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Action Alert: Intrastate Commerce Act in Maine

The Intrastate Commerce Act, a bill to nullify all unconstitutional intrastate commerce laws, has been scheduled for a hearing on March 18th, 2013. The Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development will hold the hearing on LD 691 at 10am in the Cross Building, Room 208.

Tenth Amendment Center requests your immediate help with LD 691 to help ensure it’s passage.

ACTION ITEMS

1. Please Contact The Committee Chairman. Thank him for scheduling the hearing. Also let him know you want him to personally vote YES on LD 691.

Contact Information:
Senator John Patrick – (207) 364-7666

2. Contact All Other Members Of The Committee On Labor, Commerce, Research, And Economic Development. Strongly, but respectfully, let each member of the committee know you want them to vote YES on LD 691.

Senator John Cleveland (207) 287-1515
Senator Andre Cushing (207) 358-9447
Representative Erin Herbig (207) 542-7654
Representative Paul Gilbert (207) 897-5143
Representative Scott Hamann (207) 287-1430
Representative Andrew Mason (207) 287-1430
Representative Anne-Marie Mastraccio (207) 287-1430
Representative Amy Volk (207) 883-1963
Representative Brian Duprey (207) 862-6076
Representative Lawrence Lockman (207) 460-6518
Representative Ellen Winchenbach (207) 557-2248
Representative James Campbell Sr. (207) 793-2396

3. Come Together On Facebook With The Maine Tenth Amendment Center. Get involved, join together with other activists, and learn how you can make a difference in helping advance nullification. “Like” the Facebook page here and join the Facebook group here.

4. Share This Information Widely. Spread the word across Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking websites. E-mail it to your friends, family, and fellow grassroots activists. Please encourage others to join you in helping pass this important piece of legislation!

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON LD 691

Here is some helpful information regarding LD 691 to share with others.

METAC Testimony on LD 1172, 2010 version of Intrastate Commerce Act

METAC Information Regarding 2010 version of Intrastate Commerce Act
Please disregard committee contact information within. Article referenced only for informational purposes.

Text of LD 691

Brooksville Joins Maine Food Sovereignty Movement

A growing movement over the last couple of years in Maine has just gained another member. Brooksville, by a vote of 112-64, has passed a Food Sovereignty Ordinance. The movement, which began with the Town of Sedgwick, has grown to nine with the latest addition.

As Brooksville joins a number of other Hancock County towns in passing an ordinance, the battle still continues on for Blue Hill farmer Dan Brown. The State of Maine went after Brown for selling raw milk. The sale was technically in violation of State laws currently in effect, but they were nullified when Blue Hill passed the same Food Sovereignty ordinance. The case still awaits a decision in Hancock County Superior Court.

Kaylene Waindle, special assistant to the Attorney General, weighed in with a predictable claim. Just as predecessor Bill Schneider believed, current Attorney General Janet Mills also believes that government supremacy is always valid.

“These ordinances are pre-empted by state law,” Waindle said, as reported by Bangor Daily News. “They do not offer protection under the law. So people who engage in a conduct that runs contrary to state law its requirements could be found in violation of the law.”

Brooksville citizens disagree.

In 2011, the Maine Tenth Amendment Center talked to Doug Wollmar for the article, “State Sues Blue Hill Farmer, Challenges Food Sovereignty Ordinance.” Wollmar helped pass the Food Sovereignty Ordinance in Trenton, Maine.

Wollmar made reference to two pieces of Maine law, a part of the Maine Constitution and a statute.

Article 1, Section 2 states: “All power is inherent in the people; all free governments are founded in their authority and instituted for their benefit, [and that] they have therefore an unalienable and indefensible right to institute government and to alter, reform, or totally change the same when their safety and happiness require it.”

Title 7, Sections 1-A and 1-B states, “The survival of the family farm is of special concern to the people of the State, and the ability of the family farm to prosper, while producing an abundance of high quality food and fiber, deserves a place of high priority in the determination of public policy.”

In discussing Brown’s challenge from the State of Maine, Wollmar stated that was not following it’s own laws.

Brooksville appears to agree with Wollmar when it joined Trenton and seven other towns.

Deborah Evans, who owns Bagaduce Farms, told Bangor Daily News in a separate article that “until this ordinance is stricken in a court of proper authority, or the citizens decide to rescind the ordinance, this stands as the law in this town.”

