Okla. Lawmaker Seeks States' Rights Opinion

Article excerpt

A state lawmaker is asking the attorney general's office just how far the state can go in saying "no" to the federal government.

In a media statement issued Monday, state Rep. Lewis Moore, R- Arcadia, said he requested an opinion from Attorney General Scott Pruitt on the Legislature's ability to prevent enforcement of federal laws that Oklahoma lawmakers have decided are unconstitutional.

"During the past few years, our constituencies have flooded us with correspondence expressing fear, helplessness and concern regarding the evermore aggressive encroachment of federal laws, regulation and rules," Moore said. "They desperately want state officials to stand up and put an end to the overreach."

Moore is chairman of the House States' Rights Committee.

He said he asked Pruitt's office to provide instruction regarding various assertions that state government has the ability to nullify federal laws, rules and regulations that the state deems in excess of existing constitutional provisions.

The opinion request is the latest skirmish between Oklahoma officials and the federal government. Last year, Pruitt joined with several other attorneys general in a lawsuit against the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, targeting the requirement in the law that residents were required to purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the act - including the tax penalty - was constitutional. …