Maine RLC Endorses Rep. Cebra’s Nullification Bill
BANGOR (March 16, 2011) – A resolution submitted by state Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples, which would reassert states’ rights and nullify unconstitutional federal mandates has been unanimously endorsed by the Maine Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC).
“The Constitution clearly enumerates the legitimate powers of the federal government through the Tenth Amendment,” explained Maine RLC Chair Ken Lindell of Bangor, a former member of the Maine House. “What Representative Cebra’s resolution accomplished is to put the federal government on notice that its powers come from the states and individual citizens and it must stop arbitrarily handing down unconstitutional mandates which conflict with the rights of states and individuals.”
Lindell said the issue is non-partisan because federal-state jurisdiction crosses party lines. He noted several instances of federal actions which impacted individual rights such as the Real I.D. mandate which came from a Republican administration in Washington but which a Democrat gubernatorial administration fought on behalf of Maine individuals.
“Putting partisan considerations aside, as a Republican I think the Bush Administration acted improperly on Real I.D. and Governor Baldacci and then-Secretary of State Matt Dunlap acted properly in standing up for the rights of Maine citizens rather than bow to the constitutionally-questionable federal mandate,” Lindell explained. “The issue isn’t Republican or Democrat but limited government versus bigger government and personal liberty.”
Lindell noted that new federal dictates on selling agricultural products such as raw milk would infringe on the rights of organic farmers, who are an important segment of Maine’s agricultural community. He said the U.S.D.A., F.D.A. and other agencies issue directives without regard for the rights of individual farmers and, often, with dubious constitutional authority.
The federal government’s unwillingness to honor state-enacted medical marijuana laws and its zeal to enforce the 1970 Controlled Substances Act is another example of the constitutional breach, Lindell said. “The people of the State of Maine voted legally under powers granted by the United States Constitution to allow individuals with specified conditions to possess and use limited quantities of medicinal marijuana with a prescription, however the federal government shows no signs of pulling back on rigid enforcement which would make those operating legally within state laws criminals in federal courts,” he said.
Lindell said instances abound ranging from gun rights issues to the Affordable Care Act where federal mandates conflict with the Constitution and expand federal power over individual freedom and states’ rights.
“The Tenth Amendment says clearly in 28 words: ‘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.’ What Rep. Cebra’s resolution does is puts the federal government on notice that Maine people will not be bullied and will nullify those mandates coming from either Congress or Executive Order or from agency rulings which violate constitutional powers,” Lindell said.
Lindell said the issue goes back to the early days of the country. In 1798, Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts which so stepped on constitutional freedoms that Thomas Jefferson admitted that he feared “to write what I think.” Newspaper publishers were convicted under the Sedition Act if their papers even carried columns critical of Congress or the president.
“Jefferson relied on the doctrine of nullification to protect First Amendment rights and to restore powers where they constitutionally belonged. Our Republican Liberty Caucus board is taking a stand on this resolution because we see 21st Century parallels which must be addressed to protect the rights of states and, above all, individual freedom and liberty,” Lindell said. Cebra’s resolution is similar to ones adopted by five other states and under consideration in the legislatures of 16 other states.
The Republican Liberty Caucus is a national organization which represents the limited government, individual liberty wing of the Republican Party. The RLC supports individual rights, limited government and free enterprise. The Maine RLC Chapter is independent of the Republican State Committee so it can endorse candidates in primary elections and take positions on legislation.
Maine Legislature Tackles Right to Work, Relaxed Seatbelt Law
A showdown is brewing at the Statehouse between Rrepublican lawmakers and organized labor as two different Right to Work bills have been proposed by the Republican legislature.
LD 788 and LD 309 are both aimed at blocking unions from requiring non-members to pay fees to the union for negotiating their pay and benefits. State government added those fees, called “fair share,” under former Governor John Baldacci (D).
One bill would ban the fair share or similar fees for public sector workers, while a second bill would prohibit similar fees for union workers at private companies. Union members say the bills are really aimed at “busting” unions, and accuse Governor LePage and private corporations of pushing the right to work agenda.
At a press conference in Augusta, union members claimed passage of the bills will hurt Maine workers by eventually forcing down wages and reducing benefits to union and non-union people alike. But RLC-endorsed Rep. Richard Cebra, a co-sponsor of both bills, sees it very differently. Cebra says the top ten states with the strongest economies are all Right to Work states, and that the ten states with the poorest economies are non-Right to Work states. Cebra says he does not know how much support there is for the bills in the Legislature, but that with a Republican legislature and governor, this is the time to bring the issue up.
This bills are expected to come up for public hearing in May.
The Maine Senate passed a bill reducing seatbelt law enforcement to a secondary offense last week. If passed and signed by Governor LePage, the law would mean a violator could not be given a ticket unless stopped for another offense. The bill still faces further House and Senate votes.
Under present law, all motorists in Maine must wear a safety belt and can be fined $50 for the first offense and $125 for the second offense. Republican Governor Paul LePage supports both right to work and the Republican-backed seatbelt proposal.
Let’s hope nullification, Right to Work, and the seatbelt bill each pass the legislature and are signed into law!