A former U.S. Army Green Beret serving in the Arizona Legislature is itching for a fight with the federal government over national regulations he says infringes on the rights and liberties of states and citizens.
Rep. Frank Antenori, a freshman Republican from Tucson, said he is hoping one of his bills provokes lawsuits with the federal government that will challenge its use of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
That bill was approved Feb. 10 by the House Commerce Committee. It would allow light bulb manufacturers to make and sell incandescent light bulbs in Arizona, provided they don’t sell them in other states.
Antenori said that would allow Arizonans to continue using the bulbs past 2014, when the federal
government has said all light bulbs sold in this country need to meet new efficiency standards.
If his bill, H2337, is signed into law, Antenori said he expects the federal government would determine that federal regulation pre-empts the state law because the feds are entitled to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause. But because the bulbs wouldn’t be sold in any other states, Antenori said Arizona could challenge that ruling in federal court.
“That will trigger a lawsuit, which is really the intent of this bill,” he told the committee. “This is a mechanism to let us go to court.”
The light bulb bill is modeled after a law Montana enacted last year that exempts firearms and ammunition made, sold and used in that state from federal regulations. After the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ruled federal law supersedes the Montana law, a pair of gun-advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the federal agency’s determination.
Arizona lawmakers have also given preliminary approval to a firearms bill similar to the Montana law. On Feb. 9, the House Judiciary Committee approved H2307. That bill was scheduled to be debated by the entire House on Feb. 11.
The light bulb bill was approved by the Commerce Committee by a 5-1 vote. Rep. Chad Campbell, a Phoenix Democrat, said he was tired of the constant attempts by Republican lawmakers to limit federal regulation in the state.
“If there’s enough people down here who feel that way, let’s put it all in a bill and secede from the Union,” he said.