Our Constitution is the sacred document outlining the powers vested in our federal government. However, in the past few years, it seems our federal officials have overstepped the boundaries laid out by our founding fathers so many years ago. The Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, is a primary example of our federal government run amok, and, as your state representative, I have a duty and a responsibility to stand up to defend the Constitution whenever the federal government encroaches on our state sovereignty and our rights as citizens.
On August 3, 2010, you made an emphatic statement at the ballot box against Obamacare by passing Proposition C, otherwise known as the Healthcare Freedom Act. Statewide the measure passed by an overwhelmingly majority, receiving a 71 percent approval rate. This majority was even stronger in District 144 with an average approval rating of 81 percent.
Based on the 2010 vote, it was clear that the majority of Missourians were opposed to the blatant intervention of the federal government in our own personal rights and liberties. As such, the Missouri legislature prompted the Attorney General to join numerous other states in a lawsuit that is still in limbo. Obamacare has worked its way through the lower courts, and we are now waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to formally rule on the constitutionality of this law.
However, as a legislator, I think that it is smart to plan ahead just in case the court rules in favor of keeping the law. By passing HB 1534, introduced by Representative Bahr, we are taking a proactive approach to stop the implementation of this terrible policy here in Missouri as mandated by your vote on Proposition C.
HB 1534 has two simple provisions that will help us keep Obamacare from being implemented. First, it declares that the Missouri General Assembly finds the healthcare law unconstitutional and, therefore, void and unenforceable. This provision asserts our sovereignty as a state under the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Asserting our rights as a sovereign state gives us the authority to implement the second provision of HB 1534 which makes it a crime for a state or federal employees to implement the law here in Missouri. Anyone who violates this provision will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and they can also be sued for damages. By including the penalty provision, working to implement this radical policy will have consequences.
The founding fathers valued independence, and truly understood that a government should not be intrusive on its own people. Likewise, they also understood the importance of being self-sufficient. Now, there are multiple ways that an individual, state, and country can be self-sufficient. Whether it is food production or manufacturing it is important for a country or state’s exports to meet or exceed its exports. One key area of self-sufficiency is energy production.
Currently, Missouri is at a crossroads in terms of energy production. If we as a state want to remain self-sufficient and keep our utility rates low we must find a means of producing more energy. That is why an announcement made on April 19th is exciting for Missouri’s future. Westinghouse Electric Company, the global leader in nuclear energy technology, joined Ameren Missouri, and all of Missouri’s electric energy providers to announce that Westinghouse has chosen Missouri as the location to develop and manufacture a new generation of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs).
Westinghouse is set to apply for federal cost-share investment funds from the Department of Energy. If Westinghouse receives the investment funds, they and Ameren Missouri would seek approval to move forward with construction of a Westinghouse SMR at Ameren Missouri’s Callaway site. SMRs are highly compact, safe and reliable reactors and would help meet our entire state’s energy needs.
This announcement could be the beginning of a transformative process making Missouri a hub for manufacturing SMRs to be exported to countries around the world. Westinghouse selected Missouri as its partner for this project due to its outstanding workforce, powerhouse research institutions, and its geographic position in the center of not only the country but also of two major rivers.
For more information about the legislation mentioned above or about any others that have been introduced please visit the House of Representatives website, www.house.mo.gov. As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives.