Rallying states to reform Washington’s ways

Rallying states to reform Washington’s ways

It appears that America has a new style of government. In years past, liberal Democratic presidents like Franklin Roosevelt governed by working to pass laws in Congress.

But in recent years, progressives seem to believe they can govern undemocratically with regulatory edicts simply dictated from Washington.

Voters in 2016 should ask those who seek to become our leaders a simple question:

What will you do to permanently end “regulation without representation” and ensure that federal regulations, like federal laws, have the consent of the governed?

Or, on the other hand, are you satisfied with a government in which bureaucrats dictate the rules that govern us?

Every Republican who voted in the U.S. House of Representatives, and some courageous Democrats, recently voted for a bill called the REINS Act (Regulations in Need of Scrutiny) to require that major new federal regulations be approved by Congress.

Most Republican presidential candidates have said that they would sign the REINS Act if it were passed by Congress.

But it is very unlikely that such a law could get the support of the necessary 60 votes in the U.S. Senate, even if America elected a president who would sign it.

Furthermore, the constitutionality of such a law could be challenged in court and, even if upheld, it could be repealed or waived by a future Congress.

An Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, on the other hand, could permanently rein in federal regulators and help to restore the checks and balances intended by the authors of our Constitution.

Most Americans understand that Washington is gridlocked on major issues, and even the election of a new president will probably leave advocates of limited government short of the two-thirds vote to propose an amendment or even the 60 Senate votes needed to enact permanent, fundamental reforms.

But there is a way to break the deadlock in Washington.

Just as Rep. James Madison, the first floor leader of the U.S. House or Representatives, took advantage of pressure from the states to help persuade Congress to propose the Bill of Rights, which took effect almost 224 years ago on Dec. 15, 1791, a partnership between state leaders and reform-minded leaders in Congress could achieve results today.

In our time, a constitutional amendment to permanently require that major federal regulations be approved by Congress could, by reducing the risk of capricious overregulation, jump-start American economic growth and help create millions of new jobs.

It could protect our constitutional rights and personal freedom against infringement by federal regulators.

Polls show that voters favor a constitutional amendment to require congressional approval of major regulations by a 2-1 margin.

A potential bipartisan political coalition in the states that could force Congress to act already exists.

Sixty-four of the 67 legislative chambers in the 34 most limited-government-minded states are already controlled by Republicans. Democrats who have good reason to distrust federal regulators and good reasons not to be perceived as “rubber stamps for federal regulators” are swing votes in three more chambers.

The Regulation Freedom Amendment could halt unfunded federal mandates

In fact, 15 state legislative chambers, including the Tennessee Senate and the Utah Senate, have already passed resolutions urging Congress to curb federal regulators by proposing the Regulation Freedom Amendment, which says:

“Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.”

As support for the Regulation Freedom Amendment grows, it will become more and more difficult for opponents to explain why bureaucrats in Washington should keep their power to dictate rules to the American people.

But pro-limited-government leaders in Washington and those who seek to become leaders need to recognize that the nation’s capital is too divided and fond of its own power to reform itself.

America is looking for new leaders who will follow James Madison’s example and help mobilize the power of states to curb the power of Washington.

America is looking for leaders who will build a partnership with states to reform our government.

Regulatory abuse is only one example of federal misconduct. The irresponsible borrowing that threatens the long-term solvency of America is another. The imposition of unfunded federal mandates on states is still another.

Where are the leaders who will reach out to state leaders to build a partnership for restoring constitutional limited government in America?

Perhaps Americans should be asking an even more fundamental question:

Which politicians in Washington want to keep power in Washington?

And which ones want to empower the states to take it back to the states and the people, where it belongs?

• Mark Norris is the majority leader of the Tennessee Senate and the immediate past chairman of the Council of State Governments. Wayne Niederhauser is the president of the Utah Senate.

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The RNC, Ted Cruz and John Kasich Now Back The Regulation Freedom!

The RNC, Ted Cruz and John Kasich Now Back The Regulation Freedom!

On Friday, April 22, the Republican National Committee unanimously voted for a Resolution supporting the Regulation Freedom Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to require that major new federal regulations be approved by Congress before they can take effect.

Support for the Amendment now includes more than 900 state legislators, 6 Governors, the American Farm Bureau, the National Taxpayers Union and political leaders from across the nation.

Former presidential candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich have also endorsed the Amendment Key Donald Trump supporters also back the Amendment including Maine Gov. Paul LePage, and North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer.

The Madison Coalition is leading a bipartisan effort to mobilize state and congressional leaders to force Congress to curb the authority of federal regulators.

19 State Legislative Chambers have passed Resolutions urging Congress to propose the Regulation Freedom Amendment and a majority of Senators in a 20th, have signed a letter endorsing the Amendment.

These chambers are:
Indiana-House and Senate
Tennessee-House and Senate
North Dakota-House and Senate
South Dakota-House and Senate
Wyoming-House and Senate
Utah-House and Senate
Missouri Senate
Arkansas House
(A majority of the Members of the Arkansas Senate have signed a letter endorsing the Amendment)
West Virginia House and Senate
Kansas House

Similar Resolutions are pending in other states.

Ending the fear of capricious Federal regulators by requiring that Congress approve major new federal regulations would be a powerful way to protect our Constitutional rights and accelerate economic growth!

Every voting Republican Member of the of the U.S. House along with some courageous Democrats recently supported the “REINS” Act to require that Congress approve major new federal regulations, but Congress is too divided to override a Presidential veto and such a law also could be challenged in Court or repealed or weakened by a future Congress.

