Yukon legislator’s resolution asserts state sovereignty

House passes legislation aimed at stopping federal overreach

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District 43 State Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A state legislator from Yukon has authored a resolution declaring Oklahoma’s sovereignty against federal overreach.

House Resolution (HR) 1005, authored by State Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, asserts the state’s authority as provided in the U.S. Constitution. HR 1005 ascertains that the state Legislature shall review federal government actions to determine if those actions fall within the purview of the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government.

Rep. Steagall, chairman of the States Rights Committee, said Oklahoma is a sovereign state.

“It is the duty of the states to secure the rights of their citizens,” said Steagall, who represents House District 43. “House Resolution 1005 asserts the states’ authorities as guaranteed in the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

“It also serves notice to the federal government that the Oklahoma House of Representatives intends to check and maintain the vertical separation of powers prescribed in the Tenth Amendment.”

The text of HR 1005, which passed 80-14, states the state legislature’s “intent to maintain the balance of powers where the Constitution of the United States established it.”

Steagall, in his second term serving House District 43, believes it’s the state legislature’s duty to “interpose” between the central government’s abuse of power and the people to ensure the people’s authorities, rights and liberties.

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HOUSE BILL 1236

Rep. Steagall introduced HR 1005 shortly after passage of House Bill 1236, which would authorize the state Legislature to review federal actions – including executive orders – to determine the constitutionally of such actions.

Upon recommendation of the legislature, as the bill is written, the Attorney General shall review the federal action(s) and determine if it passes constitutional muster.

If the AG doesn’t act on the matter, the legislature may make the constitutional determination itself.

Since taking office Jan. 20, President Biden has signed more than 50 executive actions – nearly half of which are direct reversals of President Trump’s policies.

Many conservatives have called into question the constitutionality of some of the new president’s flurry of executive orders, notably a mask mandate, transgender agenda in school sports, halting construction of the border wall, revoking a travel ban, and immigration policies.

Among other executive actions, Biden rejoined the Paris climate accord and stopped the U.S.’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization.

The federal actions covered under HB 1236 include any orders pertaining to health emergencies; the regulation of natural resources, agriculture, and land use; infringements upon the Second Amendment; the regulation of the financial sector as it relates to environmental, social, or governance standards, the regulation of education; the regulation of college or school sports; or any other powers reserved by the State of Oklahoma or the people of Oklahoma.

HB 1236 passed 79-18 along party lines. The bill was authored by House Speaker Charles McCall and State Rep. Mark McBride.

Co-authors include several Canadian County legislators, including Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader (R-Piedmont), Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Yukon), Rep. Brian Hill (R-Mustang), and Rep. Steagall.

State Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, believes HB 1236 is unconstitutional.

“We don’t get to magically say in this building, ‘That’s unconstitutional, so we’re not going to follow federal law’,” said Virgin, the House Minority Leader. “That’s not how it works.”

The bill still must pass the Oklahoma Senate before it could go to the governor’s desk.