Wyoming To Congress: Leave Us Alone!

March 15, 2010 12:00 p.m.

The governor and state legislature of Wyoming have a message for Congress: butt out.Last week, Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D-WY) signed a resolution, which he had urged the state legislature to adopt, articulating Wyoming’s opposition to what it sees as federal incursions on the state’s sovereignty. After listing a series of grievances — including that “many federal laws are directly in violation of the 10th amendment” — the resolution states:

This resolution [serves] as notice and demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, from enacting mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers. The state of Wyoming will not enforce such mandates.

The laws and regulations that Wyoming opposes include the Real ID Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.

Kelly Rankin, general counsel for Gov. Freudenthal, told TPM in an interview today that this resolution goes “above and beyond the usual resolution” and tries “to basically give teeth back to the states.” And while no specific actions have been planned, the resolution also asks Wyoming’s Congressional delegation to support the measure.

Freudenthal got wide support from the legislature for his proposal.

Unlike a recent bill passed by the Virginia state legislature, Wyoming’s resolution is not an attempt to preemptively oppose a health insurance mandate. Rankin said the state was in ‘wait-and-see’ mode on health care, but that “there would certainly be a careful glance at any health care mandate,” should it be enacted.

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