Tenth Amendment Resolution Passes House

--The federal government is a creature of the states - not the other way around -- (Walter E. Williams January 27, 1995)

Central VA- On December 15, 1791 representatives cast the necessary vote to ratify the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.  Today, Virginia Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) joined Delegate Clay Athey (R-Front Royal) and fellow legislators in support of House Joint Resolution 125.  HJR 125 passed the House of Delegates late last night by a vote of 76-20.

HJ 125 affirms those founding principles of Federalism guaranteed under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.  The resolution sets forth the principle that the Commonwealth of Virginia is sovereign and has authority to claim powers not specified or granted to the federal government.

Over the past few years, states around the country have passed resolutions claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment and resolving to serve notice and demand to the federal government to cease and desist mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.  Virginia, upon passage of this legislation, joins the movement that so clearly demonstrates the imbalance and growing concern that the federal government is increasing its dominance over their state policy affairs.

In his Sunday Richmond Times-Dispatch Commentary of February 22, 2009, Delegate Peace wrote: "[Even] case law expounded upon this fundamental principle. Printz v. United States held that the federal system limits the ability of the federal government to use state governments as an instrumentality of the national government. But this traditional notion of Federalism has devolved into "cooperative federalism," where Congress creates new state programs by affixing certain conditions to the receipt of those funds… and the ultimate danger is the erosion of the principles of Federalism whereby Virginia becomes, effectively, a ward of the federal super state."

In keeping with 10th Amendment principles, additional legislation supporting an individual's right and power to participate in the health care system recently passed.  House Bill 722, introduced by Del. Peace was incorporated into House Bill 10 patroned by Del. Marshall.  HB 10, by a vote of 72-26, passed the House.  HB 10 will prevent the federal government from mandating that Virginians enter into a contract with an insurance company against their will, and under penalty of fines and possibly jail time if they don't comply.

Similar to HB 10, HB 722 presents a declaration of rights for Virginians to elect insurance coverage by providing that a resident of the commonwealth shall not be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual health insurance coverage.  This applies regardless of whether the person is eligible for health insurance coverage under any policy or program provided by or through his employer or a plan sponsored by the commonwealth or the federal government.  The measure also states that no resident shall be liable for any penalty, assessment, fee, or fine as a result of his failure to procure or obtain health insurance coverage.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace was elected to his third term representing the 97th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. The District includes parts of Hanover, Caroline, King William, King and Queen, Henrico, Spotsylvania Counties and all of New Kent County.