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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: September 10, 2015 09:43 AM
From: Senator Mike Folmer
To: All Senate members
Subject: Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions
I have long been concerned by overreach by the federal government, including:
  • Executive Orders and regulations that have the force and impact of law
  • National security laws that infringe upon privacy and personal liberties
  • Selective enforcement of various laws by different federal agencies
  • Appointments while Congress is not in Session
  • “Czars” with extensive powers who are not confirmed by Congress
Unfortunately, federal overreach is not a new issue. In the early days of our federal republic, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” drafted Resolutions that were passed by the Kentucky (1798) and Virginia (1799) General Assemblies.

While Jefferson’s and Madison’s Resolutions call for “nullification” of federal laws (the idea states can and must refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal laws) failed to evolve beyond the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (and Madison later refined his view of nullification), the resolutions did advance important principles relating to federalism, decentralization, civil liberties, checks and balances, and the relationship between the federal and state governments.

I believe the time has come to revisit this important history to help clarify the issues facing our constitutional republic today. A copy of my proposed resolution is attached.

Please join me in introducing this important measure.

View Attachment

Introduced as SR293