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State legislator Charles Key wants to limit federal power

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: January 4, 2009
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/> "There’s a solid chance of it passing in the Senate this year,” Brogdon said. "If there’s any group of individuals that should support the 10th Amendment — states’ rights — it should be the state legislators,” Brogdon said. "We have more power and are more powerful than Congress. We just do not exercise our powers. ... It’s time we put Congress in its place.”

What’s next?
If the resolution passes, the secretary of state’s office is required to send copies of it to the president, U.S. Senate and House leaders, members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation and legislative leaders in other states.

It cannot repeal any existing federal programs, but Key said the resolution could be the first step in their eventual repeal. Future steps could be suing in with the goal of getting the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the federal government’s constitutional authority, he said.

Key criticized two specific federal programs: No Child Left Behind and the Real ID Act. The No Child Left Behind initiative, a 2002 program requires, states to measure performance and offer alternatives in cases where schools are failing. Key opposed the Real ID Act because he said it would enroll Oklahomans in a national or global biometric identification system.

Legislators in 2007 opted Oklahoma out of the Real ID Act.

"There’s the issue of whether or not they have the right within the Constitution to tell us, for example, how to run our schools in Oklahoma,” Key said, "and do things, such as the Real ID Act, that might violate people’s privacy or put at risk their personal information.”

Key said his effort is not a partisan political issue and should not be interpreted as a slap against Democratic President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Both the No Child Left Behind legislation and the Real ID Act passed under a Republican administration, and he filed his first resolution last year.


AT A GLANCE
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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