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Rep. Ken Ivory sought earlier this year to require every lawyer and judge working for state and local governments to take an annual seminar on states' rights to help them more effectively battle the federal government.
The House on Friday passed a watered-down version of the bill that would require all state agencies and cities to appoint a designated person to attend such a seminar, and become what Ivory called their "go-to person on issues of federalism."
The House voted 51-16 to pass HB120 and sent it to the Senate.
Ivory quoted Founding Fathers and U.S. Supreme Court justices in debate to argue that "by denying any one government complete jurisdiction over the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power." So, he argued, the state must be better at exercising its right to check the federal government.
Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, agreed, and said the bill "will help stem the tide and help bring balance back to our inspired government."
Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, "We have an obligation not to be pusillanimous [timid] but to have courage and stand up and say, 'That's not what the Constitution says.'"
Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, opposed the bill, saying it instructs the Commission on Federalism composed entirely of legislators to write the curriculum for the seminar, and says it likely does not have the expertise needed.
"It is a little bit of nanny state-ism, of 'we know better than you and we want to tell you exactly what you should think' " on federalism, he said.
At the end of Friday's House session, Ivory known for constantly quoting Founding Fathers was given a 1700s-style white powdered wig by Rep. Ed Redd, R-Logan. Most legislators took out their smart phones to snap quick shots of Ivory as he posed.