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Sovereignty resolution passes House, 51-17

HJM 4, a non-binding memorial sponsored by Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, to declare Idaho’s sovereignty from the federal government and ask the feds to “cease and desist” from violating that sovereignty, passed the House just now on a 51-17 vote. Harwood read from the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and told the House, “With them words, the states of this United States created the federal government.” It was meant to be an agent for the states, he said, not the other way around. Harwood decried federal actions that push states to comply under threat of losing federal funds. “They’ve moved us in a direction that we can’t afford to go … and we shoulda never went there,” he said. And he told the House that he believes the United States is not a democracy and not even just a republic, but a “confederacy,” adding, “To be accurate, we’re a confederated republic.”

Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, a retired high school government teacher, responded, “The Constitution clearly states that … we the people do ordain and establish this government. Our government is a government of the people and by the people and for the people - it is not a compact of states. I think that issue was further defined during the civil war … was it to be a compact of states, or was it to be a union of the people? And the answer of the north, when the south seceded, was that it was a union of the people. … I think that this memorial is probably fighting a 200-year-old battle, and I’m not quite sure how it’s going to serve us.”

Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, spoke out in favor of a return to the gold standard, and said he supported the memorial because of its statements against the federal reserve system. Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, also spoke in favor of the measure. Harwood said a number of other states are considering similar memorials.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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