Topeka — More than 100 people crowded the Statehouse on Friday to urge legislators to approve a resolution calling on the federal government to stop intruding on the rights of states.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 1615 says that many federal laws violate the U.S. Constitution’s 10th amendment, which gives states power over areas not specifically designated to the federal government.
About a dozen people spoke in favor of the resolution during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which took no action on the measure. The hearing and later rally were sponsored by the Kansas Sovereignty Coalition, which is backed by Americans for Prosperity and other groups.
Most speakers at the hearing said the federal government has intruded too far into the business of the states, several specifically mentioned the health care reform bill pending in Congress.
State Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, R-Shawnee, and the main proponent of the measure, said the proposal “says simply don’t tread on our freedom.”
Several speakers said the federal government has increased its power by making states abide by certain mandates to get federal funding. Paul Degener of Topeka said the federal government was “bribing us with our own money.”
But Rodney Wren, a teacher from Wichita, said the resolution was “naive at best, dangerous at worst.”
Wren said the federal government has authority over state governments.
State Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said disputes over whether federal laws are constitutional should be handled in the court system.