A state representative in South Dakota has drafted a bill that, if passed, would essentially allow the state to ignore any executive order from President Joe Biden which is deemed to be unconstitutional.
KELO-TV reported South Dakota state Republican House Rep. Aaron Aylward has introduced a bill, H.B 1194, which would give the state’s attorney general and the governor a cooperative review process for any presidential fiats not approved by the U.S. Congress.
In an interview with KELO, Aylward explained why he drafted the bill, and he had plenty of blame to assign with regard to why he feels states, such as his, should add an additional check on the power of the federal government. One such target was Congress.
“This isn’t just a President Biden issue but rather an overall executive overreach issue that we’ve been experiencing for a long time. The U.S. Congress has abdicated their duty for a long time in different areas,” he said. “This bill is simply setting up a process to nullify acts that would be unconstitutional.”
“When looking at the U.S. Constitution, the President only has the powers that are laid out in Article II,” added the first-term representative from Harrisburg.
If Aylward’s bill passes, all presidential executive orders would be null in South Dakota until approved by a so-called “executive board,” which would include the state attorney general’s office and the governor.
The bill outlines specific types of orders, which the state representative says could endanger individual liberties in his state. For example, any White House edicts relating to a “pandemic or other public health emergency,” would need state approval before being implemented.
Additionally, orders in relation to regulation of natural resources, the agricultural industry or of land use would also not automatically apply to South Dakotans. According to the bill, any executive orders related to gun rights would also need a state-level review, as would certain orders which could regulate the financial sector.
H.B. 1194 states that executive orders, like the dozens issued by Biden since he took office three weeks ago, would need extensive oversight.
“Upon review, the Executive Board may recommend to the attorney general and the Governor that the order be further examined by the attorney general to determine the constitutionality of the order and to determine whether the state should seek an exemption from the application of the order or seek to have the order declared to be an unconstitutional exercise of legislative authority by the President,” the bill reads.
“Notwithstanding any other law, no state agency, political subdivision, or any elected or appointed official or employee of this state or of a political subdivision may implement an executive order that restricts a person’s rights or that is determined by the attorney general to be unconstitutional under this section if the order relates to [the above-mentioned types of orders which could encroach on individual liberty].”
The bill in South Dakota is not unlike one being debated in the Missouri legislature. That bill would bar law enforcement officers from using federal gun laws or presidential executive orders as a justification for confiscating firearms from citizens.
But the South Dakota bill would be much more ambitious in protecting the rights of citizens from presidential edicts signed all the way across the country — far from where they would apply to people living way outside of the country’s urban centers.
For example, Aylward told KELO his bill is being drafted with the potential for a nationwide mask mandate in mind. South Dakota is one of few states which has refused mask and business closure mandates, thanks in large part to GOP Gov. Kristi Noem.
The majority of GOP state legislature, led by Aylward, apparently wishes to ensure any such mandates are kept in the hands of those whose lives they would directly affect.
“This pertains to our rights that are protected under the U.S. Constitution. If the President ordered a nationwide mask mandate, it would go against the power laid out in Article II, and it would also go against the protection of the rights that may lie underneath the 9th and 10th Amendments.”
The Tenth Amendment gives states that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Is a return to federalism on the rise in the face of what appears to be an overreaching and oppressive big government, now that Democrats have both chambers of Congress and the White House? It certainly appears so. At the very least, it could encourage the majority party in Washington to get to work, rather than allow the White House to dictate national policy through one person’s ink pen.
Since Jan. 20, two states now have taken a proactive approach with regard to exploring avenues to guarantee their citizens are not held hostage by Democrats and their radical anti-gun and anti-business agendas. But the South Dakota bill would apply as a safeguard to protecting the rights of citizens under all future administrations — Republican or Democrat.
The federal government, including the legislative and executive branches, have arguably expanded their powers far beyond the reach envisioned by the country’s founders.
Now that Biden is leading the country through what so far has been a never-ending series of fiats, two states are challenging that power. One of those states could go as far as to consider all presidential executive actions null and void until approved at the state level.
This, of course, underscores the importance of being active in local elections and sending competent people to respective state legislatures. The Tenth Amendment offers states an opportunity to wrestle some power back from those in Washington. But before that can be accomplished, voters must ensure they are represented locally by people who have their best interests in mind.
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