Salt Lake City, UT – The Senate passed HJR 17 this evening, a resolution from Rep. Ken Ivory crafted after several meetings of the Commission on Federalism over the course of the session.
HJR 17, “Joint Resolution to Restore the Division of Governmental Responsibilities Between the National Government and the States,” is a resolution from both houses of the legislature urging the federal government to recognize and stop the alleged overreach of federal power. This resolution calls upon the federal government to reenact President Reagan’s Executive Order 12612 and create a federalism commission. In addition, it demands all branches of government refrain from any activity that infringes on states rights and calls other states to join Utah in these efforts.
Chase Thomas, Better Utah’s policy and advocacy counsel, issued the following statement:
“The idea of Federalism is as old as the Union itself. It was a contentious issue before, during, and after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. There is no doubt the rights of the states and the Federal government have evolved throughout the history of our nation; however, it is simply misleading to suggest everything the Federal government does that the Utah legislature does not like is an unconstitutional overreach of federal power, as Rep. Ivory seems intent on suggesting. Federal powers are constrained by the balance of powers built into the Constitution, and the states have the right to challenge those powers through the courts pursuant to the terms of the Constitution. Rep. Ivory seems to challenge that very system of checks and balances and appears to question the integrity and legitimacy of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional framework it is charged with adjudicating.
“We believe there are proper ways to raise serious challenges about issues surrounding Federalism, but this kind of resolution is not one of them. We are disappointed our legislators continue to engage in this unnecessarily aggressive rhetoric. It does nothing more than waste time during our already short legislative session, and it elects polarizing rhetoric over sound analysis and rationale for the exercise of various powers by the state.”