Will Democrats counter states’ rights bills?

Josh Smith
Legislative Intern
Deseret News/Political Notebook
February 9, 2010

Will Democrats jump on the states’ rights bandwagon?

Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, has opened what’s known as a “boxcar” bill (a blank placeholder file) entitled “Joint Resolution on the Protection of States’ Rights.”

Romero said he is considering a resolution patterned after a proposal by Wyoming’s Democrat Gov. Dave Freudenthal.

The Wyoming resolution calls on Congress to amend the Constitution making the 10th Amendment’s protections more explicit. The measure would also urge Congress to amend the Commerce Clause, which is often targeted by states’ rights proponents. Conservative lawmakers have infused this legislative session with a slew of resolutions and bills targeting states’ rights and federal control. So far, Democrats have largely sat on the sidelines.

If adopted, the proposal would be designed to express support for protecting states’ rights without sparking expensive litigation, Romero said.

Romero presented his basic thinking to the Democratic Caucus on Tuesday, but it has yet to officially take a position.

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