State House passes bill affirming states’ rights

Bizar Male

Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a bill they say would let them declare federal laws and executive orders unconstitutional.But the legislation, should it become law, is itself likely to be challenged as unconstitutional. The bill would let the legislature ask the attorney general to challenge federal laws in court. Should the AG decline to do so, the legislature could declare federal laws unconstitutional.“We’re a sovereign state. And we have authorities as a state,” said Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon.That’s the argument from Oklahoma Republicans, who fear federal overreach. “The primary purpose of this bill is to push back on executive orders that infringe on states’ rights and on constitutional rights,” said Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore.The bill easily passed the House of Representatives, but the Democratic minority slammed it as clearly unconstitutional. “We’re saying we have the power in this building to declare what Congress did unconstitutional. Folks, that’s not how it works. We don’t get to magically say in this building, ‘That’s unconstitutional, so we’re not going to follow federal law.’ That’s not how it works,” said Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman.“This one bill by itself is going to make a lot of attorneys a lot of money in this state,” said Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City. “There is no more clear violation of the separation of powers.”The bill still must pass the Oklahoma Senate before it could go to the governor’s desk. The Senate leader hasn’t said whether he supports it.

Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a bill they say would let them declare federal laws and executive orders unconstitutional.

But the legislation, should it become law, is itself likely to be challenged as unconstitutional.

The bill would let the legislature ask the attorney general to challenge federal laws in court. Should the AG decline to do so, the legislature could declare federal laws unconstitutional.

“We’re a sovereign state. And we have authorities as a state,” said Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon.

That’s the argument from Oklahoma Republicans, who fear federal overreach.

“The primary purpose of this bill is to push back on executive orders that infringe on states’ rights and on constitutional rights,” said Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore.

The bill easily passed the House of Representatives, but the Democratic minority slammed it as clearly unconstitutional.

“We’re saying we have the power in this building to declare what Congress did unconstitutional. Folks, that’s not how it works. We don’t get to magically say in this building, ‘That’s unconstitutional, so we’re not going to follow federal law.’ That’s not how it works,” said Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman.

“This one bill by itself is going to make a lot of attorneys a lot of money in this state,” said Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City. “There is no more clear violation of the separation of powers.”

The bill still must pass the Oklahoma Senate before it could go to the governor’s desk. The Senate leader hasn’t said whether he supports it.

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