The Brown challenge sitting in Hancock County Superior Court could be that court of proper authority, and with the State opposing the ordinance, it could be stricken down.

The passage of the ordinance in Brooksville again renews the discussion about government regulations and local farming. Dan Brown is facing an assault on his right to prosper by the government. Evans also points out that increased regulations burden the local farmer, who then needs to invest a great deal of money to ensure compliance with regulations.

One thing is for certain however. With the successful passage of the Food Sovereignty Ordinance by Brooksville via referendum, farmers are sending a clear message and with the support of the people. Maine law clearly sides with Brown, Evans, and other farmers across Maine who are trying to make a living, as noted by Wollmar.

There are 112 citizens at least in the Town of Brooksville who trust their local farmers, believe they should be free from burdensome regulations, and have sent a clear message that government needs to take a step back. Bringing the count to nine, it would not be surprising if more Maine towns consider joining the movement by passing the ordinance.

Millinocket, Maine Passes 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution

The Town Sovereignty movement continues in Maine, this time with the 2nd Amendment. The Town of Millinocket has passed a 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution. The final Town Council vote was 5-2 in favor.

Town Councilor Jimmy Busque and Michelle Anderson both explained the importance of this Resolution to those present. Busque explained the importance of the resolution and why it’s passage was required, followed by Anderson discussing the history of nullification.

The successful passage vote followed.

The Resolution text reads:

WHEREAS, in the American system, sovereignty is defined as final authority, and the People, not government, are sovereign; and

WHEREAS, the people of the State of Maine are not united with the People of the other forty-nine states that comprise the United States of America on a principle of unlimited submission to their federal government; and

WHEREAS, all power not delegated by the people to government is retained; and

WHEREAS, the People of the several States comprising the United States of America created the federal government to be their agent for certain enumerated purposes only; and

WHEREAS, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: “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;” and

WHEREAS, the 10th Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States, and also that which is necessary and proper to carry into execution those enumerated powers; with the rest being left to state governments or the people themselves; and

WHEREAS, the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows, “A well- regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed;” and

WHEREAS, Article 1 Section 16 of the Constitution of Maine reads as follows, “To keep and bear arms. Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned;” and

WHEREAS, a bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Diane Feinstein titled the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013” that bans the sale, transfer, manufacturing, and importation of certain semiautomatic firearms; and

WHEREAS, the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013,” if passed, would be in direct violation of the 2nd and 10th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States and Article 1 Section 16 of the Constitution of Maine; and

WHEREAS, when powers are assumed by the federal government which have not been delegated to it by the People or which violate the Constitution of the United States, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy; that without this remedy, the People of this State would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whoever might exercise this right of judgment for them.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MILLINOCKET TOWN COUNCIL:

RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall serve as a Notice and Demand to the federal government to cease and desist any and all activities, acts, laws, orders, rules or regulations regarding firearms in violation of the 2nd and 10th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States and Article 1 Section 16 of the Constitution of Maine; and, it be further

RESOLVED, that the Millinocket Town Council urges the members of the Maine Legislature who represent Millinocket to support LR 1973 [An Act To Prohibit Enforcement of Federal Laws Regarding Firearms That Are in Violation of the United States Constitution]; and, it be further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the members of the Maine Legislature who represent Millinocket, and to each member of this State’s Congressional delegation.

Although this is the first 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution passed by a Maine municipality, it is not the first time a Town has used the Tenth Amendment to stand for its rights. Several towns, starting with Sedgwick, have passed Food Sovereignty Resolutions.

This comes as Maine is considering several nullification measures in the State Legislature.

To stay up-to-date with this and other Tenth Amendment-related issues, stay tuned to the Maine Tenth Amendment Center.

Happy Thanksgiving From METAC!

To all our fellow Tenther friends, we would like to take a moment to share some thoughts about Thanksgiving.

There is much to be thankful of as we gather with our friends and family. Although in a world overrun with tyranny, we still have an unbreakable love among those who support us through these difficult times. Without the support of these friends and family, it would be difficult to carry on.

Those we love dearly are one thing to give thanks for.

Another is that through our political travels, we meet many great activists and concerned citizens who see the world around us in a dark era. Just as our family supports our stand for what is just, we have fellow activists to stand shoulder to shoulder with. Intelligent minds and brave souls make for ambitious individuals, who all have something unique to offer to the liberty movement.

