Voters in Arizona will soon be able to manifest the extent of federal overreach they are willing to withstand.
Proposition 122 will appear on the ballot when Arizonans go to the polls on November 4. A website maintained by supporters of the measure explains how the proposed law would work to maintain the correct constitutional boundaries of power:
This constitutional amendment provides a mechanism for the state to recognize a specific federal regulation or law to be an overreach of federal powers. This could be initiated by a 1) ballot measure or 2) vote of the legislature and governor. Upon this determination, the state would withhold state financial resources and personnel from enforcement of such federal action. The federal government would be free to enforce the action with its own personnel (and money) and the state may still pursue relief from the court system.
Any use of this process is limited to areas that comply with the US and Arizona Constitutions (e.g. Arizona could not prevent the national guard from being federalized and could not withhold resources needed to support Brown vs. Board of Education).
The Tenth Amendment Center put a finer point on the issue, writing, “If passed, the state constitutional amendment would make the feds enforce, enact and pay for its unconstitutional actions and programs on their own.”
Should voters approve Proposition 122, it would amend the state constitution to allow Arizona to “exercise its sovereign authority to restrict the actions of its personnel and the use of its financial resources to purposes that are consistent with the Constitution.”
Prop 122 ended up on the general ballot after having been approved last year by the state Senate (16-12) and the state House of Representatives (36-23).
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