Oklahoma Senate Calls for National Federalism Task Force

By Stuart MacPhail – May 2021
On March 29 the Oklahoma Senate reportedly adopted SCR6, a resolution that seeks to clarify the roles of both the state and federal governments.  The bill was authored by Senator Michael Bergstrom.

According to blog site MuskogeeNOW”the resolution renews the state Legislature’s commitment to preserving and reasserting its powers and authority over the responsibilities granted to states under the United States Constitution as specifically protected by the 10th Amendment.”

The resolution calls for the creation of a National Federalism Task Force that would convene a series of federalism summits aimed at development of plans for restoring and maintaining divisions in the powers, roles and responsibilities of the general government and the states.

Bergstrom was quoted as saying, “SCR 6 is a first step toward pushing back against the federal government’s overreach,” and  “The Oklahoma State Legislature is calling upon all other states whose leaders desire to protect their state’s powers, citizens’ rights and governing voice to participate in a task force to develop plans for restoring appropriate divisions of powers and roles between the states and federal government.”  Read the resolution HERE.

Other Federalism News –

  • Under the headline Three cheers for federalism, on April 8 The Spectator carried a piece by Karol Markowski.

She observes, “America did a lot wrong during the pandemic but maintaining our federalist system was exactly right. Post-pandemic, let’s remember that that’s what worked and defer to state governments to solve more of our problems. We’ve moved toward looking at the president and Congress to lead us. We shouldn’t.”  Read her piece HERE.

  • Deseret News (Arizona) on April 11 carried a piece by Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb with somewhat different perspectives on federal involvement in the pandemic.  It is entitled Is massive federal spending destroying the concept of federalism? 

The article involves the two authors discussing such questions as “When the pandemic crisis is over, and after the expenditure of trillions of federal dollars, some of it given to states and local governments, will the federal/state relationship have been forever altered?”  Read the article HERE.

  • On April 5 The Hill carried an opinion piece by David Dana and Claire Priest with a headline that asked Will the Supreme Court abandon federalism to defeat pro-labor regulation?

The article deals with recent arguments before the US Supreme Court in the Cedar Point v. Hassid case wherein the Pacific Legal Foundation asserted that a California law allowing union organizers entry onto private agricultural property for up to 120 days constitutes a “taking” under the US Constitution. The writers contend that [t]he justices’ own questions at oral argument – as well as public commentary to date – have largely ignored the federalism dimension of the Cedar Point case. That is a mistake.” and “If states are not allowed to define substantive property law, it will be shaped by the preferences and ideology of the justices who happen to serve on the United States Supreme Court.”  Read the detailed piece HERE.

  • Ohio is fighting the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 recently adopted by Congress.  It has filed a lawsuit that could set an important precedent for federalism.  Writer Erin Clark provides a good review of the reasoning behind the action HERE.

Clark says, “Ohio’s argument with the federal government is not about cutting taxes; it is about whether the federal government may use its disbursal of funds to dictate state policy — about this or any other subject that is not the province of the federal government under the Constitution.”

He concluded that “Ohio’s lawsuit will set a marker on the limits of federal power and protect the safe space in which states may operate.  Attorneys general of both parties should support this effort.  We’re making the argument to protect red and blue states alike.”

  • On April 9 the UtahPolicy blog published a review of the just-completed 3-day Functional Federalism conference hosted by Utah Valley University and its Center for Constitutional Studies.  The commentary was written by LaVarr Webb.  Read it HERE.

Videos of the April 6-8 Functional Federalism sessions can be found HERE.

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