Those who fight alongside us are one thing to give thanks for.

For our security we strive so dearly to protect, in our private lives and for our fellow citizen from government, we carry on the fight. And for the continued support, we thank you dearly.

To those we love and those we share the honor of fighting alongside in this hard world, we thank you for being there. The support is incredible.

As everyone comes together to give thanks, let us at the Maine Tenth Amendment Center say thank you for everything!

Enjoy the time with loved ones and may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is another battle, and we will continue to fight.

From the Maine Tenth Amendment Center team:

Chris Dixon, State Coordinator
Jason Greene, Androscoggin County Coordinator

Maine Could Nullify Controlled Substances Act In 2013

This was the topic of a recent article written by State Coordinator Chris Dixon for his Bangor Daily News blog, “Undercover Porcupine.” The article ignited a lively discussion and debate on the issue of marijuana legalization and whether nullifying the federal law would be beneficial to Maine.

In the article titled “Should Maine Legalize Marijuana?“, a number of cases are made. Aside from the the usual pro-decriminalization points of eliminating the black market and bringing about fiscal sanity by freeing up law enforcement is the point of nullification. Despite many claims that nullification is extreme, it is actually quite mainstream. Maine will be considering it.

From the article:

The topic of marijuana has been a hot for quite some time, as for years, states have allowed for medical use in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The federal legislation prohibits the use of marijuana for any purposes. Since 1996 however, a movement has started to grow across America. California would become the leader in a trend of allowing for medical uses, with Maine joining as the fourth state in 1999. Now in 2012, a new movement has taken off. On November 6th, Colorado and Washington fully legalized marijuana use, nullifying federal prohibition. Now Maine will consider becoming the third state to fully legalize in the upcoming legislative session.

The point is further made that it is nothing new in Maine:

Nullification is, of course, the ideal answer to this situation. It’s nothing new to Maine. When Maine legalized medical marijuana in 1999 and expanded the law over the years, it rejected federal law. It did the same when it defied the REAL ID Act in 2006, as well. Maine chapters of organizations like Campaign For Liberty, Republican Liberty Caucus, and Tenth Amendment Center have all supported past nullification efforts in the state.

Although organizations beyond the Maine Tenth Amendment Center have yet to be confirmed on board with this specific nullification effort, the solution itself is nothing new when it comes to the problem of the federal government and its tendency to overstep its constitutional boundaries. Democrats did it with REAL ID, Republican Governor Paul LePage is doing it with the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act, and a number of groups have supported a number of failed efforts beyond these. It is a trend rising.

Specific information on the marijuana legalization legislation is not yet available, but as soon as the text is available, it will be detailed here at the Maine Tenth Amendment Center. This legislation provides an opportunity to nullify the Controlled Substances Act, which has become a great waste of money and severe burden on law enforcement.

Nullify the CSA!

Governor LePage Refuses To Implement Obamacare Exchanges

Maine Governor Paul LePage issued a letter yesterday to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, declaring that Maine will not implement the healthcare exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In the letter, Governor LePage stated:

Because the guidance issued in the August 13, 2012 request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is not legally binding, the State of Maine will not be submitting a Declaration Letter. Instead, this letter serves as the state’s position regarding this issue.

Since the ACA was signed into law, the State of Maine, along with several other states, has repeated on a number of occasions and we continue to believe that the law has severe legal problems, is bad policy, and overreaches into the lives and pocketbooks of fellow Americans.

This is not the first time that the Maine Governor has taken a stand against the federal legislation, better known as “Obamacare.” Back in July, he ignited a storm of controversy when he referred to the IRS as the “new Gestapo.” In addition to the remark, he also noted that the measure would “raises taxes, cuts Medicare for the elderly, gets between patients and their doctors, costs trillions of taxpayer dollars and kills jobs.”

Governor LePage’s claims about the federal legislation creating a financial burden are not wrong. The healthcare exchanges, if the states are to decide to implement them themselves, will be responsible for the cost of enactment. This was half of the outrage with the REAL ID Act, a Bush-era law that stopped just short of creating a national identification card, but was an obvious precursor. In addition to the privacy concerns, the states would have to foot the bill of implementation. In 2006, Maine became the first state in a movement that would later include over half of the Union, to refuse implementation. This resistance to federal law was by a Democratic Legislature.

