Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Little Understanding...

In a recent opinion column this was written:

“The U.S. Supreme Court has the final say when it come to interpreting federal law.

Either Meeks doesn't understand this or he's showboating. Since his degree is in pastoral ministries and not jurisprudence, the former would appear to be the case. On the other hand, clearly HB 1053 is a tea-party bill and Meeks is a tea-party guy, so there is a third possibility, sheer presumptuousness. But that's for others to say.” Meredith Oakley

This is just one of the examples about those who have made the judgement that either I (or the Tea Party) don't understand or just don't know all the facts. So to help clear up any misunderstandings, here is a little more about why I filed HB1053, the Healthcare Freedom Act:

On January 10th when I was sworn in, I along with all the other representatives all took an oath that says: “I will support the Constitution of the United States and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of State Representative in and for the State of Arkansas on which I am about to enter.”

I can assure you what I did was not showboating, but just keeping the oath I took not only on January 10th, 2011, but also on June 30th, 1990 when I was sworn into the US Army.

While it is true I don’t have a law degree, that doesn’t mean I can’t understand law or the way our judicial system works. That would be like me telling you that you can’t understand the Bible because you don’t have a pastoral ministries degree.

So here are some things I understand:

I understand what our founding fathers meant when they wrote the 10th amendment.

“The 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.”

I understand what James Madison meant when he wrote:

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

I understand that the powers in the Constitution that are few and defined are found in Article I, Section 8.

I understand that unless the State or the people give more powers to the Federal Government then the Federal Government has overstepped its bounds as laid out in the Constitution.

And I understand that when the Federal Government oversteps its bounds, it is the right of the States to challenge them.

That is why I filed HB1053. I truly believe that by forcing Arkansans to purchase health insurance the Federal Government has overstepped its bounds.

Yes, I understand that ultimately the Supreme Court will decide on this issue, but I believe that this issue is important enough that we join with other states in challenging the Federal Government and so do the overwhelming majority of Arkansans.

Hopefully, now that people have a better understanding of what I believe in, there won’t be any misunderstandings in the future.

Here to Serve,

David Meeks

PS> There have been many cases where the Supreme Court has ruled on the side of states so to use the argument that federal law trumps state law is not understanding history.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Week in Review at the State Capital

This week at the Capital:

The halls of the Arkansas State Capitol were buzzing with conversation of spending cuts, healthcare reform, and abortion issues as House members began our third week of the 88th General Assembly.

Monday afternoon the House convened and passed House Bill 1063, the $36 million spending bill that Joint Budget Committee amended last week to remove judicial pay raises totaling $475,000. The full House and Senate approved the General Appropriation Act, and the Governor has now signed it into law. Significantly, the vote to freeze salaries opened a valuable window for legislators in both chambers to begin discussing spending cuts and examining every dollar appropriated by state government. As the session progresses, we expect budget issues to remain at the forefront of our legislative agenda as each party works together to contain state spending and advance Arkansas economically.

The House Transportation Committee unanimously advanced a measure by Rep. Kathy Webb of Little Rock on Tuesday which would allow individuals to choose to be notified by e-mail rather than regular mail when it is time to renew their vehicle registration. This innovative use of technology could potentially save our state $97,000 annually. Speaking of saving state money, the full House passed Rep. Justin Harris’ bill on Tuesday which requires sex offenders to verify their registration at local law enforcement agencies, potentially saving our state over $70,000 in postage annually. House Bill 1007 now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The Nick Bacon Remembrance Act, named for the late Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Nick Bacon, was approved by the House this week. The Act would allow honorably discharged veterans to have their veteran’s status listed on their Arkansas driver’s license. It was a great privilege to have Nick Bacon’s family as our guests as the bill passed the House.

Midweek, the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee voted 12-7 to prevent House Bill 1053, the Healthcare Freedom Act, from reaching the House floor for a full debate and vote. The bill, sponsored by Rep. David Meeks, R-Conway, aimed to prevent the individual mandate in the healthcare law from forcing Arkansans to purchase health insurance. Five Republicans and two Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the Healthcare Freedom Act. Individual liberty and freedom of choice take precedent over federally-imposed mandates, and I applaud those committee members who took a principled stand to represent conservative Arkansas values.

What to watch for:

A Senate Bill aimed at preventing taxpayer dollars from funding abortions as projected in the federal healthcare overhaul is now headed to the Arkansas House. Republican Senator Cecile Bledsoe of Rogers sponsored the legislation, which I fully intend to support as it reaches the House floor.

For the first time in our state’s history, a true two-party system is now in play in the Arkansas Legislature. Together, each party will work to tackle issues ranging from redistricting to highway funding and tax cuts.

As your Representative, I am honored to serve you in the Arkansas House. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. My email is:

Here to Serve,
David Meeks