As the year 2012 draws to a close, the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center is looking ahead to 2013 knowing there is a lot of work to do. A few short weeks ago, we gave thanks for the victories we achieved due to the hard work of activists in our group as well as other organizations. We can add to that a second veto of the health care exchanges, which could fall under Mike Maharrey’s “few slices of warm, buttered bread” analogy in this week’s Tenther Radio. We’d rather the unconditional veto on constitutional grounds, but we’ll take what we can get for the moment.
Governor Christie‘s veto of the health exchanges can be used as a turning point to take control of the ObamaCare debate in this very blue state over the next year. We need a renewed push for the Federal Healthcare Nullification Act in the State Legislature. Governor Christie spoke of the control the federal government gives to the states over the health care exchanges. The focus needs to be on urging state legislators of both parties to TAKE control of health care reform in our state, making decisions within New Jersey and out of the control of DC. Even if the debate gets vicious, let it occur in Trenton and in our local communities.
Another area that needs a great deal of effort is opposing the NDAA through the Liberty Preservation Act. Despite the claims of Feinstein Amendment supporters in the 2013 NDAA, the final product is highly unlikely to have much if any protection against the indefinite detention clauses in the 2012 NDAA. We will need to push for those protections in Trenton, as well as the county and municipal levels. Those who are able must get to their Town Council and County Freeholder meetings to make sure these issues are discussed. County Sheriffs will be useful if we can win them over. For issues like this, there is the possibility the State Legislature and Governor won’t do anything unless they see action at the local level. We will be looking for volunteers and other organizations to help with this outreach. See our facebook page to join the planning .
Closely related to the NDAA issue is the federal government’s increased use of drones. Nullify the Drones is one of the recent campaigns from the Tenth Amendment Center. Blake Filippi has crafted legislation for petitioning state and local officials to nullify drone use in their jurisdiction.
Nearly three years after the outgoing Governor Corzine signed the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, and not long after the jury nullification victory in the NJ Weedman case, there is definitely both a need and an opportunity to strengthen our medical marijuana laws. Patient protections need to be increased, and there is obviously support across the political spectrum in the legislature as well as the grassroots. New Jersey’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened this year, and we need to do what we can to protect these business owners from harassment by federal agents.
This coming year is also a major election year in New Jersey, with a gubernatorial and legislative election going on. Whenever possible, direct your state and local candidates and existing officials to the Tenth Amendment Pledge, and share their responses with us. While we do not endorse candidates, we need to be very active in contacting candidates to educate them on Tenth Amendment issues and get their stances. We need people to write letters to the editors of state and local papers, news sites, and blogs. There are still many in New Jersey who have not heard of the Tenther movement or completely misunderstand its mission. We need people to correct that.
In addition to these areas of activism, we want to hear from you. We need input, as well as volunteers to put in time to grow the movement. Again, make sure you are following our Facebook page. Give us ideas where you would like to see us get involved. Whatever we endeavor to do, we need a great deal more human involvement. Nobody can do everything, but we can accomplish a lot if everybody does something.
Benjamin W. Mankowski, Sr. [send him email] is a blogger with the Tenth Amendment Center. He writes from New Jersey.
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