In the letter, the governor continues to note that the complex nature of the bill complicates implementation:

Furthermore, many of the ACA regulations remain incomplete two and a half years after the bill passed. The legal status of portions of the bill remains unresolved, and there are too many unanswered questions. Complex technicalities make interpretation challenging, and unknown financial obligations—at a time when we face a fiscal crisis that we have yet to resolve—become extremely burdensome to businesses and families. Without such issues addressed, Maine cannot make a prudent and comprehensive decision in the best interest of our citizens.

Correctly highlighted is the problem with federal mandates. There is an excess of compliance expectations while uncertainties about the future linger. States are told they must comply because federal law is always supreme, thus making questioning by governors and legislators seemingly pointless. This is not the case however.

Article 6, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution reads, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” Note the point about laws made in pursuance of the Constitution. Unless the law is compliant with the Constitution, it is null and void. States have an obligation here to stand up.

Under the Constitution, the powers of the United States are specifically delegated in Article 1, Section 8. Beyond this point, everything is left to the states, unless specifically prohibited to them, pursuant to the Tenth Amendment. When the clear boundaries are overstepped, the solution was clear to two influential founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, stated in the Kentucky Resolution of 1798 that when powers not delegated are taken on by the federal government “a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.” James Madison, the principal author of the Constitution, stated in the Virginia Resolution of 1798, that it is the duty of the state to “to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil”, when the boundaries are overstepped.

Governor LePage goes on in his letter to make the correct observation that the states are deprived of their constitutional power over intrastate affairs, by explaining:

This law robs states of the ability to innovate and find cost-effective solutions that meet the needs of their citizens.   We want meaningful reform, but the ACA masquerades as a free-market idea when in reality it is a stepping-stone to a single-payer system. Maine will not be complicit in the degradation of our nation’s premier health care system.

Governor LePage has become faced with an overstep by the federal government, an entity in clear violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court refused to stand on the law, and tried to alter it. Contrary to popular belief, they are not the end decision. As Jefferson himself once noted in 1820, the concept that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter and the people are helpless to the unelected lawyers with lifetime terms reduces America to an oligarchy. Thus, as Madison and Jefferson suggested in 1798, which Maine also did in 2006 in response to REAL ID, the response should be to refuse implementation. Governor LePage is doing the right thing in refusing implementation. If we are to enact solutions, they should be compliant with the law and made at the state level.

Representative Newendyke Survives Recount, Will Return In 2013

After some uncertainty on the outcome of the Maine House District #80 race, a three hour recount today in Augusta made the final decision. The final outcome holds Representative Mel Newendyke as the winner, by four votes.

In the last session, Representative Newendyke sponsored LD 1172, “An Act To Prohibit Enforcement of Federal Laws in Violation of the Constitution of the United States.” The legislation, if passed, would have nullified all unconstitutional federal intrastate commerce laws.

The legislation, as described in “State Representative Newendyke Survives Republican Collapse“, would have worked wonders for the Maine economy, by freeing local commerce from burdensome regulations:

Pursuant to the United States Constitution, Congress is granted a select number of enumerated powers. Everything outside of these enumerated powers, unless specifically prohibited to the states, is thus left to the states. Among these enumerated powers is the regulatory power over commerce involving two or more states. The purposes of this was to prevent conflict among the states which would have a negative impact on the country, something felt first hand under the Articles of Confederation’s weak central government. There was no power over commerce that does not cross state lines however, despite the fact Congress regularly claims such. LD 1172  would have stopped Congress from claiming this power over Maine.

Now it is official that Representative Newendyke will be returning to Augusta in 2013. Although not presently confirmed whether he will be involved with any further nullification legislation, he is still a proven leader for liberty.

Representative Newendyke To Face Election Recount

It was reported recently that Representative Mel Newendyke, sponsor of LD 1172 “An Act To Prohibit Enforcement of Federal Laws in Violation of the Constitution of the United States“, won his race by eight votes. This was a night that was difficult for Republicans and the liberty movement, as well.

The fight doesn’t appear to be over, however. In a recent article by the Morning Sentinel titled “Litchfield Democrat seeks recount“, it is revealed that yet another recount in the Maine legislative races will occur. Representative Newendyke’s opponent, Democrat Rachel Sukeforth, will be requesting an official recount by the Secretary of State.

