It’s a Constitutional Crisis
I’m a Conservative Republican. I’m also a Federalist. Today, that term may be unfamiliar or quaint to many, but it wasn’t to our nation’s founders.
Our founding fathers drafted the Constitution on the principles of federalism – a political system in which the power to govern is shared between state and national governments. They created a federal government with limited power, as outlined in the Constitution. The states or the people retained all other powers.
That balance has been turned upside down. We have a Constitutional structural issue with an all-powerful federal government and subservient states. This imbalance has driven me to champion the Article V Convention of States movement for over a decade. It took 9 years to be successful, but SC is the 19th state to agree to a convention of states to put renewed limits on the federal government.
Federalism is at the center of the border tug-of-war between Texas and Washington
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared Texas has the “right to self-defense” from the illegal invasion.
Texas has drawn the line, and this seriousness cannot be overstated. As expected, this issue has been slowly built, with events suddenly compounding. This is more than a simple political issue and serves as a beacon of resistance for many Americans.
Texas State Troopers recently began arresting illegals who cross the border on trespassing charges. This is a substantial change in policy as previously, most illegal immigrants entering the US were processed by CBP and released into our county to disappear or show up in a court as far out as 2031. Tensions have escalated between state and federal forces following Texas’ seizure of the Eagle Pass border crossing a few weeks ago.
Abbott says, “The federal government has broken the compact between the United States and the States. The Executive Branch of the United States has a constitutional duty to enforce federal laws protecting states, including immigration laws on the books right now. President Biden has refused to enforce those laws and has even violated them.”
Abbott cites constitutional language that demands the federal government “protect each [State] against invasion” and the right of states to protect their borders. He argues that “the failure of the Biden administration” to fulfill those duties triggers a clause in Article 1 that “reserves to this State the right of self-defense.” He notes he has already declared an invasion to invoke the authority, which he calls “the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary.”
Predictably, Democrats are urging President Biden to push back on Texas by federalizing the Texas National Guard so they can aid the federal government in allowing the invasion to continue. If Biden does that, he should be impeached immediately for dereliction of duty.
25 Governors Back Texas
Governor Henry McMaster and 24 fellow Republican governors have joined in support of Texas’ constitutional right to self-defense in response to the Biden Administration’s continued attacks on their border security effort:
“President Biden and his Administration have left Americans and our country completely vulnerable to unprecedented illegal immigration pouring across the Southern border. Instead of upholding the rule of law and securing the border, the Biden Administration has attacked and sued Texas for stepping up to protect American citizens from historic levels of illegal immigrants, deadly drugs like fentanyl, and terrorists entering our country.
“We stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border. We do it in part because the Biden Administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally.
“The authors of the US Constitution made clear that in times like this, states have a right of self-defense under Article 4, Section 4 and Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 of the US Constitution. Because the Biden Administration has abdicated its constitutional compact duties to the states, Texas has every legal justification to protect the sovereignty of our states and our nation.”
I was on the Texas/Mexico border at ground zero, Eagle Pass, Texas, several months ago. Two of my legislative colleagues joined me. We were there to support our SC National Guardsmen, who were temporarily deployed to relieve the Texas Guardsmen from their arduous duties. I detailed that up-close view in a Legislative Update – On America’s Front Lines. I invite you to read it. It’s timely, given the current border crisis.
This border struggle between Texas and the federal government is more significant than the invasion. It is a test of federalism. States must prevail and be able to protect themselves when the federal government fails to carry out its legal duties to safeguard Americans.
Senate Debates Gun Rights
At long last, the SC Senate is debating the ‘South Carolina Constitutional Carry/Second Amendment Preservation Act.’ This bill (H.3594) passed the House nearly a year ago on a vote of 90-30. It is like bills passed by the House every session for over a decade. However, those bills died in the Senate each time. With debate underway, it appears this bill finally has a chance for passage.
This bill strengthens your 2nd Amendment rights, declaring that lawful firearms owners have the Constitutional right to carry firearms anywhere openly or concealed without a state permit.
It restores a fundamental and inalienable constitutional right and gives SC citizens more options to protect themselves and their families, all while keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals. Law-abiding citizens should not need a permission slip from the government to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
With this Senate debate, South Carolina is one step closer to joining 25 other states with some form of so-called “Constitutional Carry” laws. This legislation ensures anyone who can lawfully own a firearm has the right to carry it openly or concealed, with limited restrictions.
Enhancing Child Safety Online
It is of utmost importance that we keep our kids safe in the digital age. I’m eager to share with you some critical legislative developments that have taken place, which I believe are crucial steps toward safeguarding our children online.
The first of these is a groundbreaking bill that sets stringent guidelines for website and online application operators, designed to ensure that minors are not exposed to inappropriate content on the internet. The Child Online Safety Act (3424) passed the Judiciary Committee this week and will soon be debated on the House floor.
