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State legislator Charles Key wants to limit federal power

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: January 4, 2009
An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to put the federal government on notice to stop doing things that he says are abusing its authority over the states.

With a Republican-controlled Legislature set to convene next month for the first time in state history, chances are good the measure will pass, said Rep. Charles Key. A similar resolution failed to advance last year.

Key, R-Oklahoma City, said he thinks many federal laws violate the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states the powers not delegated to the federal government "are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The Constitution lists about 20 duties required of the federal government.

"We, the people in the states, created the federal government,” Key said. "They act like they created us and we’re under their authority, and that’s really not the case.”

What’s proposed?
Key’s resolution states the federal government should "cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.” A resolution is a formal expression of opinion, will or intention voted by legislators.

"It’s to help try to get us back to following the Constitution and try to preserve our constitutional form of government,” Key said. "The federal government continues to violate it more and more. It’s gotten so bad that they pretty much do whatever they want and get away with just about anything they want to get away with.”

The resolution, House Joint Resolution 1003, is similar to a resolution Key filed last year.

It sailed through the Republican-controlled state House, passing 92-3, but was not taken up in the evenly split Senate. Republicans picked up two Senate seats in November’s election to have a 26-22 majority.

Will is pass this time?
Key said there’s a "much better” chance that the resolution will pass the Senate this year, but he said he and others "will have to work hard to get it heard over there.”

Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, is optimistic fellow senators will pass the measure. Brogdon sponsored Key’s resolution last year and plans to sponsor this year’s measure.

The 10th Amendment

Ratified Dec. 15, 1791, the amendment reads: "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.”


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