In “State Representative Newendyke Survives Republican Collapse“, his contributions to the Tenther Movement are noted:

In the previous session, Representative Newendyke introuced LD 1172, “An Act To Prohibit Enforcement of Federal Laws in Violation of the Constitution of the United States“, which would have nullified all unconstitutional federal intrastate commerce laws. Pursuant to the United States Constitution, Congress is granted a select number of enumerated powers. Everything outside of these enumerated powers, unless specifically prohibited to the states, is thus left to the states. Among these enumerated powers is the regulatory power over commerce involving two or more states. The purposes of this was to prevent conflict among the states which would have a negative impact on the country, something felt first hand under the Articles of Confederation’s weak central government. There was no power over commerce that does not cross state lines however, despite the fact Congress regularly claims such. LD 1172 would have stopped Congress from claiming this power over Maine.

The future of liberty has been dealt a potential setback in Maine with the loss of Representative Ryan Harmon, as well as new candidates like John Jones and Matthew Maloney not getting in. But it appears Representative Newendyke will be back in Augusta, assuming he survives a recount of a close race. As of now, he is the winner of the race.

Aaron Libby Joins Newendyke In Winning Re-Election To Maine Legislature

As noted last night in “State Representative Newendyke Survives Republican Collapse“, Representative Mel Newendyke survived an electoral nightmare that wasn’t only difficult for Republicans, but for the liberty movement as well. Rich Cebra did not run for re-election due to personal reasons, solid candidates like John Jones and Matthew Maloney lost, and Ryan Harmon failed to secure re-election. The Democrats reclaimed the majority in a night that was a national failure for the Republican Party. There is more good news in addition to Representative Newendyke returning however. He will not be alone, as his fellow State Representative Aaron Libby will be back as well.

In a close race with Democrat Joe Wagner, with the Democratic Party targeting his seat heavily, Representative Libby managed to pull off a victory. Elected in 2010, he has established himself as a leader for liberty in the Maine Legislature, introducing various pieces of legislation including a bill to nullify the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.” Because of his libertarian-leanings, he came under fire in the general election as well. As noted in the Bangor Daily News blog Undercover Porcupine, in an article titled “Joe Wagner Attacks Rep. Libby For Being Intelligent“, Wagner sent out a mailer attacking him for his economic leanings towards the Austrian school.

In the end, the citizens of Maine House District #139 saw through the deception of Wagner’s tactics and the lies of the Democratic Party. Representative Aaron Libby will be returning to Augusta to lead for liberty. He has already confirmed that he will be introducing nullification legislation in the next session, continuing his stand for freedom and the Constitution.

State Representative Newendyke Survives Republican Collapse

In what is being described as a mass ousting of the Maine Republicans, including some prominent Tenth Amendment supporters such as Ryan Harmon, Representative Mel Newendyke has survived. A number of new “Tenther” candidates such as Matthew Maloney and John Jones launched bids in their respective districts, but failed to secure victory in a night that saw the Republican majority collapse. Rich Cebra did not run for re-election also, removing yet another Tenther from the legislature. Sources say, however, that Representative Aaron Libby has been re-elected, though still awaiting confirmation.

In the previous session, Representative Newendyke introuced LD 1172, “An Act To Prohibit Enforcement of Federal Laws in Violation of the Constitution of the United States“, which would have nullified all unconstitutional federal intrastate commerce laws. Pursuant to the United States Constitution, Congress is granted a select number of enumerated powers. Everything outside of these enumerated powers, unless specifically prohibited to the states, is thus left to the states. Among these enumerated powers is the regulatory power over commerce involving two or more states. The purposes of this was to prevent conflict among the states which would have a negative impact on the country, something felt first hand under the Articles of Confederation’s weak central government. There was no power over commerce that does not cross state lines however, despite the fact Congress regularly claims such. LD 1172  would have stopped Congress from claiming this power over Maine.

It is not confirmed whether or not Representative Newendyke will be involved with any nullification efforts in 2013, but he has been a reliable defender of liberty in the legislature to this point. After a difficult night, it is a relief to hear he will be returning again for another term. The Maine Tenth Amendment Center is working to confirm the re-election of additional Tenther-friendly candidates.