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HB 1165: South Dakota Secedes from Union with PPACA Nullification

I was expecting Jenna Haggar, Steve Hickey, or Stace Nelson to set off my Legislative right-wingnut alarm first. However, Haggar and Hickey have kept pretty quiet (Hickey has yet to appear as prime sponsor of any bills), and Nelson is distinguishing himself less by yahooism and more by showing his liberal stripes by sponsoring nearly every bill in sight.

Instead, the biggest wingnut madness so far comes from Rep. Lora Hubbel (R-11/Sioux Falls). Hubbel has introduced House Bill 1165 to nullify the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. HB 1165 goes well beyond HB 1088, a bill Hubbel's whacky District 12 neighbor Manny Steele is sponsoring to simply declare federal health care reform unconstitutional. Hubbel's HB 1165 would charge federal officials enforcing PPACA with a Class 5 felony. State officials enforcing the federal law would get a Class 6 felony. And if your insurance agent tries to give you insurance despite a pre-existing condition (one of those protections mandated by PPACA), you can sue him.

I assume HB 1165 means Governor Daugaard goes to prison for accepting Medicaid funding provided under the law. I assume this also sends to prison any legislators who vote for Senate Bill 43, which writes health care reform into South Dakota law.

Lora Hubbel thinks South Dakota can criminalize the enforcement of federal law. Lora Hubbel is wrong. HB 1165 is nullification verging on secession. HB 1165 is the kind of stupid legislation that brings the 101st Airborne to your Capitol steps. Hubbel has apparently confused herself with Governor Faubus in Little Rock... or maybe with Justice Scalia.

I suppose I should not be surprised. After all, Hubbel believes that South Dakotans don't care about school budgets. She apparently also believes we don't care about the Constitution Contrary to the fluff from Tyler at Dakota War College, there is no uncertainty as to how a court challenge to HB 1165 or its watery cousin HB 1088 would turn out. Hubbel's legislation is flatly unconstitutional, an ugly inflammation of Calhoun conservatism that threatens federalism and the stability of the Union.

This is not hyperbole: HB 1165 is that bad. HB 1165 is a threat to secede, worse than anything Gordon Howie proposed last session. Shame on Rep. Hubbel for proposing it, and shame on Reps. Jensen, Liss, and Nelson and Senators Begalka and Lederman for co-sponsoring it. The House State Affairs Committee dare not let this bill see the light of day. HB 1165 should not even get testimony. When this bill comes up, Rep. Abdallah or my man Rep. Fargen should immediately object to consideration of Lora Hubbel's seditious bull.

Update 13:13 CST: House State Affairs has the good sense to kill HB 1088 in committee today. Let's hope the same wisdom prevails on HB 1165! Alas, HB 1088 sponsor Manny Steele says he'll bring a resolution on the topic. Great. Expect more pointless bloviating about imaginary tyranny while real fiscal problems go unsolved.


  1. Bob Ellis 2011.01.26

    Nobody's looking to leave our wonderful union (socialists can leave, if they don't like the American way). We're just looking to protect ourselves from unconstitutional socialist oppression and "nullify" one illegal program.

    Preserving the American way--what could possibly be more American than that?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.01.26

    ...perhaps doing it Constitutionally by not arrogating the powers of the judiciary to the state Legislature? By letting the legal challenge work its way through the courts and not criminalizing enforcement of federal law?

  3. nonnie 2011.01.26

    Uh, how many times has the judiciary arrogated to itself the powers that belong to the legislature and the people?

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.01.26

    Now Linda, "He hit me, so I hit him" rarely flies well with Mom and Dad. The plain fact is that Lora Hubbel is wrong. No state legislature can criminalize enforcement of federal law. Imagine we sent the Highway Patrol to arrest federal agents who were enforcing immigration laws. Or imagine the local police arrested local election officials who enforced the voting rights act and allowed blacks to vote. Or imagine sending the National Guard to take into custody the nice folks charging admission at Mount Rushmore. Pick any federal law you like: criminalizing the enforcement thereof is a profoundly unconstitutional act. Remember Governor Faubus and President Eisenhower.

    Of course, if this really, really bad bill is just a plot by Lora Hubbel to provoke a federal response so that the Tea Party can scream about tyranny as President Obama sends in federal troops to enforce the law of the land, then this bill is going in exactly the right direction. But that only makes it grand political theater, not good legislation.

  5. nonnie 2011.01.26

    I was not referring to Hubbell's bill. I was referring in this case to other things unrelated to the health care issue. I am not sure if I agree with her bill or not, but I was hoping that HB 1108 would have passed at least out of committee for a floor debate.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.01.26

    [you mean HB 1088, right?] No, even that floor debate is a waste of time. It achieves nothing that AG Jackley won't achieve with his arguments in court. We would not hear anything new from any legislator on this issue. Let the lawsuit happen, focus on fixing the budget.

    Linda, I am pleased that even you hesitate to support Hubbel's bill.

  7. snapper 2011.01.27

    I don't think Haggar is there for many reasons other than because she thinks she is a special individial. I guarantee her cutesyness will get old fast but not to the 65 year old men who make up a majority of our legislature. I'm sure they can't get enough of her.

    Haggar is ok as a person but she's really more about pushing herself than her issues... Hey! I think she is the new Noem!!!

  8. David Brouillette 2011.08.29

    I'm beginning to think that the 50 states would be better off without a federal government -- taking over their own healthcare, education, law enforcement, retirement. The federal government spent all our tax dollars and our grandchildrens money on bank bailouts, prisons for the war on drugs, a perpetual war machine, and rebuilding bridges and hospitals (and universal healthcare) in Iraq -- all this while our bridges are falling in the rivers, our 100 year old infrastructure is leaking sewage, and no money for hospitals in new orleans. what has the federal government done for us, except take take take from us and pad presidents and congressmans benefits ( how does a single presidential helisopter cost as much as the 10 mile long charlotte light rail) Imagine what each state could do without the federal government sucking the lifes blood out of everything --

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