Avoiding embarrassment | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Avoiding embarrassment

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 2:41 PM

What's happening in the state legislature today? Not a whole lot. John Williams files this report. You can find more at John's blog, The Legislative Beat.

Arkansas spared itself yet another national embarrassment this morning as the House State Agencies Committee rejected a resolution saying that Arkansas is a sovereign entity, dammit, and the federal government better lay the hell off. As usual in this committee, the vote was split mainly along partisan lines, with 8 for and 10 against.

Supporters of the resolution said it was in defense of the 10th Amendment, which reserves certain powers not given to the federal government to the states. Yet the resolution did not indicate any specific violations; it opined only that certain mandates and proposals from the current administration may be in breach of the Constitution.

Rep. Steve Harrelson spoke most effectively against the bill. “I really don’t want my name going on a resolution to Mike Ross telling the federal government to cease and desist. If I want to tell him that I’ll call him on the phone and tell him myself. Can we tone down the cavalier language?”

Rep. Harrelson went on to object that the resolution’s hostile tone indicates that the state would take action if the federal government ignores it. “What exactly are we giving notice for?” he asked.

Rep. Debra Hobbs defended the resolution by saying other states were considering similar measures, including Oklahoma. Oklahoma passed its resolution last month, according to the always helpful John Birch Society website.

Jeannie Burlsworth, leader of the anti-immigrant outfit Secure Arkansas, also testified in favor of the resolution. She said she represented the people of all 75 counties of Arkansas, a fact previously unbeknownst to me, her constituent.

With the defeat of the resolution dies one more measure with no practical impact other than to make a lot of people real mad.

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