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Horowitz: The coming death match against vaccine passports in the states

Op-ed

'Remember, these governors are just getting warmed up'

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On this date last year, I warned of the following:

"Remember, these governors are just getting warmed up. We're only two weeks into this phase. At this pace, if we don't rise up and demand answers, there is no limit to what these politicians might do with their divine right of kings. It's appalling that Congress and state legislatures are in recess indefinitely, as random executives — from governors and mayors to county supervisors and sheriffs — rule the nation by fiat."

Well, here we are 12 months later, and indeed these governors in most states have regulated every part of our lives, liberty, and property with no end in sight. Very few legislatures have stepped up to the plate to roll back these powers and prevent future abuses in any meaningful way.

Now, as the cherry on top of the tyranny cake, the federal government is threatening to require vaccine passports to live life and access goods, services, leisure, and travel. With most state legislatures in their final days or weeks of the legislative sessions, will this be the final straw to force them back onto the playing field?

Our American Revolution was created through the Committees of Correspondence among the colonies, whose members were chosen from state legislatures. State legislators are the final line of defense between the citizenry and a tyrannical government because they are the smallest unit of elected representatives who live among their constituents. Particularly in the 31 states where Republicans control the legislative bodies, many of them with supermajorities, they have the power to permanently end COVID fascism and prohibit all federal tyranny from taking root in the states.

Florida is lucky enough to have a governor who has promised to fight any federal vaccine passport via executive order. "It's completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able participate in normal society," Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday in response to reports that the Biden administration was gearing up to create such a system.

DeSantis further called upon the Florida legislature to pass such legislation. In other states, it is the legislatures who will have to take the initiative because they have weak or corrupt governors who don't believe in constitutional rights. The problem is that most legislatures are already past their deadline to offer new legislation, and many of them will be out of session within days. Constituents should flood the lines of their House and Senate leaders and demand they make a special rule change to pass vital legislation criminalizing any entity that operates within the state and adopts a vaccine passport policy. The legislative filing deadline is not etched in most state constitutions and should not be used as an excuse to shirk fighting federal tyranny.

Moreover, most state legislatures have not fully completed their budgets yet. There is no better place to insert such a provision than in a budget bill, which would force the governor to choose between fighting Biden on vaccine passports and risking a shutdown of the state government. Legislators have the power to make laws and the power over the purse, two powers that the executives have recently usurped. It's time they use the power of the purse to also legislate against the worst tyrannies in our history.

The New Hampshire House has effectively done this against RINO Gov. Chris Sununu. Last week, the House Finance Committee included a provision in the budget that would require affirmative support from the legislature for any emergency declared by the governor to continue beyond 21 days. The bill also cuts funding for health departments, zeroes out any COVID fines collected, and places the legislature in charge of all emergency funds.

Incidentally, the New Hampshire Republican leadership also included the bill banning critical race theory in government agencies and schools, a bill that the governor threatened to veto when it was a stand-alone piece of legislation.

While Republicans lack a veto-proof majority in New Hampshire, it would be a risky move for the governor to veto the entire budget over these issues. The New Hampshire model should serve as an example for other states as well. It's not too late to fight for freedom in the budget.

Several states, such as Oklahoma and North Dakota, are also considering legislation to nullify all unconstitutional federal edicts. Those bills will easily cover vaccine passports and should be mimicked in every GOP-controlled legislature.

States should also consider barring state contracts with any company that discriminates against those who do not hold a vaccine passport. The Idaho House passed HB 140, which does exactly that, but it is currently being held up in the Senate.

The ADA is crystal clear about prohibiting any discrimination against individuals based on their medical choices. Why should COVID fascism be the one carve-out from what is generally a very cumbersome and officious set of anti-discrimination and public accommodation laws?

One year after the revolution of the CDC and state health departments controlling our lives, it's time to return our states to a republican form of government. As Tench Cox observed of the newly crafted Constitution in 1787:

The United States guarantee to every state in the union a separate republican form of government. From thence it follows, that any man or body of men, however rich or powerful, who shall make an alteration in the form of government of any state, whereby the powers thereof shall be attempted to be taken out of the hands of the people at large, will stand guilty of high treason …
It's time to place the liberties of our country back in the hands of the people at large. That means it's time for state legislators to fight for us or be voted out of office.
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