sponsored by Rep. Richard Cebra (R-Naples) which reasserts states rights and would nullify unconstitutional federal mandates imposed on Maine.
The Maine RLC is part of the national Republican Liberty Caucus, a grassroots organization of libertarian-leaning Republicans who work within the party for policies which promote smaller government and individual liberty.
Media note: Ken Lindell can be reached at (207) 466-0966.