Another important bill, the Social Media Regulation Act (4700), requires parental consent for minors to create social media accounts and restricts access during certain hours. This proactive approach gives parents more control and oversight over their children’s online interactions. Like the Child Online Safety Act, this bill also passed the Judiciary Committee and is headed for floor debate.
In a time when election integrity concerns many voters, advocates of Instant Runoff Voting (also known as Ranked Choice Voting) are pushing their plan in SC and elsewhere. They want to eliminate runoff elections to save money.
Here’s how it works: If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, they are declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. Depending on the round, ballots that ranked a failed candidate as their first or highest choice are then reevaluated and counted as first-preference ballots for the next highest-ranked candidate. A new tally determines whether any candidate has won a majority ballot. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.
Testimony: A House Judiciary panel heard testimony on the concept Thursday. Lead speakers in favor of IVR/RCV were the ACLU and the League of Women Voters, both notoriously left-leaning. Others testified in opposition. The legislative panel also had on the agenda my bill (H.4591) to ban Ranked Choice Voting. Neither bill was debated or voted on. The hearing was just a starting point for taking testimony.
Opponents: Five states have banned IVR/RCV in just the past two years. Even California Gov. Gavin Newsome vetoed the concept. There are many good reasons to oppose this alternative to our one-person, one-vote system. It’s confusing, and you are forced to vote for candidates you may find unacceptable. To get a majority vote winner, ballots are tossed, election results are delayed, and voter confidence is eroded. (Learn more)
The House Ways & Means Committee advanced legislation (H.4710) that indexes our state’s unemployment benefits to encourage a robust and active workforce, protect the state from insolvency, and promote reemployment. Because there are so many available jobs, depending on circumstances, unemployment benefits could be reduced to 12 weeks from the current 20 weeks. This bill would be a win for our state’s people, businesses, and economy!
Helping 1st Responder Survivors
On Thursday, I proudly voted in favor of H.3523, which establishes a ‘Fallen First Responder Survivor Advocate’ in SC to assist families of deceased first responders in accessing benefits and support. This bill reflects a solid commitment to honoring and supporting those who have served our country, ensuring their families are cared for and guided through challenging times following the loss of a loved one in the line of duty.
State of the State
On Wednesday, I attended the Governor’s State of the State address, where he highlighted our state’s progress and future direction. His message was clear: “South Carolina is firing on all cylinders,” and “we will continue to act boldly and think big.”
Cutting Taxes: Gov. McMaster called on the legislature to speed up cuts in the state’s personal income tax by applying expected surplus revenue to reduce income taxes more quickly, which I have advocated.
Until a few years ago, SC had the highest personal income tax rate in the southeast and the 12th highest in the nation at 7%. The legislature passed the largest income tax cut in state history two years ago to reduce that top rate to 6% over several years. I agree with Gov. McMaster that we must speed up that tax cut to ensure people keep more of the money they earned.
Big Issues: McMaster also called for another round of raising teacher salaries, continuing to increase the number of mental health counselors in schools, and more funding to ensure there is an armed security officer in every public school. He also called on the legislature to save more money by bolstering the state’s rainy-day fund.
SRS Support: The Governor continued his support of the Savannah River National Laboratory, asking the General Assembly to provide $20 million to fund the state’s part of the Battelle Savannah River Alliance. This is a collaborative nuclear sciences research partnership between the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, South Carolina State University, and the Savannah River National Laboratory,” according to prepared remarks shared ahead of the address.
All eyes are on SC. The first-in-the-south Republican presidential primary election is on February 24. This week, former SC Gov. Nikki Haley came in second in New Hampshire’s voting, setting up a head-to-head contest with Donald Trump in SC.
I applaud Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to leave the presidential contest. That demonstrates he puts ‘America First’ above himself. That’s the future leadership we need. I fully expect DeSantis to be the leading Republican contender in 2028 following President Trump’s hugely successful second term that will shut down our open borders, regain energy independence, energize the economy, and restore America’s role as the world leader via peace through strength. All aboard! The Trump Train is headed back to the White House.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY, HUNTER! This past weekend, we celebrated a milestone. Hunter adopted Donna and me weeks after he was born on January 20. We brought him home in April when he was only 17 lbs.; he now weighs about 80 lbs. Our ‘Big Bear’ Bernedoodle is smart, playful, goofy, and full of love.
Want to Know More?
Do you want to learn more about my positions, bill sponsorships, voting record, and past writings? Here are some handy links:
- About Me: https://taylorschouse.com/about-2/
- My Positions: https://taylorschouse.com/issues/
- Sponsored Bill & Voting Record: http://tiny.cc/b1pouz
- Recent Newsletters: https://taylorschouse.com/category/newsletter/
I’m Available & AT YOUR SERVICE
It is my honor to be of service. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance navigating state government or have any thoughts or concerns about the legislature.
In Your Service,
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