However just as states forced Congress to propose the Bill of Rights, and more recently the 17th and the 22nd amendments, 2/3 of the states who favored the same Amendment to curb regulators might well force Congress to propose it.

The Text of the Regulation Freedom Amendment is:

“Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.”

The 31 states with GOP majorities in the state legislature, along with reasonable Democrats in other states such as KY, where the Democratic House Majority Leader has endorsed it, NM, a pro-energy state and IA, a pro-agriculture state could add up to a 2/3 majority of 34 states that could force Congress to act. ME, MN, CO and WA are also possibilities.

Even the credible threat that states might force Congress to act could deter regulators and force elected officials and 2016 candidates to answer a simple question: “Should regulators keep their power to dictate from Washington, or should they be made more accountable to elected officials?”

Polling shows that voters, by a 2-1 margin favor the Regulation Freedom Amendment. The issue unites friends of limited government and attracts Republicans, Independents and Democrats.

If 2/3 of the states demonstrate their power to force Congress to propose an Amendment without a Convention, the entire balance of state and federal power will be transformed.

The legislatures of 7 States have already passed laws that strengthen their ability to force Congress to act:
Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia
Utah, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Similar legislation is pending in other states.

A U.S. House 10th Amendment-based “Madison Rule” or a similar pledge by a majority of U.S. Senators to recognize and enforce the Article V and 10th Amendment power of states to strictly limit the scope of a Convention would further strengthen the power of states to force Congress to propose a state-initiated Amendment, even if states never explicitly threatened a Convention (emphsis .

Faced with even the potential of such a threat Congress would almost certainly propose the Amendment states wanted to avoid the risk of a Convention that would be more powerful than Congress (emphasis assed).

The bottom line is that a strategy of passing “Regulation Freedom Amendment” Resolutions by 34 states and either 1) “Faithful Delegate” laws enacted in a majority of states or 2) A 10th Amendment Rule adopted in the House, or 3) A 10th Amendment pledge taken by 51 Senators could empower the states to force Congress to propose the Regulation Freedom Amendment as early as 2017.

And faced with the threat of a potentially serious and growing effort to curb their power, regulators might become more willing to work with members of the regulated community on reasonable compromise.

Here is a partial list of political leaders who support the Regulation Freedom Amendment:


Mike Pence, IN
Phil Bryant, MS
Matt Mead, WY
Paul LePage, ME
Bill Haslam, TN
John Kasich OH


NCSL (National Conference of State Legislators) President and UT Senate President Pro-Tem Curt Bramble

CSG (Council of State Governments) immediate past National Chair and TN Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris

ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Counsel) Immediate Past National Chair and TX State and Federal Power Committee Chair Rep. Phil King

ND Treasurer Kelly Schmidt
ND Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner
ND House Majority Leader Al Carlson
ND Former CSG Chair Rep. Kim Koppelman
TN Lt Gov/Senate President Ron Ramsey
AR former Senate Majority Leader Eddie Jo Williams
GA Senate President David Schafer
GA NCSL Former President Sen. Don Balfour
ID House Speaker Scott Bedke
IN Senate President David Long
IN House Speaker Brian Bosma
KS House Speaker Ray Merrick
KS House Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast
KY Senate President Robert Stivers
KY House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins
MI Senate President Pro-Tem Tonya Shuitmaker
MO Former Senate President Tom Dempsey
NE Senate President Galen Hadley
NC House Majority Leader Mike Hager
OH former House Speaker Pro-Tem Matt Huffman
TN House Speaker Beth Harwell
UT Senate President Wayne Niederhauser
VA House Maj. Caucus Chair Tim Hugo
WV Senate President Bill Cole
WY Senate Majority Leader Eli Bebout
WY former House Speaker Tom Lubnau

American Farm Bureau Federation
Indiana Manufacturers Association
Indiana Bankers Association
Kansas Chamber..United for Business
Kansas Bankers Association
Kansas Automobile Dealers Association
Kansas Farm Bureau (KGFA))
Kansas Grain and Feed Association
Kansas Cooperative Council (KCC)
Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA)
Kansas Building Industry Association
Salt Lake Chamber, UT’s Business Leader
Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Tennessee Mining Association
Tennessee Association of Health Underwriters
Wyoming Stock Growers Association
Terry Considine, CEO Considine Investment Company
Ken Burgess, Chairman, First Capital Bank, Midland, TX, Chair, Texas Bankers Association.

C. Boyden Gray, Former White House Counsel
Chuck Cooper, Former Director, Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel
John Ryder, General Counsel, RNC
David Norcross, fmr. RNC Gen. Counsel Tom Sansonetti, fmr RNC Gen. Counsel Mark Braden, fmr RNC Gen. Counsel
Bill Crocker, fmr RNC Gen. Counsel
Curt Levy, Pres. Cmtee for Justice
John Eastman, Director, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence

American for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott
Former House Appropriations Chair Bob Livingston.
McCain 2008 National Chair Charlie Black
Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Jenny Beth Martin
Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna
Federalist Society Co-Founder David McIntosh
Former RNC Chair and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson
Former NRA President David Keene,
Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
Former National Federation of Women Chair Sue Lynch
Former NFRW Chair Kathy Brugger
Larry Pratt, Executive Director, Gun Owners of America.
Steve Moore, Economist, former Member of the WSJ Editorial Board

National Taxpayers Union
National Federation of Republican Women
South Dakota Republican Party
Wyoming Republican Party

Our goal is a network of volunteer and business leaders around the nation who can bring the Regulation Freedom Amendment to the attention of 4000 state legislators in both parties in the most pro-limited government 34 states. Together this coalition could force Congress to act!

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