Senator Mark Norris
9A Legislative Plaza,
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0232
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©2017 Mark Norris
June 1, 2016
Celebrate Statehood Day!
220 years ago today, on June 1, 1796, Tennessee was admitted as a state into the Union by an Act of Congress signed by President George Washington. See it here: http://tinyurl.com/tn-1796
Tennessee became the 16th state in the nation.
Thomas Jefferson referred to our Constitution as “the least imperfect and most republican of the state constitutions.”
Article I, Section 1, provides “that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness…”
From Mountain City to Memphis, “the people have the right of exercising sovereignty, and the right of soil, so far as is consistent with the Constitution of the United States, recognizing the Articles of Confederation [and ] the Bill of Rights.” Article I, Section 31.
Since that date in 1796, Tennessee’s history has been full of men and women standing with, and for, the rights of this state, her people and our sister states.
30,000 Tennesseans “volunteered” to help defend Texas during the Mexican-American War. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the thirty-sixth and final state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provided women the right to vote. History is replete with similar examples of Tennessee’s devotion to state sovereignty.
The fight to keep Tennessee safe continues.
This year, Rep. Terry Lynn Weaver and I sponsored SJR467 which calls upon the Tennessee Attorney General to enforce our rights as a sovereign state under the Refugee Act of 1980 and the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; to insist that the federal government communicate with us before relocating certain refugees here, and to assure that no expenditure of taxpayers’ funds be coerced by the federal government without lawful appropriation by the Tennessee General Assembly.
With your help, the General Assembly adopted SJR 467 by overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and House.
Earlier this year, we also adopted SJR2, the Regulation Freedom Amendment, and combating federal regulation without representation.
Tennessee became the eighth state in the nation to call for a constitutional amendment requiring that major regulations be approved by a majority vote of Congress.
Just last week, Tennessee joined 10 other states to sue the federal government over President Obama’s transgender bathroom edict.
Nowhere, perhaps, is Obama’s regulatory infringement of our rights more egregious than in “environmental protection.” His Clean Power Plan (111(d)) and Waters of the State regulations are both embroiled in litigation, and the State of Tennessee has intervened in the water case joining states which assert the federal government has gone too far.
Next week, I will participate in two related events.
On Monday, the “CNG from Sea to Shining Sea Road Rally” will cross our state en route from California to Washington, DC to demonstrate that alternative technology applied to existing energy resources is abundant and affordable without resorting to regulatory entanglements that kill jobs and strangle our economy. We will be making stops in Memphis, Trenton and Dickson.
On Tuesday, I’ll testify in Washington before the Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s War on Coal, and some 3,000 EPA regulations are costing Tennesseans thousands of jobs and keeping other businesses from expanding. I’ll be there to remind Congress that states like Tennessee matter. We are not incidental bystanders, and we will not stand for regulation without representation.
This is a day to celebrate our statehood and our sovereignty as a state. It is also a day to be mindful that our Constitution also provides “(t)hat government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.”